Each year, more than 75,000 people attend Natural Products Expo West to learn about the latest trends and product innovations in the industry. While thousands of companies exhibited, there were three trends that seemed to permeate the show: innovation in plant-based milks, CBD and prebiotic additives, and regenerative farming.
Plant-Based Milk Gets an Upgrade
If you’re like me, you probably have trouble keeping up with the latest and greatest dairy milk alternatives. At Expo West 2019, soy milk was definitely a thing of the past, replaced by oat milk, cashew milk, almond milk – and my personal favorite – hazelnut milk.
In addition to different plant-based milk types, companies like Califia Farms and Elmhurst have released Barista editions of their products. These editions will enable baristas (and coffee enthusiasts) to steam plant-based milk just as well as traditional dairy milk, which means tastier plant-based lattes (not to mention nicer plant-based latte art).
Product Additives with a Twist
Years ago, protein-packed products were all the rage, with soy and whey protein additives part of everything from power bars to oatmeal. This year, CBD oil and prebiotics seemed to be everywhere.
CBD oil (short for cannabidiol) is a property of the hemp plant and, according to Charlotte’s Web, one of the leading exhibitors of CBD oil extract at the show, a “non-psychoactive compound known for helping human bodies maintain health and overall wellness.” In addition to CBD oil extract, it can also be found in coffee, hydration, and creams.
You’ve probably heard of probiotics, live bacteria that are beneficial for gut health. Prebiotics, on the other hand, act as a fertilizer to help probiotics thrive. Essentially a fiber-based food source, prebiotics were included in everything from chocolate to sparkling tonics.
Sustainability Goes to the Farm
While many companies have talked about sustainability, this year’s Expo showcased how companies are taking action to meet sustainability commitments through agriculture.
The most obviously display was General Mill’s Regenerative Farming booth, which showcased real soil and rain shower simulations.
On the left, soil that had been left bare had greater runoff from rain and was more susceptible to erosion, while the soil on the right, which had received composting and other “regenerative” materials from the farm, was stronger and experienced less runoff.
There you have it – our two cents on the latest trends at Expo West in 2019. And while trends can be easily debated, one thing is certain: consumers have never had more variety to choose from.