Weight management is a popular topic in conversation everywhere, and Expo was no exception. There was a wide range of products, and a variety of diets were represented, but there were a few major trends that dominated.
Keto. “Good fats” were a topic of conversation and a marketing tactic. Real-Zymes Keto from Pure Essence Labs received an award from NEXTY as the best new supplement of 2019. Kiss My Keto, a brand devoted to keto supplements—appetite support, exogenous ketones, ketogenic chocolate bars—was sharing news about keto; PlantFusion expanded into Keto territory with a plant-based energy drink with fats from coconuts, avocados, and sea buckthorn; Picnik showcased a creamer made with grass-fed butter, whey and MCT oil. The low-carb, high-fat diet allows people to diet without being hungry or losing energy, and allows dieters to feast on olive oil, butter, cheese—it was practically created to taste good. You can read more on keto here.
Plant-Based. Studies have shown that plant-based is better for you, better for the planet, better for animals, and great for weight loss. Including more plants in a diet is a great way to avoid sugar and inflammatory foods, and plants contain fiber, which keeps people feeling full and eating less. This category is booming: Al Dente Pasta Company has a green pea + wild garlic pasta, coconut everything was one of WholeFoods’ Top 5 Grocery Trends, and plant-based yogurt from Lavva and The Coconut Collaboration are gaining popularity. Plant-based food that looks like meat was everywhere: Naturli’ sells minced “meat” in the same type of packaging as minced beef; Wild Joy Goods sells a Banana Jerky; Vegetarian Plus had Vegan Citrus Sparerib Cutlets. Plant-based avoids mountains of carbs and bad fats, and as people push for plant-based foods to taste better, it’s quickly becoming an appealing diet.
Probiotics. How can people lose weight if the bacteria in their guts want corn syrup and chocolate, and refuse to absorb vitamins and minerals? Country Life’s brand Gut Connection features a weight-loss probiotic, Enviromedica’s Terraflora was a hit, Fermenting Fairy’s line gets probiotics into the diet, Nature’s Way had probiotic pearls meant to be easier to swallow. Booths were showing off new probiotic products in capsules, gummies, and popsicles, and prebiotics were popular as well. The microbiome has been shown to affect weight, and for people who are dieting and exercising but not losing weight, their microbiome could turn out to be the crux of the problem, and the people at Expo were clearly aware of that.
Sugar. Or, to be more accurate: the lack thereof. Nutrition Facts panels will require labeling of added sugars, “no added sugars” is becoming a popular claim—2,268 products at Expo included the claim “no added sugars,” or a little over a third of the total number of products—and sugar is quickly becoming the villain in more health issues than previously thought. Oatly advertises their no-sugar-added oatmilk as being “naturally sweet,” in addition to having no added sugar. Yogurts, teas, pastas, coconut waters, protein cookies—even Powerful Foods’ Double Chocolate Bites hopped aboard the sugar-free train. As people move away from carbs and as obesity becomes a bigger problem, “no sugars added” becomes a powerful claim worth making—and the sugar-free foods are tasting better these days, too, as Expo proved.
Detox. An excess of toxins can overload the liver; a dearth of vitamins and minerals can mean that the liver can’t do its job anyway. Failure to detoxify can lead to inflammation and insulin resistance—both associated with weight gain. And Expo was all about avoiding toxins. Biodegradable packaging was big, and one panelist advised retailers that customers want to see foods out of the plastic wherever possible. Non-GMO and Organic were, obviously, hugely important: 2,947 products involved “organic” in one way or another, and 3,174 products made a non-GMO claim. Products to assist in detox ranged from Derma E’s Purifying Daily Detox Scrub, to Okay Pure Naturals’ Foot Soak Detox with Himalayan Black Salt, to Terry Naturally’s Daily Herbal Cleanse. And, of course, just about every HABA booth had a product made with the trending detox ingredient charcoal.