Natural Products Expo West is, of course, a great place to see where the Industry is headed. CBD was everywhere—except in grocery: It is still technically an illegal food additive. There’s no doubt that once the FDA has worked out a regulatory pathway, it’ll be in everything, but in its absence, here are five trends straight from the show floor of Expo West:
- Coconut. Coconut was present in pure milk form, in cream form, shredded in granola. Coconut beverages were in every aisle. This shouldn’t be surprising: it’s lactose-free, not a top allergen, vegan, and sweet. Companies like Coconut Collaborative, Coconut Bliss, and NadaMoo are capitalizing on this trend, and you should too.
- Oat milk. Oat milk doesn’t require the amount of resources that almonds do, isn’t a nut, is dairy-free, and can be gluten-free, ticking off all the boxes. All those traits make oats themselves trendy, too: they’re granola- and breakfast-friendly, and overnight oats are quickly gaining traction in an increasingly hectic world. Oatly, Planet Oat, and Pacific Foods all sell oatmilk, Powerful Foods sells overnight oats, and Sprout Living sells drinkable oats—yet another innovative take on a well-loved food.
- Cauliflower. Cauliflower might not have the sheer product numbers that oats and coconuts have, but it’s gaining traction quickly: Caulipower, according to a press release, is now officially a top ten frozen pizza brand nationwide. Riced cauliflower is a grain-free alternative for those avoiding grains; it can be toasted, as per PopCorners, into crackers; Luvo, Inc., made it into a mac & cheese. It’s got a mild flavor that can be seasoned any which way, and it taps nicely into the plant-based trend.
- Turmeric. Kovi Kai sells raw turmeric cubes. At Expo West, it’s in soups and ramen bowls, but it’s also in hummus. Brooklyn Food & Beverage has it in a ginger ale. Bhoomi Cane Water has it in juice. Picnik has it in matcha. Greenjoy added it to a salad dressing. Turmeric isn’t going anywhere but up.
- Functional foods. Uncle Matt’s debuted a probiotic popsicle. Turmeric is in so many foods and beverages for a reason. Vital Proteins has collagen water and collagen creamer. Functional food is a broad trend, but it’s also a good sign: Functional foods are more expensive than their conventional counterparts, and the fact that they’re on the rise is a sign that customers are becoming more and more willing to pay for the nutrition they’re realizing they need. Here, you can talk up the nutrition and the convenience: There’s no need to remember to take probiotics if you can eat them in your dessert.