Soulsighted: Top Trends from Natural Products Expo West 2019
Holistic wellness and the power of plants were the name of the game at the annual Natural Products Expo West 2019 held in Anaheim, California. The phrases non-GMO, organic, naturally sweetened and plant-based echoed through the halls as exhibitors demonstrated their response to consumers’ increasing demand for plant-based substitutions and healthier lifestyles.
Plant-based offerings leveraged the power of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains as whole-food alternatives to meat and artificial, processed and sugary foods. Meanwhile, wellness extended beyond clean foods as brands focused on creating holistic wellness experiences centered on mental, environmental and community-based benefits.
For anyone unable to make this year’s show, the Soulsight team scoped out the scene and rounded up our top trends among the 3,500+ exhibiting companies:
TREND #1: Oat Milk Obsession
Based on this year’s show, expect to see oat milk line grocery store shelves in the coming year. After Oatly took the plant-based dairy alternative category by storm, brands are hopping on the bandwagon. Comparable to almond, coconut and soy milks, oat milk is now seen as a standalone beverage, coffee creamer, ice cream and chocolate bar ingredient.
Quaker (Oat Beverage), La Colombe (Oat Milk + Coffee), Rise (Oat Milk + Coffee), So Delicious Dairy Free (Oat Milk Ice Cream), ChocOat (Chocolate Bar), Mooala (Oat Milk)
TREND #3: Mind & Body Wellness
Foods and beverages that offer functional benefits in areas such as energy, relaxation and sleep in addition to nutritional benefits for the body deliver a one-two punch when it comes to holistic mind-body wellness. Beyond coffee and energy drinks delivering a boost of caffeine, products with adaptogens add functional benefits to increase focus and calm, helping consumers navigate the chaos of modern life in a healthy way.
Vital Proteins (Collagen Shots), Four Sigmatic (Focus Shots & Coffee), WellWell (Functional Beverages),
TREND #5: Smart Indulgence
For wellness-minded consumers, it’s all about balance over sacrifice. Brands that are delivering on consumers’ desire for better choices that allow them to still indulge in the tastes they love are winning the game. Non-alcoholic beers are making moves to replicate a craft beer drinking experience while grain-free chips, pastas and bake mixes are offering nutrient-rich substitutions of traditional favorites.
Athletic Brewing Co. (Non-Alc Beer), LesserEvil (Egg White Curls), Simple Mills (Almond Flour Brownie Mix), Biena (Chickpea Snack)
TREND #2: Plant-Based Protein Ups Its Game
Plant-based proteins are not new news, but perhaps more surprising is the category’s move to take on more of the delicious attributes of its animal-protein benchmark. From juicy burgers to vegan jerky to butter, brands are transforming plant-based proteins to replicate the taste, texture and even appearance of beloved animal products while maintaining their “better-than” appeal.
Teton Waters Ranch (Mushroom Blended Burger), Impossible Burger (Plant-Based Burger), Upton’s Naturals Jerky, Melt Organics (Plant-Based Butter)
TREND #4: CBD Expands
CBD’s therapeutic benefits are growing in prominence as a go-to in the wellness world. CBD —not to be confused for its psychoactive cousin THC — is also known as Cannabidiol, a natural extract from the cannabis plant that’s attributed with effects of relaxation and calm. Expect to see CBD popping up beyond oils and topicals into snacks, beverages and gummies.
Cadence (CBD-infused Cold Brew), Weller (CBD-infused Snacks), Winged (CBD Gummies)
TREND #6: Beyond Me
As consumers become more conscious of their environmental impact, they’re turning to brands that help mitigate those concerns as they relate to our modern food system. From sustainable sourcing to products with a meaningful cause at their core, brands are demonstrating the longstanding significance of social responsibility. The result taps into consumers’ desire to make better choices not just on an individual level but on a community and macro-level.
Patagonia Provisions (Wit Beer), Clif Bar (Second Responder Fund), Wild Friends (Fuel Her Future)