5 Trends from Expo East
Ty Tonander, VP of Brand Design and Ben Alpert, Senior Designer, attended the 35th annual Natural Products Expo East, the industry’s largest event on the east coast. They, along with 29,000 attendees, walked the expo and looked for the latest trends among 1,550 brands. The U.S. natural products industry hit $29 billion in annual sales last year and industry sales have more than doubled since 2007. If you’re looking for the latest innovation in organic food and beverage, personal care and supplements, Expos East and West are the place to be. Here are 5 trends we saw at the show:
Omelet bars, hard boiled eggs on the go, egg white tortillas, egg white puffs, egg white crackers, and fertilized egg protein supplements show the diversity of this singular food item. Convenience continues to push brands to new formats and to that point, the egg has been re-imagined to satisfy on-the-go eaters who want whole foods with protein. Yolked is interesting in its benefit for muscle growth and reducing muscle loss – the first post-recovery food marketed overtly in the natural and organic space.
Any food traditionally made of meat now has a plant-based alternative: chicken nuggets, pot pies, burritos, seafood, burgers, pizza, and sandwiches. With surging interest in this category, the technology is getting better at matching taste and texture to “the real thing.” Our tasters were particularly impressed by the Alpha chicken nugget texture—crispy outside with realistic chicken texture inside. Sure to fool any kid. Meat alternatives is a trend we cover in depth with this year’s food trends book. Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter to make sure you catch the news when it releases this fall.
Puffed lotus seeds and water lily seeds, new seed butters like watermelon and tigernut butter, seed bars, almond flour and hemp hearts speak to the continued interest in gluten-free foods and healthy fats (thank you Keto). The popularity of seeds and nuts products could also be addressing nut allergies or elective dietary restrictions. Many of the items seen at the show are great for kids who can’t bring peanut butter to school.
Cheese hits the sweet spot for many consumers because of its protein content, but also because it flexes in different formats and pairs well with a wide variety of flavors. Moon Cheese, Parm Crisps and Just the Cheese are baked cheese crisps, which are a great alternative to crackers. Speka is a brand that re-formats cottage cheese into dessert bars (permissible indulgence!) and RifRaf is a line of ricotta cups with flavors like sundried tomatoes, strawberry balsamic and wildflower honey.
Everyone is talking about CBD, and there is a CBD product for seemingly everyone. Tinctures, lotions, balms, salves, soft gels, bars, cookies, shots, water, and pet products to name a few. The explosion of product available in such a short amount of time has been incredible and will surely evolve with time.
A few other stand outs from the show? Wild Tonic hard kombucha, Blender Bomb smoothie boosters, Pitaya smoothie packs and Shot X, a post-drinking recovery product.