It may already seem like a lifetime ago, but let’s look back for a moment at this year’s Natural Products Expo West. It sprawled with healthy goodness across the entire Anaheim Convention Center, which felt like its own naturals village.
I was pleased to see the tried and true pioneers still thriving and hopeful for the newcomers with good intentions. Nearly 20%, 600 of the 3,500 exhibitors, were new to the industry. The Natural Products Expo was always a safe haven, a place where everything was made with the best possible ingredients. Now I recommend walking the show floor with a watchful eye. Green and health washing CPG companies are trying to piggyback on America’s search for healthier habits and get sold the opposite. Buyer beware! On the other hand, there are more truly wonderful brands out there than ever before
“The spirit of Expo West has always been innovation. The conversations happening at Expo West are often catalysts for change well beyond the natural products industry,” said Adam Andersen, SVP, events, New Hope Network.
The industry is seeing more B-Corps, diversity, funding and philanthropy than ever before.
Here are some categories we’re keeping an eye on.
There are over 100 double-blind studies that show the effectiveness of ginger against pain but none for cannabis. Yet CBD is a hot topic in naturals because it has the medicinal and therapeutic effects cannabis offers without psycho-active properties. Continue to keep an eye on this category, the players in it now are the ones making change.
Every mushroom species has its own unique health benefits that can naturally aid wellness and recovery. The mushroom experts at OM cultivate, grow, powder and package the healthiest fungi nature has to offer. OM makes it easy to recognize which mushroom species support which bodily function. With powders geared toward help with cognition, energy and even weight control, OM Nutrition harnesses the unique powers of mushrooms and brings them to you in powders that can be easily incorporated into any meal.
Manitoba Milling is flexing its flax expertise again with better seeds and alternative ways to benefit from them such as flax milk, the latest entrant which happens to be thicker, which is great news for latte lovers.
Birth Control Detox
Even before you start taking your prenatal vitamins, Premama has a powdered pill-free supplement to ease your body into pregnancy. These aids can help with all aspects of a pregnancy whether it be digestive support, sleep assistance and can even prevent birth defects. This natural line of daily prenatal essentials can easily be mixed into drinks and soft foods and will see a new mom all the way through lactation.
Bright smiles are natural again
Bright white teeth are making a comeback, this time as a symbol of natural health and wellness with the introduction of ORALGEN’s NuPearl.32x Advanced Teeth Whitening System. The peroxide-free kit is a natural and healthy way to achieve dentist-quality results from the convenience of your own home. The NuPearl.32x system is similar to whitening procedures used in dentist offices, but is actually “zing-free,” and even vegan. By using the NuPearl Perfecting Whitening Pen, the natural whitening gel is applied to the teeth while the exclusive NuBright LED technology™ uses low intensity lights, emitting high levels of brightness in a single direction onto the whitening gel, delivering professional results in minutes.
For natural brushing, we found Davids natural toothpaste. It’s made in America using sustainable ingredients to achieve effective oral care results safely, and enhance consumers’ tooth brushing experience.
A new genre of chocolate is providing dense nutrition and purpose. Over 500 years ago chocolate was used as a delivery system for herbs and medicine. Yes Cacao creates botanical chocolates with unusual additions like GABA (an amino acid naturally produced by our brains to balance melatonin and serotonin), Kava Kava (a Polynesian herb used for unwinding) and Lions Mane (a mushroom used to improve memory). Yes Cacao strives to improve holistic health and overall wellness through a much loved piece of sweetness, chocolate.
Probiotics with benefits
The fight against allergies requires tough protection and Probiogen’s Allergy Defense is a condition- specific probiotic that gets you through allergy season. Formulated by expert microbiologist Kiran Krishnan, Probiogen has extra benefits as the only probiotic with breakthrough Smart Spore Technology, blended with key herbals to support a healthy immune system for seasonal relief.
Bye bye baby meds
As the demand for essential oils continues to rise with more people leaning toward natural methods of care, Oilogic has made it safe and impactful for babies and toddlers. Clear of synthetics and impurities, Oilogic’s fool-proof and convenient essential oils help calm and soothe children’s skin, stomach, mood and sleep for natural parenting support.
Fresh herbs are causing mayhem in the kitchen. Trying to keep them fresh and chemical free is difficult yet almost every dish relies on them to provide flavor and delight. Simply Beyond has solved this problem and more. With Simply Beyond, simply spray before, during, or after cooking and every day dishes are instantly customized to your taste buds.
Deep within the Himalayas, HimalaSalt is found. Naturally formed with essential minerals its clean flavor adds sophistication to your plate. Crucial for wellbeing, HimalaSalt restores your natural alkaline balance reflected in your blood. This organic, high quality seasoning is available as travel size salt shakers and mini salt grinders. HimalaSalt also offers serving bowls and round plates all made out of Himalayan salt.
The Sadaf brand shows us fermented black garlic bulbs, an ancient delicacy developed in East Asia. Kept under controlled heat, this black garlic becomes soft, rich and caramelized compared to fresh garlic that is pungent with too strong of a taste. You can use black garlic as a complement to any dish or as an ingredient in dressings, sauces, dips and more.
