Expo West Trends and Direction

Last month, the Natural Products Expo West brought the industry together in Anaheim for an exciting week of education, conversations, product showcases, and – most importantly – sampling. With more than 65,000 registered attendees and 3,000 exhibitors across five days and multiple halls, Expo West reminded everyone why it is the event of the year for the natural product industry. 

The exhibitor booths aligned nicely with buzzing trends seen throughout keynote speeches and industry news, including a rising interest in functional ingredients, increase demand of sustainability/upcycling products, and traditional comfort foods leaning heavier into natural, to name a few. Let’s look at some other trends seen throughout the show…

Beverages with Benefits

Shoppers continue to rally behind beverages that are positioned to boost and support key health aspects. Consumers are looking for more than just hydration from their drinks. There is a growing trend towards functional beverages that offer additional health benefits such as improved digestion, stress relief, and immune support. Beverages geared towards supporting health focuses like cold and flu (+17.5%), energy support (+13.2%) and digestive health (+11.9%) all had strong performance for the year. This was particularly the case within the soda and water categories.
SPINS:  Natural Channel & Conventional Multi-Outlet (powered by IRI);52 Weeks Ending 01.29.23; UPC-level data; Health Focus

Buyers remain health-conscious and are looking for beverages that are low in sugar, or free from added sugars. Natural low calorie sweetened product sales grew double-digits (+20%) versus the previous year. Items that touted they were only naturally sweetened, also posted strong growth (+11%). Natural sweeteners, such as coconut sugars, stood out over others as shoppers spent far more (+47%) this year on products that included this as their sweetening agent.
SPINS:  Natural Channel & Conventional Multi-Outlet (powered by IRI);52 Weeks Ending 01.29.23; UPC-level data

Stay Frosty

Within the frozen department, no longer do freezer foods mean boring, sodium-filled processed meals. These products are just as good—and in some cases maybe even better—than fresh. From plant-based meals made with high-protein hemp, to satiating snacks inspired by global cuisine, the frozen aisle can be bursting with energy and flavor. Consumers are looking for convenient options that offer bold and unique flavors from around the world, and frozen food manufacturers are responding by creating products that feature international flavor profiles.

Emerging International brand profiles are disrupting meal, sauces, and appetizer categories as shoppers continue to clamor for diverse and/or familiar at-home meal solutions. Frozen meals that incorporate flavors from Korea (+48.2%), India (+25.6%), and South America have become increasingly popular in the past year. These meals also often feature natural and organic ingredients and are free from artificial preservatives and additives.
SPINS:  Natural Channel & Conventional Multi-Outlet (powered by IRI);52 Weeks Ending 01.29.23; UPC-Level data; International

Personal Care with Flair

Within the personal care space, we continue to see over-arching trends crossover from other departments. Themes such as sustainability, transparency and multifunctionality, to name a few, are rising to the top for consumers.

Sustainability is a personal care product priority. Brands that leverage sustainable and reusable/recycled packaging, are seeing strong growth. Within the body care department, products with primary packaging such as droppers (+54.1%), tins (+30.9%) and cardboard box (+26.3%) all performed strong relative to the prior year, while those leverage plastic bottles (-5.5%) didn’t fare as well.

‘Clean beauty’ is another trend we are seeing, where consumers are becoming more aware of the ingredients used in their personal body care products and are looking for cleaner and more natural options. This has led to the rise of clean beauty products that are free from harmful chemicals, toxins, and synthetic ingredients. For example, natural deodorant grew substantially in both dollars (+31%) and units (+16%) versus the previous year.

In terms of multifunctional products, shoppers are looking for products that offer multiple benefits, such as moisturizing, anti-aging, and sun protection. Personal care companies that are creating products that offer these benefits, in a single product, are winning in this space.

For more Expo and industry trends, check out Keynote: The State of Natural & Organic

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