It’s no surprise this year’s Natural Products Expo West, the largest natural products convention, was busier than ever considering that sales of natural/organic products reached $81.3 billion in 2012, up 13.5% from the previous year (source). By many estimations that growth is just the beginning, as consumers increase their focus on what goes into the foods they eat and other products they use around the home.
With over 2,100 exhibitors, Natural Products Expo offered a natural or organic solution for almost every home need. 360PR combed (and ate our way through!) the aisles, chatted with brands, including many of our own clients, and spotted the following trends:
- Chia – If you thought chia’s moment had passed, think again. From chips, like Late July’s new Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips (a 360PR client), to drinks to breads, chia popped up in almost every food category at the show. Maybe next year we’ll even see chia in the beauty aisle!
- Flavor – Tired of being perceived as bland and maybe a little boring, natural and organic food brands are bursting with flavor this year. Look for Asian-inspired sriacha popcorn and increased usage of seasonal ingredients, like pumpkin and butternut squash, across a broad spectrum of foods.
- Protein – As consumers look to sustain their daily energy in this 24/7 world we live in, many brands, such as Vans Foods, are offering protein-enriched recipes.
- Paleo Party – Catering to the popular diet trend that shows no sign of slowing in 2014, many brands were talking about how they adhere to Paleo guidelines which include a back to basics focus on ingredients like fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils. We’re even keeping an eye on a new packaging label – Certified Paleo – that will make it easier for consumers to spot products that meet the criteria.
- Convenience – Making it easier to serve or take all those healthy foods with you, packaging innovations were definitely party of the buzz at Expo. Check out the new Stonyfield and Happy Family yogurt pouches to go (from 360PR client Stonyfield).