A return to real granola
Grandy Oats is what real granola tastes like. This company keeps its granola real with all organic, non-GMO, locally sourced ingredients made in small batches at a solar-powered plant for a cleaner, tastier, healthier granola experience.
New ways to love avocado
AvoLov is the first and only company producing dehydrated, crisp and seasoned avocado chips. Dried at a low temperature, the super food properties and creamy taste of avocados are kept intact. With seasonings like sea salt, sriracha and chili lime, you need to get your hands on this new healthy snack as soon as it becomes available.
Ear health is one of the main five senses, yet it’s often neglected. Tightness, clogging and itchy ears can make you uncomfortable, unbalanced and cause hearing difficulty. Ear candling and drops are easy, safe, natural and relaxing ways to care for your ears. In fact, the benefits of ear candling extend way beyond the ears. The ear candling experts at Wally’s Naturals taught us that it’s a way to relax your entire body and mind. It has a soothing, calming and warming effect like a sauna or a steam and forces you to take time out and focus on yourself. Like hearing the sea when you put a shell to your ear, candling sounds like you are next to crackling fire. It is a great ritual to do before bed to help you calm down and fall asleep faster. Candling has been around for thousands of years. It has roots in South American culture. Wally’s Naturals sells millions of candles yearly and has done so for nearly 25 years. Wally’s Naturals has minimal wax, a filtered tip to stop debris, and is engineered not to drip.
Brew hard to get super ingredients
Many of us love the idea of adding superfoods to our favorite meals and drinks with convenience, but at what cost? Sometimes adding superfoods feels too forced and the taste of what you’re having is compromised in the process. BareOrganics has taken the superfood trend to the next level, simply by putting taste and quality ahead of enforced ingredients.The innovative team of nutritionists and tastemakers at BareOrganics have found a way to bring superfoods to your coffee and favorite teas without compromising the delicious taste. Each superfood added to BareOrganics Coffees & Teas are perfectly paired with the drink to enhance taste, not distract from it. They are also packed with probiotics to support digestive health with every sip. Compatible with most single serve brewing systems, all BareOrganics Brew Cups are recyclable and contain biodegradable filters and grounds for less overall waste.
Plant-based home care
Earthy has aromatherapy built right into its home and laundry products. This natural lifestyle brand uses only raw ingredients from the earth and aromatherapy to nurture your home and body so you can keep an eye out for the environment.
Eating vegan is good for you, but it can still contain allergens. VioLife is a dairy-free cheese that doesn’t have lactose, gluten, nut or soy and it comes in expected dairy varieties including blue cheese, mature cheddar, smoked provolone, feta and others. And it is so delicious you won’t even want the other variety.
Human-grade pet perks
Most natural pet lovers agree our animal friends should be eating what we eat. Riley’s makes that easy with organic treats in gourmet flavors your dog is bound to savor as much as you do. Pumpkin & Coconut, Peanutbutter and Molasses or Beet & Barley are just a few that will make you wish your pet would share.
I’d make my own if I had the time but it’s not always possible. Next best is a Ladle & Lead soup that is packaged in a glass jar you can keep in your fridge for when you need it. They are all chef-made by hand.
Featuring an ancient super food, Organic Gemini discovered TigerNuts after starting a diet restricted to food that was raw, organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, and dairy-free. A TigerNut is a root vegetable rich with essential nutrients and high in protein. Organic Gemini provides TigerNuts in raw snack packages or concocted oils, flours or smoothie mixes.
With a strong dedication to making tasty gluten-free organic products, QRUNCH began experimenting with different grains, vegetables and spices to make something everyone would want to eat. Eventually the QRUNCH burger was born consisting of quinoa, millet and organic vegetables. Just throw the burger in the oven, on the grill or in the microwave for a warm, healthy, tasty, gluten free dinner.
Farm to frozen desserts
The same brothers that brought Italian ices from New York to California in the 70’s have reunited to reintroduce the Natural Choice rice-based frozen desserts and Absolute Fruit sorbets straight from the farm, two new acquisitions for the Brothers International Desserts.
Locally sourced alkalinity
Evamor water is sourced from a rare artesian aquifer that’s naturally rich in minerals. Helping to balance your body and your life, Evamor has a pH range between 8.8 – 9.1 allowing an environment alive with electrolytes and alkaline goodness.
No soaking needed
Serious allergies to peanuts and dairy are incredibly present in the world today. Finding healthy alternatives to these very prevalent foods is a huge challenge. NutraMilk makes it easy to make these alternatives in the comfort of your own home in minutes. NutraMilk is a kitchen appliance that makes smooth and finely filtered nut butters and milks without the need to soak nuts overnight.
Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, a globe-trotting trend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company, a New York-based marketing communications firm with an office in Los Angeles. Trent & Company grew out of Nancy’s personal commitment to helping people live longer and healthier lives. A former journalist for New York magazine, Nancy has written seven books on healthy lifestyles, serves on the editorial boards of several magazines and travels around the world speaking at conferences and trade shows on trends in the marketplace. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 30 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit http://www.trentandcompany.com.
NOTE: WholeFoods Magazine does not endorse any specific brand or product. Always seek the advice of a medical professional before adding a dietary supplement to (or removing one from) your daily regimen. The opinions expressed in bylined articles are not necessarily those of the publisher.