8 Trends from Natural Products Expo East 2017

Last weekend, we took a trip to Baltimore for Natural Products Expo East 2017, where hundreds of exhibitors came out from all over the country (and, in some cases, the world) to show the industry what they have to offer. While events like this are a magnet for unique, one-of-a-kind products, there were still some emerging trends that caught our attention. Here are eight trends that we noticed beginning to sweep the natural foods category:

Alternative Ingredients for Special Diets

 

 

Can’t have dairy? Fronana and Revolution Gelato are here to make sure that you can still enjoy a creamy, frozen treat. Can’t have meat? Jackfruit is finally coming into its own as a remarkably meat-like option – the samples of BBQ pulled jackfruit from the Jackfruit Company were practically indistinguishable from chicken or pork. Can’t have eggs, wheat, fish, milk, soy, shellfish, peanuts, or tree nuts? The dietitian behind Crunchy Kitchen feels your pain. After developing severe allergies following the birth of her daughter, she and her husband developed a line of wraps and waffles that feature plantains as a primary ingredient and are free of the top eight allergens.

Kombucha

 

While kombucha has been rapidly growing in popularity as a bottled beverage, we weren’t anticipating the sheer volume of kombucha brands present at the expo. Flavored with everything from lavender to cola, we are getting far more varieties of the fermented tea than we’ve ever seen before. If the expo is any indicator of what’s to come, we could soon see kombucha move out of the niche health space and expand even further into the mainstream.

Sap Drinks

 

 

With the demand for natural sweeteners continuing to grow, beverages that feature ingredients like maple and honey are taking off. Maple also pairs well with fruit, giving producers a wide range of options for flavor combinations.

 

Nuts and Seeds

 

 

The rhetoric around nut allergies is changing, and it’s probably not a coincidence that we are now seeing more and more products featuring nuts. For those whose systems can handle them, nuts are a very healthy snack that can be eaten raw or, increasingly, used as an alternative to dairy.

 

Organic Eggs

 

 

One of the more surprising trends that we noticed was a push for organic eggs. While several brands were selling eggs in traditional cartons, some brands are highlighting the specialness of their product by using alternative packaging, like bags.

 

RTD Coffee

 

 

With McDonald’s selling bottled McCafe drinks, the market is clearly embracing ready-to-drink coffee. Most brands are attempting to differentiate their product in some way, whether in packaging (ie., selling in cans rather than bottles), flavor profile (ie., removing the bitterness for a softer taste), or properites (ie., combining the coffee with an energy drink).

 

Squeezable Pouches

 

 

It’s arguable that brands like Yoplait pioneered this area years ago with products like Go-Gurt, but with the success of GoGo Squeeze (both with consumers and with valuable corporate partners), many more brands are coming out with drinkable products in pouches. Some brands like Once Upon a Farm have developed more traditional products like squeezable fruit blends and puddings, while others are using the packaging for more unusual snacks. Serenity Kids, for example, is using the packaging for savory meat-and-vegetable pastes.

 

Tea

 

 

Possibly due in part to the popularity of kombucha, tea also made a major splash at the show. Instagram favorite Fit Tea was there, as was Moonshine Tea (which partners with children’s charities), and Cusa Tea. Like the RTD coffee category, tea brands are setting themselves apart by offering some kind of added value. Fit Tea is for dieting and detoxing, for example, and Cusa Tea is a convenient choice as a premium instant tea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Designs We Love: Natural Food Packaging

As more and more people realize the benefits of fueling their bodies with natural, organic food, more companies are also realizing they need to update their natural food packaging to better appeal to a mass audience. Each of the companies we have highlighted below has found a way to create unique, out-of-the-box packaging designs for the health-conscious consumer.

Harmoniannf-1

Harmonian offers natural food products with a radical line of elegant natural food packaging. When creating the packaging design, Harmonian wanted something that was as innovative as the products themselves. The packaging was designed by award-winning Greek design studio, mousegraphics, and is simple, but truly one-of-a-kind. They wanted to focus on using space in their design and took inspiration from Lucio Fontana’s Tagli (slash) pieces.

Gaeanatural food packaging

Gaea natural fruit bars take the unique visually striking packaging to the next level. The packaging for each fruit bar is simple, direct, and shows exactly which fruit you will be enjoying. And with only 4-6 natural ingredients in each bar, the fruit itself is the main selling point of the bar. Design studio mousegraphics was tasked with using a “strikingly minimalist” approach and took the packaging one step further by creating unique display stands, which can be punched out around the fruit.

Pipcornnatural food packaging

The unique Pipcorn packaging was designed by Noah Collin and Freddy Taylor. The organic, hulless popcorn is housed in simple hand-stamped paper bags that emphasize the homemade approach of Pipcorn. It was inspired by 1850’s wooden, hand painted signage and the traditional brown paper grocery bag.

Rahal Farms Organic Eggsnatural food packaging

Rahal Farms Organic Eggs are some of the best free-range farm fresh eggs you can get. To reflect the unmatched quality, they turned to Anderson Design Group for unique packaging that would not appear too “earthy”. They utilized colors, lettering, and etched illustrations to create an upscale vintage style design that wraps around the carton. Each carton also tells a story of how happy the chickens are to make consumers feel even better about what they’re eating. While the outer packaging is eye-catching, the egg carton itself is also carefully planned. The recycled carton features a bright teal color so that it can stand out on the shelf. The packaging is also made with recycled paper to further their natural approach.

Munk Packnatural food packaging

The Munk Pack packaging was designed by creative agency Motto. It is the first every ready-to-eat Oatmeal Fruit Squeeze, but the packaging still feels familiar enough to entice first-time customers. It can appeal to both children and adults with the colorful, simple packaging. The branding also focuses on the friendly icon, an adventurous chipmunk.