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Food Trends & Takeaways from Expo West

Our intrepid leaders Anita, Lori, and Beth recently attended Natural Products Expo West in sunny Anaheim, California. The event is an inspiration-filled gathering of emerging and pioneering brands all with the shared goal of creating a better food future. They took in and experienced a plethora of amazing tastes and ideas. These are the top trends they think you should be on the lookout for.

Barbie Core

It’s been almost a full year since the movie was released, but the power of the Barbie brand shows no signs of stopping. Pink was seriously everywhere, booths, food, people… it seemed like everything was very pink. It’s interesting how this phenomenon has even taken hold in food and food marketing.

The Many, Varied Flavors of Asia

After seeing so many Indian flavors like curries as well as Korean barbecue and chili crisp sauces, it feels like we’re getting into more specific elements of various ethnic cuisines. We’re at the point where saying something is “Asian” is too broad. Consumers are aware of and asking for more distinct recipes, tastes, and dishes from the most populous continent on the globe.

Things Are Fishy — In a Good Way

The health benefits of fish have long been known, and positive messaging about sustainability practices are adding strength to this powerful protein. We saw plenty of examples of brands bringing consumers new ways to up their fish intake, particularly with salmon and salmon jerky.

Sauces Are Hot

From spicy to specialty, there was no shortage of drizzles, dips, and dressings for every kind of culinary palate or plate. We think the expansive emergence of sauce varieties supports consumers’ desires for customization.

Girl Scout Power

Based on all the Thin-Mint flavored goodies we saw (and sampled), it feels like soon we won’t have to wait for that special time of year to indulge in one of our favorite flavors.

Egg-cellent Offerings

They’re not just for breakfast anymore. This approachable, protein-packed ingredient turned up in all kinds of ways: egg wraps, egg chips, and even a vegan variety.

Honey Sweetens Everything

We observed examples from producers across the US, as well as from India, New Zealand, and Africa. Additionally, honey was showcased in various forms, including creamed, enriched with botanicals, and used as a sweetener in chocolate bars and fruit chews.

Baby Food Grows Up

Gone are the days of jarred baby food in boring flavors like carrot puree. We saw examples made with premium, natural ingredients as well as high-protein, low-sugar pouches. Varieties ranged from chicken tikka masala to brain-supporting varieties in flavors like white bean, pumpkin, apple. Infant formula has also been enhanced to go beyond regular soy with goat-milk based options and a variety of others.

Freeze-Dried Delights

Forget the notion of stale, dusty, flavorless pieces of shriveled fruit. We experienced a new wave of seriously flavorful, preserved produce with beautiful packaging to match.

Hype Brands Are Bussin’

Collaborations with social media stars and celebrities are now popping up in the food world — no cap. What does a lifestyle influencer know about consumer packaged goods? Who cares as long as the goods aren’t mid.

Our team always loves seeing and sharing the latest food innovations. What flavors or trends do you think will be appearing on the foodservice horizon? Let us know in the comments.

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