Natural Products Expo 2016

expo west Anaheim convention center
expo west
We checked out the Natural Products Expo West this weekend, looking to see what flavors are hot and where the industry trends are heading. The first thing we noticed was that how this show keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Not only the crowds of attendees, but the vast array of brands showing their goods. Not only is the main floor of the convention center (did you know the Anaheim CC is the largest event center on the West Coast?) stuffed with booths, and the basement… and the Arena on the side… and all of the 3rd floor halls… and now 2 halls in the hotel nextdoor! Not to mention all the seminars in the various conference and ball rooms. This has always been a huge event and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Only having one day to go thru all of the show, it was going to be a swift and definitely not everything would be taken in. The most interesting has usually been the Hot or New areas – where the smaller brands are and not the big nationally known names.

So what did we see? Just as an overview, the trends that we definitely noticed were…

– more popcorn – over the past few years, each year there are more popcorn products, and just more snacks in general.
– kombucha – quite a few komubcha drinks are on the scene
– sriracha – maybe the “sriracha” trend is finally plateauing, still new products with it and also more spicy flavorings in more products, but just becoming the norm.
– jerky – jerky, jerky, everywhere. There were so many small jerky makers there this year.
– paleo – more paleo products and maybe why there are so many more jerky companies.

One other observation was that there were more mainstream brands there, touting natural or organic versions of their products. For example Mission tortillas, never thought they would have a booth at Expo. Or Obertos jerky too.

All are examples of where the food scene is going and we’ll see where it’s going to take us.

Until next year…

Crowds at Expo West
Crowds at Expo West

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