Looking Ahead to Expo West 2019
85,000+ people are preparing to converge in Anaheim, California for Natural Products Expo West, where they’ll get a glimpse of the latest natural and organic offerings in the food, beverage, health and beauty categories.
Seed will be well-represented at this year’s event with Cherri Prince, Chris Faldetta, Ralph Solarski and Erin Mahorney all looking forward to being among those in attendance.
We were fortunate enough to catch up with this fabulous foursome to get their thoughts prior to their trip.
So, what made you decide to attend Expo West?
Cherri: This will be my 3rd year attending, and now I can’t imagine NOT going. Trends come alive at every turn. It’s one thing to read about a trend, but quite another to meet the creators, taste the products and hold the packaging in your own hands.
Erin: This will actually be my first trip to Expo West—but I’m certain it won’t be my last. It’s a mecca of the top leaders and thinkers in the natural and organic industry and, as this once-niche space becomes increasingly more mainstream, it’s absolutely imperative to stay on top of what’s happening now and—even more importantly—become aware of which spaces will be “hot” in years to come.
Chris: I agree, Erin! Plus, Expo West is a hotspot for big ideas. Having so many new products, emerging brands and passionate founders in one space—you can’t help but feel energized and inspired.
Ralph: With my focus on life sciences, I’m going to be zeroed in on nutraceuticals. There are always a lot of nutraceutical products at Expo West and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s trending and what’s new and different. It’s a really great place to learn about the advancements being made in natural vitamins, supplements and functional foods.
What trends will you be tracking?
Cherri: I’ve been noticing a transformation in the freezer aisle lately, with more fresh and natural brands and ingredients popping up. I’ll be interested to see what’s on the forefront there.
Chris: I’m interested in seeing how plant-based proteins are continuing to evolve across categories—and how brands are talking about them from a standard of identity standpoint.
Erin: That will definitely be interesting! Personally, of course I’ll have my eye out for interesting new flavors and ingredients, but I’ll also be paying close attention to packaging innovation—be it new structures or tech that create a more seamless shopping experience. I’m also interested in segment mergers—hybrid products, per say—that are tearing down barriers and breaking the conventions of what’s traditionally “allowed” in certain spaces.
Ralph: I’ll be taking a close look at the different product forms and delivery methods being used in the neutraceutical space. Companies are increasingly turning to diverse delivery systems like chewables, gummies, and ready-to-mix powders and liquids—so I’m excited to see what’s new there. Beyond that, I also expect to see innovative packaging, new ingredients and insightful clinical trial data that provides evidence for the benefits of nutraceuticals.
Which topics will get most of your time and attention?
Cherri: I’ll spend some time hunting for natural foods and beverages that look and taste great. I mean, I-gotta-have-you-now kind of great. Our reptilian brain wants pleasure, while our neocortex is more rationale—with self-talk like, “sure high protein, unsalted cricket chips sound great.” The products that are crafted to resolve that age-old paradox of being truly great tasting and truly good-for-you always get my attention.
Ralph: My primary goal at Expo West is to learn more about the exciting trends and innovation that are driving the successful growth of the nutraceutical industry. I know that these same trends will influence the broader life sciences space as well.
This has been great. Thanks for your time. Any last thoughts or other things you are looking forward to?
Cherri: I’m most looking forward to the moments and experiences that happen every year at Expo West that I just can’t predict—things like meeting an inspiring founder, connecting with long-lost friends and clients and unearthing new insights to inspire our team at Seed.
Erin: I’m looking forward to hanging out with the creators, the makers—those out there pouring their whole hearts into their passion and hustling to share it with the world. That energy is contagious and super fun to be around!
Chris: Okay, somebody has to say it—the samples! I’m an explorer at heart and there’s no better way to understand something than to see it, taste it, touch it and experience it for yourself.
Ralph: Me too, Chris! I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m looking forward to a lot of taste testing and finding some new favorite foods and snacks.
Chris: Ha ha! Sounds like Ralph and I might have to have a sample eating contest!
Ralph: And maybe a scavenger hunt for a natural antacid to go along with it!
Going to Expo West? Cherri, Chris, Ralph and Erin would love to connect with you there. Feel free to email or reach out to them via LinkedIn.
And be sure to follow Seed Strategy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more updates on our Seedlings’ adventures at Expo West.
Interested in gaining more natural knowledge? Check out our latest infographic, fueled by Seed’s Social Reality Digital Data Exploration, that takes a closer look at the influential power of natural claims, which products are driving the category’s growth and what “natural” means to consumers.
Adam Siegel is the Editor of The Accelerator and a Creative Director at Seed Strategy where he draws upon his diverse experience in advertising, research and innovation to craft breakthrough creative and winning concept copy.