Where food meets tech meets sustainability

We’ve been writing of late in the Homera Blog about the fast growth of natural and organic food, and after taking part in the just concluded 2018 Natural Products Expo West, our excitement toward the future of this remarkable industry has grown exponentially. And so should yours!

It was the biggest Expo yet, with more than 85,000 attendees and 3,521 company exhibitors occupying the entire space of the Anaheim Convention Center, March 7-11. The Expo East edition will be held this September 12-15 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Walking the halls of the event, it is clear the meteoric growth of the industry and the event is being fueled by innovation, consumer demand, and all the trade sparked by the heightened activity.

A few quick takeaways from the show:

Plant based — From meats to yogurts to chips, plant based products had a strong presence this year. We mentioned this segment in our March 8 post, pointing to recent studies. At Expo West, the studies came to life, and the trend will only continue to grow as people search for food that does not harm the planet or animals, while delivering enhanced nutrition.

Protein — There is added protein in just about everything! This trend started with the Paleo boom, but has only continued to grow. It will be interesting to see how long it continues, as it is now prevalent in almost every food category.

Nuts and Seeds — There was a strong presence of companies presenting nut and seed butters, some plain, others infused with flavors. These are certainly healthier options, and the more the merrier!

Hot new ingredient: Tahini — Another healthy option that was widely seen and is becoming a better known product.

How do you like your water? — Forget plain tap water; there are now a number of sparkling water brands out there, as well as water with collagen, electrolytes and energy adding elements.

Mainstream brands are fully enveloped in the natural foods business — Kraft Heinz, Campbells and General Mills are just a few of the large packaged-food companies that now have brands they have either acquired or developed, as they have seen the opportunities and growth of the segment.

Finally, there were these two highlights of the show we’d like to point out:

Most interesting booth: General Mills — Instead of highlighting their product range, the booth was dedicated to the importance of good farmland to creating healthy, nutrient-dense, sustainable food. Very interesting and a break from the norm.

Bob still going strong — Bob Moore, the founder and CEO of Bob’s Red Mill continues to be a beacon of the natural food industry. He signed books and took pictures with hundreds of attendees and continues to provide wholesome, nutritious products that consumers trust and enjoy!

Photo courtesy of New Hope Network and the Natural Products Expo West 2018.