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What to Expect at Expo West


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As I’m getting ready to take off for the Natural Products Expo West show in Anaheim, Calif. later this week, Nielsen sent me a list of some of the trends to look out for on the show floor.

According to Nielsen, sustainable products will be a big hit this year. The trend towards natural products and wellness has been on the rise for some time now, but I’ve noticed consumer trends are also starting to really incorporate sustainability. Some of these qualities that are especially important to consumers, according to Nielsen, are: fair trade products; BPA-free products; products produced through sustainable farming methods; and products that prioritize animal welfare.

Among the natural products that are shining across store shelves and show a high natural share growth, Nielsen points to: herbal teas; vinegar and cooking wines; wholesome snacks; yogurt; and (surprisingly) soft drinks.

Ancient grains, according to my experience, have been some of the rock stars of the wellness category, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. According to Nielsen, ancient grains are doing really well in the ready-to-eat cereal category, and RTE Cereals with ancient grains have increased in dollar sales by double-digits over the last two years, up 26 percent from last year (representing $154 million in annual sales), despite the overall RTE cereal category declining 2 percent.

Plant-based proteins are also drawing in consumers and, according to Nielsen, vegetarian products and meat alternatives in the frozen and meat departments have grown 23 percent from last year and reach over a half billion in annual sales ($553 million).

I’m excited to hit the Natural Products floor and check out some of these trends for myself. Hopefully I won’t fill up on as much better-for-you beef jerky as I did at Expo East. 

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