Trends from the Natural Products Expo West Tradeshow
Trade shows are back. We were on location for the Natural Product Expo West tradeshow last week with about seventy thousand buyers, exhibitors, and industry professionals. The atmosphere was almost exuberant as attendees and exhibitors all celebrated being back together in person.
The natural products industry has continued to mature and this show highlights the next evolution. As manufacturers hunt for growth opportunities, they are tapping into niche consumer dietary needs and beautifully designed packaging to attract new consumers. The show’s early days were marked by handmade products and self-designed labels, but ongoing investment in this space has ushered in a new era of specialization, advantaged product development, and level of finish.
This is the hottest industry buzz word right now with many exhibitors touting “plant-based 2.0” and “next generation plant-based.” It has felt like “plant-based” has been a trend for 10+ years, but it was all over the show like it was the newest trend since “gluten free”. This new generation of plant-based includes making food that previously included animal products, such as diary, eggs, and meat from plants.
Signs we’ve jumped the plant-based shark: Plant Crisps are a nutritious crunchy snack that are made from plants. In the past we just called them potato chips.
Plant-Based Meat Substitutes
It’s a subcategory of plant-based trend that continues to explode. This trend has moved past burgers into spam, bacon, and chicken. This is an exceptionally hard category to excel in because the texture is difficult to emulate. This year’s exhibitors have advanced substantially by creating products that truly replicate the meat experience.
This trend was just getting started before the pandemic, but is maintaining its space. As a fantastic source of Umami, mushrooms provide a great base for many innovations.
Two Concepts I Loved
It feels like the Natural/Organic segment has arrived. The technically amazing, well packaged, tasty new products show that innovative teams can accomplish anything.