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Trendspotting at Natural Products West 2018

The Natural Products West (NPW) Expo is one of the top shows for tracking food and nutrition trends that drive innovation in the natural, organic and functional food categories. The food industry is eager to learn more about up-and-coming products and trends, as evidenced by the year over year growth in both exhibitors and attendees — this year’s show again made records, attracting 85,000 attendees and more than 3,600 vendors! Check out what was on trend at the world’s largest trade show, held in Anaheim, March 8–11, 2018.

Plant-Powered Products

Whether it is protein or nutrition, the plant-based theme was seen throughout the expo floor. As plant-based eating continues to gain popularity among consumers, there has been tremendous growth in plant-based product innovations, including pulse-based products, plant-based dairy alternatives, meat alternatives, nutrition bars and frozen desserts.

Stress-Relieving, Sleep-Promoting Innovations

As we mentioned in a recent post, stressed consumers are trying to holistically improve self-care and looking to food to provide both physical and emotional benefits. If the Natural Products West floor was any indication, brands are happy to answer the call as new products intended to induce calm and relaxation during the day and promote good sleep at night were on display.

 Back to the Farm

Forward-thinking brands eager to connect with today’s environmentally conscious consumers are showcasing their environmental missions, complete with measurable actions and objectives. Additionally, many companies are getting involved in the regenerative agriculture movement. This move places companies on the solution side (good for the earth, good for people, good for the farm), rather than contributing to a problem. Increased focus on agriculture and production is not limited to small start-ups — global companies including General Mills, Campbell’s and DannonWave all shared their ag story at the show.

Ethnic Flare Remains

Interest in ethnic-inspired flavors goes beyond restaurant and foodservice menus and is increasingly apparent on grocery store shelves. More and more, this trend is expanding into previously less-explored cuisines and ingredients, such as Scandinavian, West African, Hawaiian and Peruvian flavors.

Customized Nutrition

Consumers are beginning to understand there is not a “one size fits all” approach to nutrition, and needs vary based on age, activity, dietary concerns and other personal factors. A growing number of brands are eager to offer personalized nutrition solutions, as smoothie, protein bar and energy ball mixes allowing consumers to customize with their choice of ingredients were seen at the show.

From Trash to Treasure.

Food waste solutions continue to be top of mind, and companies are expanding their work to minimize food loss. At NPW, brands that are upcycling food/ingredients traditionally headed to landfills into new, delicious creations stole the spotlight.

Several brands launched new products at the show, many of which address on-trend ingredients (probiotics, collagen, grain-free), nutrition (no-sugar-added, Paleo), production (grass-fed) and other trends (single-serve packages).

To learn more about current industry trends, check out our recent post on food and beverage trends.