by Heather

Natural Products Expo West: Five Major Themes

InsightsNow, and our partner CuliNex, got a taste of the action at the recent Natural Products Expo West (NPEW) show and we’re here to dish on the latest trends in natural product innovation! We met with more than 200 companies and we discovered, once again, some very exciting themes. From allergy-free snacks to new plant-based products to sustainability practices, we’ve got the scoop on all the hot topics. We are sharing all the details in our upcoming “Naturally Trending Food & Beverage Report.”

Don’t want to miss out? Sign up now to be the first to get a taste: (Bonus! You get a copy of the 2022 report when you sign up for 2023).

We identified five major themes at NPEW that we can’t wait to share with you!

Theme One:Taste is King

Natural Products Expo West (NPEW) showed that consumers don’t have to sacrifice taste for sustainability. Many natural products companies are innovating in a flavorful direction, realizing that taste is the key to repeat purchases. Sensory aspects of taste and flavor are what keep products coming back to the shopping cart—and brands can use effective market research approaches to discover more about taste. The new sustainable products we discovered are delicious, proving that taste and sustainability can go hand-in-hand.

 Theme Two: Diversification of Plant-Based Applications

The popularity of plant-based products continues to grow in the natural products industry, with options now available in every grocery store category. However, emerging plant-based foods face challenges in terms of claims, ingredients, positioning, pricing and taste. Companies must conduct market research to identify potential red flags and implicit biases to ensure their new products will be successful. The competition in the plant-based space is increasingly fierce, and brands need to work hard to stay ahead.

Theme Three: New and Growing Marketing Claims

At NPEW, three major marketing claims themes emerged: allergy-free, hero ingredients, and beverage claims. There were many allergen-friendly food products, and innovative beverages that made bold claims. To craft product stories and claims that captivate consumers, it is important to evaluate implicit associations with different product claims through behavioral research.

Theme Four: Sustainability

Sixty percent of companies at Natural Products Expo West are taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become more sustainable through practices like sustainable ingredient sourcing, eco-friendly packaging and more. Major companies are setting ambitious goals for sustainability, and ingredient suppliers are establishing regenerative and sustainable divisions. However, brands must be careful to avoid greenwashing and ensure their sustainability messaging is relevant, believable and communicates the importance of their efforts. Consumer insights help establish these factors.

Theme Five:Branding to Differentiate

At NPEW, branding innovation was a highlight, with companies working hard to attract consumers and build brand loyalty. The expo showcased a shift towards building bold and distinctive brands, often with minimalist designs and mission-based messaging targeting younger generations. To create a successful natural products brand, it’s crucial to understand the market landscape and target audiences through in-depth analysis of consumer behavior, wants and needs. Armed with this knowledge, companies tailor branding efforts to create unique, compelling messages that resonate with customers and create loyalty.

For a deep dive into what we learned, make sure to sign up for the upcoming “Naturally Trending Food & Beverage Report