Expo West 2016 came and went, and we are reflecting on some trends we were on the look out for this year. Our friend and industry expert, Eric Pierce from New Hope’s NEXT Date and Insights team gave us some valuable insight about what to expect see at Expo this year.

Trend Predictions from Natural Products Expo West


Consumers are reevaluating their decision making in food choices and shifting their trust to the tried and true methods proven effective through history and culture. With a renewed focus on good gut health, foods high in probiotics are on the rise. Doctor D’s Water Kefir contains high level of live probiotics inside, from beneficial bacteria and yeasts present in the kefir.

Astringent flavor profiles show up in the form of kombuchas, shrubs and switchels. These vinegar tasting refreshements are popular for being packed with probiotics to support good gut health. Eric says that there is space for this distinctive flavor to move into other areas, like savory prepared foods. There are plenty of salt and vinegar chip aficionados, so we could see more integration of kimchi and sauerkraut flavors in unexpected ways.





In our busy world, people battle with a variety of minor day to day ailments. There is a constant balance between sleeping well at night and staying alert during the day. Supplements that keep consumers both mellow and focused are in demand.

Adaptogenic herbs balance, restore and protect the body. By optimizing adrenal response, stress and fatigue are reduced. We are seeing products with these herbs moving outside of the supplemental space into snacks and performance drinks. Rebbl is one great example of this, using the power of adaptogenic herbs in some of their drinks.




Brands that tell a story are powerful. We’ve seen plenty of “one-for-one” philanthropic efforts, but there are many opportunities for new and innovative types of ethical, sustainable products to emerge.

Sustainably sourced ingredients give products a positive aspect. This is even more so the case with repurposed ingredients that would otherwise be wasted. If ReGrained can turn beer grains can into edible bars, we can expect all kinds of new, unique, and feel-good products to make a statement this year!




Fat is no longer something to avoid – so long as its good fat, that is. Consuming foods with a high fat content is proven to give sustainable energy for active lifestyles. Companies are using some interesting new techniques to accomadate this new dietary movement.

Getting your good fats in isn’t just restricted to vegetable oils and avocados anymore. Fat content is being upped in everything from yogurt to water. This could be a major selling point when added to conventional products that are consumed on a daily basis, like Fatworks cooking oils.



Clients frequently ask us how we predict upcoming trends. Our president Blake Mitchell offers some insight on how to spot bleeding edge products at Expo that will give a good indication of what’s going to be big this year.

Take your time as you’re walking through. It’s easy to be distracted by flashy and energetic booths, but if you keep your eyes peeled you might find some hidden gems! Though some booths may not be the most well designed, they could have the most ground breaking products.

Talk to company founders and see why they’re there. They often have a distinct perspective of the food market as a whole. These valuable conversations can provide leads into what to keep an eye out for in the coming year.

Expand your horizons! You may be attending the event with a certain food group in mind, but do not ignore other products. A barbecue sauce brand could learn important lessons from people who make ice cream.