UPDATE: Organizers of Expo West 2020 have postponed the show due to concerns about CVD-19. The Seed team is looking forward to attending the event on the rescheduled date.
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.
We were fortunate enough to catch up with this terrific trio to get their thoughts prior to their trip.
What made you decide to attend Expo West?
Cherri: After attending four years in a row, I can’t imagine NOT attending. If you work in the world of food and beverage innovation, this is a “can’t miss” experience. From walking the “basement” and talking to the “dreamers” and inventors there, to seeing what the “big guys” are up to on the main floor, I always walk away inspired and feeling in-tune with the future of the industry.
Chris: Expo West is one of my favorite events because it’s more than 550,000 square feet of pure inspiration! It’s a great way to get a read on what’s being launched, what trends and ingredients are gaining momentum and, really, just to immerse in the broader landscape beyond any one category.
Erin: So true, Chris! This will be my second trip to Expo West and ever since I got a taste last year, I’ve been looking forward to going back. It’s a mecca of the top leaders and thinkers in the industry and one of the best ways, if not THE best way, 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.
Why do you think that it’s important for Seed to be there?
Erin: As a brand strategy and innovation agency, illuminating a path forward for our clients requires us to be inspired and remain aware of what’s out there—and what’s coming—ourselves. We are constantly reading up on trends and new products and getting out into stores, but you simply cannot beat attending a live event of this scale.
Cherri: Erin is absolutely right. Our clients come to us with aggressive revenue growth ambitions and we must be equipped with insight on what’s on the leading edge of food and beverage innovation. 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. But more than an intellectual or fact-finding mission, we meet and listen to heart-felt origin stories of products and categories that keep us connected to real unmet needs and tensions.
What trends will you be tracking?
Chris: I like to go in with an open mind, so there’s not necessarily one thing I’m focused on at the moment, but I will say that I am interested to see how the CBD space and plant-based proteins are evolving.
Erin: Personally, I’ll have my eye out for how the trends we saw at the show last year are continuing to evolve and take on new meanings. For example, plant-based ingredients and sustainability practices were huge last year and, frankly, have almost become table-stakes in some spaces. I’m curious to see how these continue to evolve as they move through the adoption curve. Additionally, I always love to see the unexpected crossovers —those hybrid products that are tearing down barriers and breaking the conventions of what’s traditionally “allowed” in certain spaces. I’ve come to expect the unexpected and can’t wait to see what surprising combinations and partnerships emerge this year.
Cherri: I actually have three big trends I’ll be actively keeping an eye on.
First, is what I call, “packaging in a world that hates plastic.” It’s hard to reconcile natural foods that are organic, clean label or non-GMO, but still served up in single-use plastic. I’ll be curious to see packaging innovations that address this tension and to talk to industry leaders about how they are moving to more sustainable packaging.
My second trend is “Bone Deep Beauty.” Collagen was everywhere last year, especially in beverages, broths and supplement forms, but where else might it show up next? And what will be the next big thing promising skin health benefits?
Finally, there’s the shift from “Immune Defense” to “Immune Offense.” Gut health was big last year so I will expect to see more of that, but I’ll be curious if additional products talk more holistically about supporting a healthy microbiome. And with the emergence of the coronavirus, it makes me wonder about the long-lasting effects of this health crisis. How might we not just defend our immune systems, but actively strengthen them?
This has been great. Thanks for your time. Any last thoughts or other things you are looking forward to?
Erin: I’m looking forward to forging new relationships. We had the chance to interact with so many inspiring entrepreneurs, inventors and brand leaders at the show last year who are really making a difference in their industries—many of whom we’ve stayed in touch with since!
Chris: Like Erin said, it’s always great to meet new people and catch up with old friends, so I’ll be trying to squeeze in both while I’m there!
Cherri: Similar to Chris and Erin, I’m 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!
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 VP, Creative at Seed Strategy where he draws upon his diverse experience in advertising, research and innovation to craft breakthrough creative and winning concept copy.