Plant-based, clean label among top expected Expo West trends

A sneak peak of the top 10 trends unfolding around Natural Products Expo West 2022 in- person and virtual, as outlined by the Natural Products Expo West 2022 NEXT Trend Guidebook.

Amanda Hartt

February 11, 2022

3 Min Read

Natural Products Expo West, one of the biggest events in the natural products industry, will meet for the first time in three years. Set in Orange County, California, March 8  to 12, a small city takes over the Anaheim Convention Center where buyers, retailers and brands come together. The floor is abuzz with sampling, tasting and learning about the latest innovations. This is where trend patterns emerge.

Before every Natural Products Expo the trendspotters at Informa Markets review brands registered to exhibit on the expo floor against the 50-plus trends shaping the industry. The result is the Natural Products Expo West 2022 NEXT Trend Guidebook. A curated list of exhibitors that standout and innovate within the industry’s hottest trends. This guidebook details the key macro forces with their corresponding trends, and a focused list of companies with their category and link to their website.

The guidebook showcases and illustrates the industry’s trends unfolding in the U.S. marketplace, allowing industry stakeholders to be up to speed on how brands are responding to consumer needs. The NEXT Trend Guidebook helps familiarize industry members with the 50 distinct trends nested under 17 macro forces, culminating from three paradigm-shifting cultural forces disrupting the U.S. consumer packaged goods industry.

Here is a sneak peak of the top 10 trends unfolding around Natural Products Expo West 2022 in- person and virtual.

  • Eat More Plants—From omnivores to vegans, the goal is to incorporate more nutrient-dense plants in the diet. Brands are creatively catering to picky children avoiding spinach and broccoli, adventurous adults seeking the latest exotic plant superstar, and consumers seeking meat and dairy alternatives.

  • Multi Stakeholder—Brands that were not necessarily formed with the mission to solve poverty, hunger or environmental problems are rethinking how they conduct business by aiming beyond profits and reducing negative impact on people and planet.

  • Clean Label--Simplification is a means to rebuilding trust. Brands are stripping out unpopular ingredients, creating simple ingredient lists and addressing all the cleanup efforts behind their products.

  • Sugar Vilified—The industry is fractured on how to deal with the negative turmoil surrounding sugar and innovation is multipronged with low-glycemic food-based sweeteners, zero-calorie alternatives, or redefining the sensation of sweet cravings with new flavors (savory and bitter) and formats (sparkling).

  • Nutrition Meets Convenience—Make it simple and nutritious. Whether it’s incorporating medicinal benefits through food, foodification of supplements, or using the latest medicinal herb, innovation in convenience-focused brands are bringing nutrition back to the category.

  • Mission-Driven Commerce—Brands are radical change-makers doing the hard work to create a product or brand with a focused goal to improve how commerce is conducted by addressing social or environmental issues.

  • Diversifying Ownership—The faces behind the majority shareholder in a brand is shifting. Whether it be through types of employee-owned models, or new enterprises with BIPOC, Latinx, or Asian-American founders, entrepreneurs are diversifying what ownership looks like.

  • Waste Reduction—Brands and businesses have clever ideas to reduce and remove waste along various steps and corners in the supply chain. Through by-product turned value add or ingredient optimization ideation, waste otherwise known as a pollutant turns into energy or edible food.

  • Sourcing Responsibly—Working to mitigate the extractive tendencies of our food system, many brands are operating with greater sourcing intention to deliver quality ingredients, and form transparent and direct trade relationships.

  • Plant-based Ethics—The ugly side-effects of the livestock industry are drivers for consumers opting for more plants as they either reduce or avoid animal-based foods entirely.

Informa Markets produces Natural Products Expo West as well as the NEXT Trend Guidebook, and it publishes Food & Beverage Insider and Natural Products Insider.

About the Author(s)

Amanda Hartt

Amanda Hartt is the former senior manager at NEXT Data and Insights within New Hope Network. Hartt is on a mission to build healthy communities by transforming food systems, combining her research expertise with over a decade’s worth of studying and analyzing food systems to inspire sustainable innovation through data-driven insights.

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