All About 2023 Expo West

Mar 29, 2023Beverages, Categories, Nutrition, Savory, Snacks, Sweet Goods & Dairy

In the course of the 4 days at Expo West, I walked a total of 25 miles, that is 6.2 miles a day, and boy was it worth every step!  

Natural Products Expo West is the largest world’s largest natural, organic, and healthy products trade show. With educational conference programming and over 3,600 companies on display, there is no shortage of industry know-how to explore and experience!

Givaudan at Expo:

If you visited our booth, thank you! This year we highlighted how we create elevated food experiences that do good and feel good for the body, mind, and planet. Attendees had the chance to interact with our team of experts as they went on a progressive food journey with a wide array of product concepts that showcased Givaudan’s expertise across the plant-based and health & nutrition categories. For more details about our demos, visit our Expo West landing page.

If you missed us or weren’t able to attend, let’s explore what you missed!

Holy Hot Products:

The exhibition part of the Expo always gives the Hot Products Showcase first dibs on opening to the attendees. On Wednesday, this hall was PACKED with a capital P! With many fun new/hot products to explore throughout the exhibitor halls, here are just a few of our favorites:

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Flavor Spotlight:

Around the world culinary flavors: Asian, Indian, Mexican, Middle East, and many more. There was no shortage of globally-influenced foods launched at the Expo. 

Familiar favorites with a twist, like Sparkly Strawberry, Yuzu Pineapple, and Hawaiian Nectar. Sometimes the twists are tying in nostalgic foods or brands into their new launches like Pink Lemonade with Barbie or Tangy Sunny D.

Sweet & SOUR… many brands are leaning heavily into sour or tart flavors to merge their product lines with consumer interest. When looking into our social senses sources we have seen an increase in social mentions year over year with gummy/confectionery-type products.  

“Horchata” aqua fresca “shook” me with its diversity of flavor being a refreshing yet, comforting creamy beverage! I was nervous about trying, but I loved it!

Fun formats:

We always want to share our key findings from the show, but to condense the overload of products, here are a few of the formats that caught our eye:

  • Whip cream
  • Pop rocks
  • Cookie Dough
  • Chocolate Supplements
  • Frozen sushi rolls
  • Soup Dumplings
  • Frozen specialty coffee
  • “Air fryer” friendly
  • Marshmallow cream (Plant-based)
  • Bars with Benefits (not just nutrition focus)
  • Milk Tea
  • Frozen Snack bites and indulgent treats (Mochi, donut holes, plant-based cream puffs, ice cream sandwiches, gelato)
  • Bakery mixes

Themes in Health and Plant-Based

Health Highlights:

ENERGY EVERYWHERE. Brands are actively trying to answer the energy needs of the consumer, not only through supplements but also food and beverages. We saw brands supporting this need with naturally occurring ingredients or building the nutrition to support energy bursts in new ways. 

Supporting a beautiful mind…. products to support calming, mood-boosting, and mental wellness were found throughout the show. It is no surprise with the state of constant distress consumers are feeling over these last few years. Often throughout the show the main talking points supporting the claims were around adaptogens and mushrooms, that is not to say those were the only ingredients with that benefit but we felt it was a common theme throughout. 

“Bettering” Nutrition. There was no shortage of products promoting adding nutrients like Fiber, Protein, Caffeine, Pre, Pro & Postbiotics or supporting the reduction of undesirable ingredients like sugar or sodium. Below you will find more examples of what we saw around this topic, as I believe it will be an important health direction consumers recognize and will look for when it comes to their health needs.

  • Sodas but low sugar or gut-friendly. The number of “new” or “hot” probiotics, prebiotics, or combo biotic sodas was baffling. Not that it is bad, the truth is the more fiber diversity in the market, the better. But I do think there are cool new ways to deliver biotics and gut health, especially in beverages — something is happening.
  • Better for you snacking. Sourcing from a single ingredient and messaging that includes being made with high quality, natural plant- sources, and ingredients consumers recognize, spearhead this space.
  • Sugar is a no-go. Talk about low-sugar to no-sugar claims, a brand, in particular, made a big splash or should I say white out to get the point across about zero sugar. The mysterious white booth below created a fun and impactful message. Smartypants showcased their new innovation without much signage, just stating, “ZERO”.

Smartypants highlight

  • Nutrition support for babies and children was not being overlooked. New brands with new ways to approach baby food are here and very interesting to see, taking the approach of bettering nutrition to support specific health needs. There were kid’s Ready-To-Mix protein powders and pouch smoothies targeting children and their promoting improving nutritional benefits mainly using fruits and vegetables as the source of nutrition.  

Plant-based Innovations:

When thinking about Plant-Based innovation we could say so much of this show leans into the plant-based theme but there were a few callouts that we really enjoyed coming across at the show specifically relating to plant-based creation. First, we discovered fun or new formats in the space, there were Wunder egg’s hard-boiled eggs and Vegan Caviar, Chiaviar™ at Avafina Organics.

Not only could you taste our amazing vegetable-focused bolognese sauce with a mushroom base but I sure felt there was a Mushroom Mania throughout the halls, talking about product launches with mushrooms at the forefront of their product.

Popular booths like Coconut Cult featured Probiotic Coconut yogurt and others with indulgent ice creams, cream cheeses, and butter all seemed to be thriving at the show. Plant-based dairy is becoming more than just milk. You will see this in our upcoming blog post. 

A final comment we would like to mention in this space is the idea of being shelf-stable and delivering sodium-free really leveling up the dairy alternative, interesting products like Elmhurst’s plant-based sour cream provide a mess-free experience, working towards making Sour Cream better for you, easier and more convenient than ever before.

Final Takeaways:

It is clear that there is a lot to recap and so much to review with launches and products shown at Expo West but if I were to summarize my takeaways from the show are as follows: the continuation of flavor exploration is alive and well, improving the nutritional profile of your products make a difference, and bringing the fun and something new as a format!

The brands that really stood out had new innovations and brought something different to their particular space, don’t just settle with what you know, how can you create something outstanding, valuable, and differentiated? Givaudan’s passion is to collaborate with customers and partners to develop game-changing innovations in food and beverage! Contact us today!

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4 Comments

  1. Jacob Aicholtz

    Great insights thank you!

    Reply
  2. Michael Betz

    Love this!!!!

    Reply
  3. Cindy Huber

    Thanks Alex! Great information. Can you elaborate on “Bakery Mixes” a bit more to me? Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Jeff

    What were the top 3 or 4 most popular products based on visitor responses? Was it because they tasted great or some other USP – unique selling proposition

    Reply

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