Emerging Trends from The Natural Products Expo East Show
The Natural Products Expo East Show took place in Philadelphia in October 2022. It is not as large as the Natural Products Expo West Show, but it did attract over 18,000 attendees and 1200 exhibitors. It spanned the entire health and wellness industry. The main participants were:
- Health Practitioners
- Distributors (Finished Goods)
- Food Services
- Raw Ingredient Distributors
- Business Services
The presentations focused not only on ‘better for human health’ products, but on ‘better for the planet’ products and processes. Sustainability through waste reduction, packaging and lowering of carbon emissions were common themes.
Other common themes were back-to-basics approaches to recipes with simpler foods and less ingredients. There were also many third-party certifiers like ISA that work with brands to authenticate sustainability efforts, organic ingredients, and clean production methods.
The pandemic effect on the natural foods market is substantial. During the pandemic, millions of consumers looked for alternatives to traditional medicine to bolster their immune systems. This increased the awareness and interest in “food as medicine”. Food brands, nutraceuticals, and even pharmaceuticals are taking notice and entering this market.
According to Food Navigator, sales of functional foods grew by more than 8% in 2020 and again in 2021. That is very high growth for the food sector. Functional foods are very nutritious foods with powerful health benefits. There is evidence that functional foods protect humans and animals against diseases and promote healthy bodies that function as they are meant to. Some can be transformed into supplements to support and improve health. Functional foods can be certain mushrooms, plants, berries, seeds etc. It’s no wonder it has grown to become a 59 billion dollar market with beverages, snacks and deserts increasing at the highest rate of growth.
Many new beverages are emerging. In the drink category, the common theme is natural, low sugar, ‘good for the health’ options. More and more, health-conscious consumers are avoiding artificial sweeteners in drinks and opting for healthier alternatives like sweeteners from dates, coconut or yacon. Other emerging beverages include protein drinks, mental-health drinks, energy drinks and liquid vitamins.
Snacks are big and growing in importance. Recently the healthy snack Clif Bar was acquired by Mondelez for over 1 billion dollars. At the event, snack exhibitors displayed hundreds of new snacks, with nuts, berries, and other ingredients. Hemp and cannabis brands featured snacks like gummies, cookies, granola, peanut butter and more. Cannabis brands promote snacks that are both delicious and help support mental health and wellness. Food for mental health was a recurring theme of the conference. Besides Hemp products, other lesser-known ingredients like maca and ashwagandha promise to lower stress levels. Already existing snacks are lowering sodium, sugar, and fat content to meet the needs of more health-conscious consumers.
Halal and Healthy
Many consumers in North America and Europe view Halal products as pure and environmentally friendly. They appreciate the extra layer of oversight that goes into Halal compliance and certification. Halal products are generally seen as higher quality, containing less ‘unknown’ additives than mainstream, mass produced products. Savvy consumers want to know what is in products and approve of the contents before purchasing. They understand that the quality of the products they consume has an impact on their quality of life.
Consumers are demanding simple food that is better for the planet and at Expo East, exhibitors seem to be listening and responding to the market. There were more heritage products and an emergence of ancient foods that go back millennia. Consumers are now realizing the wisdom of ancient remedies from around the world. Today’s consumers are demanding sustainability and transparency in consumable products. Halal products are ingredient and process certified. The Halal stamp of approval from Islamic Services of America can distinguish a company’s products from the competition and increase value in the minds of consumers.
Islamic Services of American (ISA) is a leading USA based Halal certification and auditing organization serving companies, the community, and the Halal industry for over 45 years. Contact ISA at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the ISA website for more information at www.isahalal.com
picture credit: istock.com