3 Major Trends from Expo East 2019

The Natural Products Expo East, held September 11-14, 2019 in Baltimore, MD is an extraordinary annual trade show that brought together almost 30,000 attendees and 1,500 different brand exhibitors from the natural and organic community. With so many products available for showcasing, we were able to pick out three major product trends that we believe will stay in the forefront for the next year.

This year’s Expo East saw different brands challenging the way that consumers think about milk. In an effort to gain trust amongst buyers, the milk industry has seen companies like Organic Valley become even more transparent. Using reputable certifications regarding animal welfare and a farmer-owned approach, dairy companies are changing the perception around milk.

If you’re still not convinced of the merits of milk, there was no shortage of dairy alternatives making their way onto the market. One of the veterans of the space, Oatly, offers a full line of fiber rich milk made exclusively from oats. With products ranging from chocolate to a variety of coffee creamers, Oatly serves as a dairy free option for every occasion.

Sustainability is nothing new to the Natural Products crowd, but some of the ways this goal is being realized have changed over the years. Companies like Uglies are using rejected potatoes for their chips in order to reduce wasted ingredients. Evidence of this sort of upcycling can be found across other categories as well, including spent grain being made into nutrition bars and discarded fruit being used for teas.

Sustainability isn’t limited to just the actual products either. The lack of plastic used at this event was astounding! Companies have ditched plastic and instead are creating plant-based compostable materials and paper-based packaging to combat pollution. 

CBD and hemp products were a huge trend found at last year’s show, and this year we observed the evolution and growth of the space. CBD has gone from a niche category filled with unvetted creams and tinctures to a trust-worthy and booming industry finding itself in goods such as coffee and nutritional bars. Natural Products Expo East saw its biggest turn-out for CBD products to date and boasted a whole room full of new products. Companies have taken their transparency one step further with the addition of QR codes on all their packaging. By using your phone to scan the product, one can see a detailed breakdown of the CBD used in the product (including lab results).

The Natural Foods Expo is always a great indicator of trends in the industry, and we saw this year’s show bring in a number of products related to sustainability (in both products and packaging), an increase in CBD and hemp products, as well as numerous alternatives to traditional dairy. We’re excited to see what the remainder of 2019 brings to the market! 

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