Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending Natural Products Expo West, which is THE trade show for everything natural, organic and healthy. This year, there were over 67,000 attendees and 2,600 exhibitors. To put that into perspective, SXSW Music/Film/Interactive has about 72,000 attendees.
Our client Blue Diamond Growers had a presence at Expo West to show off their new Honey Cinnamon Nut Thins, Honey Mustard Nut Thins, Hint of Honey Almond Breeze Almondmilk and Hint of Honey Vanilla Almond Breeze Almondmilk. (They were all delicious, by the way.) In addition to Blue Diamond, there were many other great brands there from Cabot to Seventh Generation to Burt’s Bees.
One of the best parts about Expo West is all of the free food and samples. It’s like grocery shopping at Whole Foods… for free! This year, there was lots of kale, chia seed, non-dairy and gluten-free products. There were also some interesting items – like protein bars made out of crickets. (Did not sample those.)
Here are some key trends from the show this year, straight from Natural Products Expo West themselves:
Health & Wellness Consumers: The healthy eating movement is spreading across all demographic groups. Five distinct consumer segments, differentiated by lifestyles, behaviors, attitudes and beliefs about health and wellness have been created for the industry.
Convenience & Accessibility: The importance of making nutritious, clean food more accessible and convenient across multi-dimensional demographics and how will it affect the health and wellness of all Americans.
Labeling Transparency: Consumers are asking for transparency with regard to food/product labels, claims and certifications, including non-GMO and organic.
Food Tribes: The growing gluten-free, vegan, paleo and other special diet communities are fueling the healthy eating movement and changing the way people view food and community.
The Future of Personalized Health: With nutrigenomic advances and the rise of food intolerances and autoimmune diseases, we are learning that one person’s “medicine” is another’s “poison.”
Triple Pundit wrote a great article on Expo West, which pointed out that, “Healthy food has leaped from a marketing niche to a revenue growth engine for the food service industry.” Truer words have never been spoken – the food industry is undergoing a massive shift and the size of Expo West (which grew by 5% this year) is a prime example of that.
Now pass me the kale chips!
(Photo Credit: @gwynethmademedoit)