EXPO West 2024

Attendance and Exhibitors:

The Natural Products Expo West attracted over 65,000 attendees and featured 3,000 exhibitors across various sectors. This showcased the diversity of the natural products market and provided insights into the latest trends. Prominent retailer involvement highlighted the expo’s role as a key platform for product discovery. Through interaction with exhibitors, retailers gained valuable insights into consumer preferences and market trends. Expo West served as a hub for innovation, spotlighting advancements in plant-based foods, sustainable packaging, and more. Attendees had the opportunity to explore cutting-edge products and attend sessions on emerging trends and growth opportunities.

Trends at Expo:

Regenerative Agriculture Takes Center Stage: As growth in the organic food industry slows, attention shifts to regenerative agriculture practices. These methods, such as crop rotation and soil enrichment, not only benefit soil and watershed health but also claim to increase the nutritional density of crops. Major players are showcasing their commitment to regenerative practices, incorporating these principles into their products and marketing strategies. This trend reflects a growing consumer demand for foods that not only nourish individuals but also support sustainable farming practices.

Across total cross-channel stores, certified regenerative organic grew $11M (+33%) versus the previous year. On average, over the past three years, this product set grew an average of 19%.In the realm of certified regenerative organic product sales, the grocery department stands as the leader, marking a notable growth of $5 million, which translates to a 17% increase compared to the previous year. Noteworthy is the exceptional performance of smaller segments like refrigerated and frozen, which surpassed their departmental peers with remarkable sales surges of 114% ($3.7 million) and 186% ($1.1 million) respectively, in comparison to last year’s figures. Top certified regenerative organic categories that contributed the largest amount of incremental dollars, versus last year, include shelf stable sweeteners (+$4.4M), refrigerated yogurt and plant based yogurt (+$2.4M), milk (+$1.4M), wine (+$1.1M) and frozen ice cream and novelties (+$1.0M).

Mushroom Frenzy Continues: As the snack revolution gains momentum, brands are meeting consumer demand for healthier alternatives with a focus on convenience and better-for-you options. The mushroom craze continues to drive innovation, with mushrooms being celebrated for their purported benefits on focus and stress reduction. This trend signifies a growing interest in functional foods and alternative ingredients, as consumers increasingly seek natural ways to support overall well-being. From mushroom-infused snacks, the market is witnessing a surge in products designed to provide nutritious options for on-the-go consumption, reflecting evolving consumer preferences for sustained energy, satiety, and taste without compromising convenience.

Total ingredient – super mushroom* (ex. Chaga, Lions Mane) products represent a $912M market, which increased +$60M (+7.1%) over the previous year. The grocery and refrigerated departments, representing more than half of total super mushroom product sales (58%), contribute more than their fair share (93%) towards total growth. Categories within these departments, driving sales/growth, align with areas of innovation seen at EXPO. Sorting by incremental YoY dollar change (highest to lowest) segments, shelf stable cookies and snack bars (+35.4%), Kombucha and other functional beverages (+59.8%), refrigerated entrees snack and sides (+21.6%), wellness bars and gels (+87.1%), and energy and sports (+78.0%). All of which are aimed to capture the attention of on-the-go consumers who don’t want to forgo convenience during their snacking occasions.

Healthy Beverage Explosion: The success of low-sugar, and functional beverage innovation has sparked competition in the fizzy beverage market. With a focus on prebiotic fiber and adaptogens, brands are diversifying offerings in carbonated water and soda alternatives. This trend reflects a growing consumer interest in beverages that not only quench thirst but also provide functional benefits such as gut health support and stress relief, driving innovation in the beverage industry towards healthier, more functional options.

Energy and sports drink and soda manufacturers are leaning in on low(er) sugar offerings and finding success. Within energy and sports drink, total sales posted moderate (+9.0%) sales growth. These increases were driven solely by the rise in average retail prices, as total units remained flat (-.07%). However, while not enough to offset total category performance, low sugar (0.5g to <5g) Energy & Sport Drink offerings saw expansive dollar (+48.5%) and unit (+27.3%) growth that far outpaced the total segment. A similar trend was seen within the soda market. Total soda performance posted moderate dollar increases (+8.1%), with units (-2.4%) slightly down. Yet, products offering lower sugar alternatives excelled.
Aligned to trends at Expo, more brands continue to innovate and focus on inclusion of prebiotics, as this is a growth space. Across soda, Kombucha and other functional beverages, and energy and sports drinks, all demonstrated success with prebiotic offerings. The innovation and emerging/new products displayed at Expo will surely invigorate space even more.

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Looking for more information? Please contact the SPINS Account Manager for PRESENCE, Mike Murphy at mmurphy@spins.com.