It’s time once again for Natural Products Expo West, the can’t-miss event that brings 60,000+ to Anaheim, California to get a glimpse at the latest natural and organic offerings in the food, beverage, health and beauty categories.
I recently sat down with my fellow attendees to get their thoughts prior to our trip.
What made each of you decide to go to Expo West?
Ashley: I’ve heard such exciting things about Expo West and am finally checking it off my bucket list. As a self-described food nerd, I can’t wait to see—and taste—all that Expo West has to offer.
Cherri: Ashley, you will not be disappointed! Personally, after so many years of attending, I honestly can’t imagine not being there. If you work in the food and beverage space, there’s really no better way to keep tabs on the latest trends and gain inspiration for your next innovation.
Lori: That’s exactly why I am excited to go! I work with several food and beverage companies, and I am always looking to do whatever I can to help them grow their businesses. I know that doing things like going to Expo West and staying on top of the latest trends is an important part of providing the strategic partnership I always strive to deliver.
Why do you think that it’s important for Seed to be there?
Cherri: Throughout Seed’s 21-year history, more than half of our work has always been in the food and beverage industry. Our clients look to us to be on the forefront of emerging trends to help them stay ahead of the pack. At Expo West, you see first-hand what will become the new “gold standard” in a category, what has a shot at major disruption or what could even obsolete a segment altogether.
Lori: Echoing what Cherri said, as innovators in the food and beverage space, it’s important to stay on top of the latest and greatest so we can provide the thought leadership and boundary pushing that our clients need to bring breakthrough ideas to life.
Adam: I agree, Lori. That’s why I’m so glad to have the chance to be there and see everything live and in person. All the new ingredients, flavors, product forms, packaging designs and executions, benefits, claims, descriptive copy—all of those things provide important knowledge and inspiration for us and the work we do for our clients.
Ashley: Absolutely. Being in-the-know about all aspects of food and beverage innovation helps us stay sharp and be more valuable partners to our client teams as they look to grow their business and better serve evolving consumer needs.
We’ve talked a lot about trends. Which specific trends or topics will you be paying particularly close attention to at the show?
Ashley: I’m particularly interested in the plant-based space. Plant-based foods, especially proteins, are everywhere these days, so I’m excited to see how brands are continuing to innovate and build on consumer gaps in this space when it comes to things like taste, sustainability and nutrition. I think it will also be interesting to see how brands are talking about sustainability and where the upcycling trend is going.
Lori: With this being my first time attending, I’m really just hoping to soak it all in—which is a pretty lofty goal considering how HUGE this conference is.
Cherri: It is big—make sure you pack comfortable shoes! One thing I know I’ll spend some time on is exploring new ways and product executions that try to solve the age-old paradox of being truly great tasting and good-for-you. How are innovators trying to deliver the benefits consumers want without the tradeoffs they don’t?
Adam: That really is an evergreen tension, isn’t it? As you all know, besides being passionate about the food and beverage category, I also have a lot of interest and experience in the kids and young family space, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for products that break the tension Cherri is talking about in a way that achieves a true win-win for parents and their kids.
This has been great. I’m really looking forward to being there with all of you. Any last thoughts or other things you are looking forward to?
Lori: I just love the energy of in-person events, so I’m excited about being with my colleagues and clients in real life!
Cherri: I agree! I’m really looking forward to meeting up with friends and clients, new and old, as well as making new connections. I’m also excited to share everything about the show with the broader team at Seed. Well, everything except the samples—those might not last that long!
Adam: Ha ha! That’s the great part about having a full team of people there on the ground. We can explore as a group and bounce ideas off each other, but we can also divide and conquer when we want to cover more ground to maximize the knowledge and insights we bring back to share with our colleagues and clients.
Ashley: In addition to what you all are saying, I’m so looking forward to meeting the passionate people behind these trend-setting products and brands. I just know I’ll leave feeling creative, inspired and hungry for more.
Adam: Based on the number of samples Cherri has told us to expect, I assume that your “hungry for more” reference will be purely figurative in nature.