I was thrilled to be Trendspotting at the Natural Products Expo West Show in Anaheim, California from March 8 to 11. With over 3,000 exhibitors and 82,000 attendees, there were thousands of new products, innovations and trends to observe in the health, nutrition and supplement space.

I refer to this show as a “beast” for a variety of reasons. Including the hype of celebrity keynotes, the power of social media equaling both the attendees and press office being more pedestrian than it was five years ago. Plus, the combination of the food and supplement industries under one show banner always makes for interesting conversations.

That being said – the show did succeed at debuting new and confirming current food trends I discovered in January at Winter Fancy Food Show. Let’s explore my top five food and beverage trends from Natural Products Expo West.

The Top Five Trends

Energy
Energy came in a variety of forms at Expo West from turmeric being a popular flavour for energy focused foods and beverages to the addition of caffeine to water and breakfast foods. My favourite new product was the Laird SuperFoods Turmeric Creamer from Laird Hamilton’s (world renowned big-wave surfer) company. The idea is to use the creamer on a daily basis in a high quality coffee to achieve an ideal mix of fats with caffeine for the sustained energy alertness.

Plant Based Beverages
Dairy-free, plant-based beverages were everywhere at Expo West. In Canada, milk has a standard of identity that falls under our regulatory system; therefore a beverage that is not from a cow or goat cannot be called “milk”. However in the USA, these plant-based beverages are labeled as “milks”. From flax milk to oat milk, the variety was vast along with the varying tastes, flavours and textures.

Texture
You know I love crunch! I’m always adding seeds, nuts, and crispy fruits and veggies to my meals and snacks. In both my December Bakers Journal column, and Grow with Nutrition blog – Food and Beverage Trends for 2018, I discussed texture. Texture was a definite theme at Expo West with smooth, crunch and crisps in a variety of formats on the quest for consumers to have multisensory food and drink experiences when they eat.

Shots
Targeting many uses including energy, brain, immune and gut health, from ginger turmeric rescue to apple cider vinegar shots, these mini functional 60 mL (2 ounce) beverages were the next small but mighty thing in the beverage category at Expo West. Personally I haven’t be able to stomach a 250 mL or larger size of drinking vinegar, however I was a fan of Ethan’s beet flavoured apple cider vinegar shot and would easily be able incorporate that size into my diet.

Seeds
My book The Need for Seeds: How to Make Seed an Everyday Food in your Healthy Lifestyle was published two years ago and the seed products at Expo West was huge, especially in the snack category. I loved the taste and texture of Squbes (crunchy seed cubes in sweet and savory flavours) debuting at Expo West from the Irish Company, Virginia Health Food Ltd.

Thank you for joining me for my Trendspotting at the Natural Products Expo West Show. I’d love to speak at your upcoming event to share more exciting food trends.

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