If you haven’t heard of Natural Products Expo West (referred to affectionately in the biz as just “Expo West,” by the way), let us enlighten you.
Essentially, it’s a massive annual coming together of nearly every brand in the country making natural and organic packaged foods (and personal care products). It’s part trade show, part conference, and part networking event, where brands release new products for the first time, grocery chains scout the products they want to stock on their shelves, and editors scout out trends.
About that last point…we spent a few days at the show wandering the aisles, taking notes, and, of course, tasting lots of no-sugar-added and ketogenic foods (obviously). What did we find? These are the five natural food trends you can expect to see more over the coming year.
5 Food Trends from Expo West
1. Plant-Based Everything
From pea protein in powders and bars to non-dairy milks (oh hello, Elmhurst Milked’s creamy new peanut chocolate milk!), enthusiasm for plant-based alternatives is not slowing down. Plant-based yogurts like Coyo and Coconut Cult were everywhere, as were no-meat meats like Beyond Meat and the Jackfruit Company. The Honest Stand’s vegan nacho cheese dip even won an award.
2. Next-Level Farm Focus
This one’s really good news for your health and the future resiliency of this little planet we call home. We spotted lots of brands doing more to not only source sustainable ingredients but actually positively change agriculture via their products. Dr. Bronner’s and Patagonia Provisions, debuted the first products rocking the Regenerative Organic Certification, for example, and General Mills announced it will help transition 34,000 acres of wheat farmland to organic production to make its Annie’s products. (What’s better than mac ‘n cheese with a conscience?!) Many brands were also touting “glyphosate-free” labels for the first time to let customers know their products had been tested for residues of the controversial pesticide.
3. The Coffee Craze
Cold brew! Bulletproof! Bottled and canned coffees are diversifying in crazy cool ways, like High Brew’s sparkling cold brew in a can and Forto’s organic coffee shots. Lots of companies are also innovating in terms of what you put in your coffee. Nutiva unveiled the first MCT powder to quickly Bulletproof-ize any cup of joe, and there were variations on healthy creamers and coconut oil add-ins everywhere.
4. Going Nuts
Okay, we might be pointing this one out just so we can tell you about Justin’s new cashew butter cups (yum!). But there were also sooo many nut butters represented and they’re finding interesting ways to differentiate themselves, by using only blanched almonds for a smoother texture, for example. We spotted NuttZo (all kinds of nuts and seeds), Barney Butter (almonds only), and MaraNatha (raw maple and coconut almond), among others.
5. All Kinds of Crunch
Healthy food makers are always turning all kinds of things into chips, and this year that seemed even more pronounced. We spotted JicaChips, made from jicama and Simply7’s new quinoa curls. Plus, wait for it…avocado chips made by Eat Avo Love. It was only a matter of time, right?
(All Photo: Instagram/@natprodexpo)