Expo West Round Up - Trends, Awards, and Non-GMO

Over 2,700 companies exhibited at this year’s Natural Products Expo West. CCOF-certified members were well represented. For instance, on the main floor you could start the morning off with some tea from Traditional Medicinals, wander over to the Lundberg booth for rice cakes, stop at Straus for some cheese to put on that rice cake, wash everything down with a new yerba mate drink from Guayaki, and finish up with one of the new flavors of Three Twins ice cream. Those were just the companies close to the CCOF booth! Happy Family, 18 Rabbits, Valley Fig Growers, Hilary’s Eat Well, Otis McAllister, Essential Living Foods, Popcornopolis, Shelton’s Poultry, and EO were also showcasing new products on the main floor. Bitchin’ Sauce and NAKED infusions were upstairs in the “Next Pavilion” with new offerings. The basement was potentially the busiest floor with Farmhouse Culture, Chameleon Cold Brew, Forager, Suja, Brad’s Raw Foods, Hodo Soy Beanery, Taylor Bros. Farms, Four Elements Organics and TCHO Chocolate all attracting crowds to their booths. Our newest clients – WildBrine, Hnina, Vixen Kitchen – were also making a splash with their products.

Some of the new trends we spotted as we walked the floor included next-generation paleo products, with offerings ranging from gelato to bread. Savory food bars were big at Expo West with wasabi, Sriracha, BBQ, and Thai chili flavored bars offered by some of the biggest names in snack foods. From what we could tell, protein is getting added to everything – water, drinks, bars, snacks, supplements – and from new sources, including pea protein and cricket protein. Vegan products were also prominent with gelato, cheese, mayo, and chili all on offer. Interesting new water flavors we spotted included maple water, birch water, cactus water, watermelon water, and of course, many variations on coconut water.

Coconut wasn’t just in the water this year, it was in chips, baked into crisps, in chocolate, and even in beauty products. Many companies also highlighted their philanthropic mission, and communicated to consumers the positive social impact of buying their product.

NEXTY Awards

Each year experts at New Hope Natural Media nominate companies at Expo West that they think will shape the future of the natural product scene. This year 29 companies were nominated across three categories: Food & Beverage, Supplements, and Natural Living. In 2014, CCOF-certified member, Ohana Organics, won a Popular Vote NEXTY award for their tattoo skin care products, and this year #MPWR won an Editor’s Choice NEXTY award for their skin care for teens.

Non-GMO & More

In addition to connecting with our clients, CCOF was also promoting our new “Organic is Non-GMO & More” seal. It was great timing because we saw non-GMO signs posted in booth after booth on the Expo Floor. We spoke with members who were excited to use the new seal on their products. They now have the opportunity to better communicate to consumers that organic is non-GMO. We also talked with a lot of people from various sectors of the industry with questions about the non-GMO status of organic and what the “& more” stands for. Overall, it was great to check in with our members, see the newest emerging food trends, and spread the “Organic is Non-GMO & More” message.