3 Key Takeaways from Expo West 2024

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Wednesday, thousands of food and beverage industry leaders converged on the Anaheim Convention Center for Natural Products Expo West 2024 – a trade show displaying every natural or organic product one can imagine.

Throughout the countless booths at Expo West, a few common themes were apparent.

Consumers Are Keen for Clean Nutrition

With consumers as focused as ever on improving their health and wellness, clean diets including foods like whole fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins have gained momentum. The show floor at Expo West illustrated that movement.

Wise Bar, for example, displayed bars featuring 100% organic ingredients. The Colorado-based company’s products also boast non-GMO, vegan ingredients.

“I think it’s incredibly important to keep the ingredients clean and simple for the consumer – that’s something that (today’s) consumer is much more keen on,” Wise Bar CEO Josh Dominick said Wednesday.

“Being more conscientious of what you’re putting in your bodies is so much more than a trend – it’s a lifestyle, and it’s growing.”

Futuristic Nootropics & Children’s Products

Innovation has been on display all over the Anaheim Convention Center during the opening days of the trade show as brands unveiled products with an eye toward the future.

A prime example was found at Mindright’s booth, as the brand showcased nootropic snacks designed to support healthy minds. Nootropics, sometimes referred to as “smart drugs,” are a diverse group of medicinal substances that many believe improve human thinking and memory, according to the National Institutes of Health. Mindright’s products utilize mushroom roots to support brain function.

“I’ve found that, over the last year or so, people have familiarized themselves with the word nootropic or that category of ingredients. They want to uplift (their) mood,” said Nick Lazaris, Mindright’s marketing manager.

Meanwhile, Instant Vita displayed a product that’s a healthier-for-you oral liquid spray.

“We heard from children’s dentists to stop giving them those gelatin-filled gummies where the sugar sits on their teeth,” said Pete Mustich, Instant Vita’s managing partner, whose spray product is sweetened with monk fruit.

Sustainability Takes Center Stage

According to a recent survey by Specright, 71% of consumers said they plan to make more sustainable purchasing decisions in 2024, and many food and beverage brands are clamoring to meet that demand.

At Expo West, several brands offered environmentally friendly products. CLIF BAR displayed Chocolate Chip Energy Bars that the brand claims are made using 100% renewable energy in zero-waste, certified bakeries with climate-neutral business operations.

Meanwhile, Luker Chocolate made it clear that it aims to go beyond sustainability to make a social and economic impact in cocoa-producing regions with its chocolate items that include plant-based and functional ingredients.

The Colombian, family-owned chocolate manufacturer has been carbon-neutral across all owned operations since 2021. As part of those efforts, Luker achieved a reduction of 52% in refrigerant CO2 emissions in 2020-21, due to modifications made to chocolate production equipment.

Stay tuned to this space and our social media channels for more video and insight from Expo West 2024!