Natural Products Expo West … Fits Us Naturally.
Natural Products Expo West is arguably the biggest, the most interesting and the most exhausting food trade show of the year. Food brands of all types come from across the country and the globe to introduce their foods and new product development, share their ideals and gain new distribution and fans. In short, everyone is after the almighty and powerful retailer relationships … and consumer dollar.
So, what were the trends that Team RMD spotted at Expo West last week? Here’s a summation, along with some of our favorite finds:
Bars and Balls: From protein-enriched to caffeine-enhanced, meat and grain bars and nutrition balls are making their way into all meal categories — and aren’t just for snacking anymore. Our favorite: The Better Than Coffee bar at 100 calories and just 3g of sugar, it truly tastes like a caffeine kick (and agency people are known for their love of coffee). We also love the relaunched MetaBall, which has introduced a whole new array of flavors (and new packaging!), including our favorite – Berry Cobbler Crunch.
Pork Rinds: Grandpa’s snack has made its way to mainstream America with reinventions of this old favorite. Our favorite, of course, is Southern Recipe Small Batch’s rinds. Newly introduced at the show? The oven baked rinds, touting less fat and a powerful bacon flavor. The traditional line of Southern Recipe Small Batch rinds is equally delicious. We suggest the Spicy Dill. This flavor combination insists that your taste buds take notice.
Grab ‘N Go Everything! There’s protein-enhanced, grab ‘n go foods in nearly EVERY category. Clearly, we’ve gotten the message that protein = good and we’re all on the run. For a flavor sensation that’ll make you turn that car around and want more, give Lilly’s Hummus a taste. It’s hummus made with clean, simple ingredients… and obviously, lots of heart.
Grain Free/Alternative Grains/Gluten Free: The Gluten Free community is in for a TREAT if Expo West is any indication of what’s going to be found in grocery aisles and on Amazon in the coming months. Outrageously delicious, this category has come a long, long, long way. Our must-try favorites: Soozy’s Muffins, Brekki Overnight Oats, The Toasted Oat and Oggi Pizza. OMG, delicious!
Convenience: Everything that’s entering the market is in some way trying to solve our biggest challenges … we’re time-starved and still, want delicious food when we sit down at the table. Food brands have gotten this message. For the best products in this category (that we LOVE), try Saffron Road entrees (like, wow!) and Medlee Food’s new line of flavor-infused butters.