A recap of my experience at Expo West 2019! All the new trends I noticed emerging in the natural products industry and my personal highlights from the event.
So sorry for the long absence on the blog, friends!
Expo West was WAY more eventful and time-consuming than I imagined it would be. So instead of scrambling to get haphazard blog posts up, I decided to be really present, take in everything about the experience, and then use this week to recap everything for you.
I am breaking up my recap into 2 different themes: Trends & Highlights and Favorite Products. I could probably write 3 or 4 posts, but I am going to try to be succinct so I don’t bore you with tons of lengthy posts on a single event. 😊
If you’ve never been to Expo West before, or have only been to East like me, this event is like NONE other in the natural foods and natural products industry.
To give you an idea, over 80,000 people come to Anaheim for this 4-5 day yearly event and they city has actually added on more buildings to the convention center just because of the growing scale of this event. Walking around the venue was like navigating a small city….I did 45,000 steps the first day! 😮
Needless to say, your feet, mind, and stomach are all tired at the end of a day at Expo West! But the knowledge, samples, and connections you walk away with make it SO worth it. I will definitely be back next year. 👌🏻
Now, let’s roll into the product trends I noticed at Expo West…
Trends on the Floor at Expo West
Coconut as an Ingredient
This is a trend that has carried over from last year at Expo East and continues to be quote popular. Coconut oil is the go-to oil to use in both sweet and savory products, coconut flour is found widely in everything from chips to baking mixes, and of course, flaked or desiccated coconut is still a go-to addition to mix with chocolate or fruit-based products.
CBD in EVERYTHING
In case you’re living under a rock 😉, CBD is the IT product of 2019. And it’s not even a food! Crazy, huh?
Companies are adding it to everything from and protein bites to ice cream and gummy candies. They are promoting it along the same lines as adaptogens and saying it can help with things like anxiety, poor sleep, muscle recovery, and more. Just a note from my personal experience and research…CBD oil did nothing of note for me when I tried it and after speaking to a family friend, who is a psychiatrist with a license to prescribed medical grade marijuana, he basically said the CBD being sold on the market today is essentially coconut oil in terms of its potency and efficacy. The CBD in real medical marijuana is processed totally differently from the CBD sold over the counter and thus has actual benefits. If you’re getting relief from over the counter CBD products, it’s most likely a placebo effect.
Unique Plant-Based Alternatives
If you can think of a food nowadays, there is most likely a vegan version of it. This year’s Expo West proved that! I saw some of the most unique (and rather tasty!) vegan items that I’ve ever seen before. The cheese and meat alternatives are really becoming amazing and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who could tell the difference between a regular baked good and some of the vegan treats I tried. In 2019, it is a lot easier to be vegan!
Catering to the KETO Diet
On the total OPPOSITE spectrum from above, KETO is the new diet of choice. There was definitely a shift from Paleo to KETO at this year’s Expo. Companies are releasing whole lines of KETO products in addition to their other products and a bunch of new companies have popped up with only KETO-friendly options to share with the public. Think HIGH FAT, minimal protein, and zero/no-carb products. Not my thing personally!
From probiotic shots to pressed juice shots…”wellness shots” or 1-3 ounce mini bottles of various health elixirs were HUGE this year. I think companies are trying to market to people who maybe don’t love green juice or drinking an apple cider vinegar based drink…but would still like to reap the health benefits. Enter: wellness shots! An easy to chug alternative with a concentrated amount of the nutrients you’d get in a full-sized juice or drink.
A lot of my (and your!) favorite brands have taken it upon themselves to release a whole separate line dedicated to kiddos. A few examples…This Bar Saves Lives, Larabar, THINK Thin (which is now just THINK…which is a positive change in my opinion), and RXBar (which has expanded their line of kids products).
Cauliflower Instead of Carbs
Another trend that has carried over from last year! Cauliflower is still a SUPER popular ingredient and it’s being used by companies as a replacement in crackers, pretzels, rice, pizzas, breads, and even OATS now.
Highlights from Expo West
Getting to see blogger friends from around the country…especially Erica and Becca who I roomed with!
Meeting all the people behind the amazing companies I loved and support!
Connecting with new brands and trying products that have yet to be released on the market. (more on specific products in my next post!)
Being in the SUN and warmth for a few days…although I am pretty sure everyone in LA thinks I am insane because they were all wearing coats, hats, and gloves while I was sweating in shorts. 😆
Getting to chat with DEAN KARNAZES (elite ultramarathoner) for over 30 minutes and getting a signed copy of his book!
Have you ever been to Expo East or West?
If you went to the Expo, what trends did you notice? Did I miss any?
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