With more than 3500 exhibitors and 80,000 bodies, the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California is no day at the beach.
But it’s close—about 10 miles as the seagull flies. And palm trees, yoga breaks, and eternal sunshine are all part of this amazing expo where trends are hatched.
IPA’s hungry reporter shares the latest on natural products in 2018:
Plants: nuts, grains and vegetables replaced meat and dairy in burgers, yogurts and ice creams.
Gluten-free: continued its march but less obviously so than other years
Energy bars: competitive athletes and even back-country hikers with heavy packs may be looking for concentrated energy in a small sweet package but most of us in this obesogenic world should be looking for nutrient-dense, calorie-lite foods. The category is adapting. Some have probiotics added for extra appeal.
Women: some companies owned by those of the double-X persuasion touted their tribe. #TimesUp, #MeToo #WomenStrong
Artisanal coffee: Environmentally-friendly and socially sourced grinds found traction.
Hemp anything: The oil derived from the plant, cannabidiol, is causing a buzz in products from foods to skin care.
Waste not: Want this, need this as plastics clog the oceans and landfills. Entrepreneurs showed off products that put old coffee grounds and other castoffs to use.
Savory chips and snacks: No longer spawned from just the lowly spud, a toolbox of new ingredients included chickpeas, beets and broccoli.
Charcoal: Brushing with an activated version promises to remove stains and make your teeth white, not sooty. Don’t try this at home with grilling briquettes.
Probiotics with new delivery modes: Skin treatments, candy, wellness shots, kombucha with a soda splash to ease off that cola habit and yogurts made from anything but cow’s milk.
This show reminds fittingly of Hollywood–everyone vying to be discovered. Some have true appeal, may strike it rich and enter the global lexicon; many with more pluck than value may not return next year.
It’s all good though. And often quite tasty.