24 Things We Learned & Loved at Expo West
This is our 24th anniversary, so in keeping with the theme, we’ll share 24 trends we noticed as we walked the aisles.
1. Keep an eye out for bone broth!
2. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the food industry.
3. The great divide between certifications, such as gluten-free, organic and all-natural, still remains. Consumers have more than ever to decipher as they navigate nutrition.
4. Brands that grow fastest are those that move swiftly and with a great deal of energy.
5. Taste trumps all. All other aspects of a product are irrelevant if it tastes great.
6. The industry grows in direct proportion to America’s love affair with food. We’re entranced with nostalgia and pop culture all at once.
7. Select food brands have become so popular that the entrepreneurs behind the brand name have become celebrities in many respects.
8. The strongest brands are fueled by a food tribe of consumers that love the brand, as well as a team that is passionate about its success.
9. Similar products are saturating the market, the ever-present question is, how do you stand out? Having a unique voice is vital to success right now.
10.Smart on-the-go snacking is still a hot topic as consumers continue to live their busy, fast-paced lifestyles and want healthy options they can feel good about.
11. Transparency is still one of the most important aspects of a product companies continue to feature.
12. In line with the need for transparency is the need for the humane treatment of animals. Consumers continue to be concerned about where their food is coming from. That’s what we like to see! Check out NestFresh for a look at transparency done right.
13. Jerkies, meats and high protein products are still all the rage.
14. Pulses are currently emerging as a hot trend.
15. Interactive marketing had a huge impact on how recognizable a brand was at Expo West.
16. While there were fewer frozen food brands exhibiting, this could be a great opportunity to capitalize on the benefits of frozen food, highlighting freezing as a natural preservative. That’s why we love our frozen food clients, like Mom Made Foods, Tandoor Chef and Graeter’s Ice Cream.
17. Packaging saw a trend towards a clean and modern feel, with a color design of only two to three colors.
18. Clean nutritional panels are a huge draw for today’s health conscious consumers.
19. Candy has expanded to the organic category, offering consumers a new way to indulge.
20. Organic sodas and juices continue to grow in influence, with fruit flavors being the most popular.
21. The granola and energy bar categories are congested. Differentiation in packaging and variety in flavor will likely help it to grow.
22. Dairy brands are focused primarily on yogurt and cheese. However, butter has great potential to take the category by storm … Minerva Dairy, anyone?
23. Digital displays with video – showcasing best practices and sustainability – helped a number of brands find success at Expo West.
24. Healthy snacks for children, with a focus on fun, party packs and small sizes, made headway.