Expo East, the sister show to Expo West, run by New Hope Network, is the destination for CPG brands, marketers, and the like in the second half of the year to see what’s new and trending in the industry. The Konnect team ventured to the Philadelphia Convention Center to walk this year’s show and in addition to connecting with our clients and friends, we captured insights into the natural products trends – what is staying and what to be on the lookout for in the coming year in the snack and beverage world. While better-for-you products continue to grow, four other trends are emerging as prominent players.
Top Trends that We Saw on the Expo East Show Floor
The rise of non-alcoholic products
The ‘Sober Curious’ movement has prompted the rise of new non-alcoholic brands creating innovative flavors to match a boozy-packed drink, without the side effects of alcohol. And from what the data suggests, this is no fad, non-alcoholic options are here to stay. A recent NielsenIQ survey found that 22% of consumers said they were cutting back on consuming alcohol for their health and wellness. From alcohol-free canned cocktails to spirits alternatives, expect to see more booze-less options in the grocery aisle, convenience stores, restaurants, and bars.
Ferment your way to better health
For years we’ve been educated by brands and the media about the benefits of maintaining and improving our gut health. Probiotics— live bacteria found in some foods— came on the scene and we’ve been adding more yogurt and kombucha (like our favorite Remedy Drinks!) into our diet ever since. Now it’s time to add to our probiotic knowledge and embrace a new type of trend to enhance our gut health— fermented foods.
While there is some overlap between foods containing both probiotics and fermentation, fermented foods have undergone a fermentation process, which involves being broken down by yeasts and bacteria. Fermented foods are most often recognized in sauerkraut (we love Cleveland Kitchen’s!) and pickled foods. CPG brands have seized on the opportunity to provide easier access to fermented foods through packaged pickled beets and garlic, drinkable kimchi, and snackable pickles.
Asian flavors gain snacking attention
From matcha to Sriracha, Asian-led flavors have left a culinary impact on consumers. At this year’s show, we saw new AAPI-founded brands entering the scene and other brands infusing Asian flavors into their recipes for a blended result.
Matcha still remains prevalent as the most popular ingredient in Expo East’s participating CPG brands, but yuzu, black sesame, kimchi, and mochi are gaining speed in drinks, snacks, and indulgent desserts. While still a young category, it’s encouraging to see consumers open up to these bold and spicy flavors and we hope to see more AAPI-founded brands at future shows.
Minority-owned brands given the spotlight
This year we were invigorated to see the ever-growing number of BIPOC-founded companies at the show. New Hope Network in partnership with Project Potluck sponsored rows of booths in the Hot Products hall highlighting BIPOC-led brands at this year’s show. As one of the most packed halls, it’s clear that retail buyers and show attendees have an appetite for investing in this space and spotlighting the innovation these brands are offering.
It’s never too late to begin thinking about how to make your mark at Expo West in March 2023. With 20+ Expo shows under our belt, Konnect’s rockstar team of CPG marketers and publicists can make a splash for your company through media and influencer relations ahead of and during the show, staffing a booth, or cultivating a brand experience such as a happy hour on the show floor to catch the attention of investors, buyers, and new potential customers.
Interested in learning more? We’re a top PR agency for beverage brands and food brands and offer a wide array of digital marketing services. Konnect with us!