Natural Products Expo West 2015 just wrapped up yesterday. It was busier than I have ever seen it before with 70,000 people that came to find about new products that can make a difference to them and the world. It is a positive upbeat group with a lot of energy. Better food is expected to grow 64% over the next 4 years. More than double the conventional products – that’s a fantastic sign that health and wellness is on consumers’ mind!
I can talk a lot about the products and will give you a short summary but that is not what I found important at Expo this year. I believe that everyone is focused on the products and misses the real zeitgeist of Expo West. I will explain after we get the required product summary out of the way.
Here is short summary of trends and products that stood out.
- Paleo Diet – high protein, low carbohydrate results in protein added put into everything and carbohydrates taken out of everything. Resulting in protein water, high protein filtered milk, Paleo ice pops, and kale bars.
- Water everywhere – Maple Water, Watermelon Water, Caffeine Waters, Cactus Waters
- Probiotics in everything good for gut health really glad to see – probiotic juices, chocolates and bars
- Chia and Hemp seeds in everything: 7 Hemp booths, 15+ Chia booths
- Avocado is the next big fruit (avocado is a fruit just like a tomato always have to remind myself) by far avocado mayonnaise was my favorite
I want to share my report about a health and wellness. Two components are required in rapid growth – the environment, where anything is possible and core, a grounding beating heart that is made up of individuals who dream about making a difference blended with those that have made a difference for the health and wellness of the people and the planet. Expo West serves as a hub, where people can come together where you can all imagine, dream, talk with others about your dreams and all have mutual understanding.
I saw a lot of young inspiring and seasoned individuals doing great things at Expo West. Young people are excited about coming up new ways to create healthy products.
In other words, what I love about this youthful enthusiasm group is that they are grounded with leaders that started this industry 30 years ago. For me, talking with people like Michael Funk founder of United Natural Foods or Steve Demos creator of brand Silk and Bob Scowcroft, former Executive Director of the Organic Farming Research Foundation was stimulating. Let’s not forget Jim Slama, a friend who has dedicated his life to Small Family Farms and is going to help us get more supply. Expo West is a source of inspiration, a place for people to explore and express their beliefs on healthy and natural food.
I was beaming and energized after talking with a young girl named Vani. She told CEO of Wild Oats Tom Casey and I such a great story about asking a large fast food company for the complete ingredients but wouldn’t give them to her. Vani went to the restaurant asked an employee to see the packaging and ingredients, which the employee did. There was a questionable ingredient in the product and she wrote to company but has not received a response. She started blogging about this ingredient and within two weeks the company contacted her and agreed to phase out the ingredient. She continued to blog and uncover questionable practices that bothered her not scientifically just her intuitive self. She is a inspiration to me and to anyone that doubts they can make a difference. That’s what I love about the youth at Expo West. You can make a change if you put your mind into it. And here is what I love about the seasoned elders of the movement at Expo West – Friday evening there was a band playing for the reception, the band was rocking out getting everybody dancing and having a blast. Band was sponsored by Cliff Bar, the company founded by Gary Erickson and one of the few companies who refuse to sell to a Big Food company. Now you might ask why this was so moving? All the members of the band, at least 10 plus crew where full time employees of Cliff bar and the guy playing trumpet was Gary Erickson – just the way it should be.