Five New Trend Spaces from Natural Product Expo East 2018

September 26th, 2018

This year’s Natural Product Expo East Show in Baltimore featured countless new natural products launches. Many of the product launches continued in the same trend direction as the trends we highlighted earlier this year in our Expo West report, with more entrants in the kids, sustainability and vegan cheese spaces, to name a few.

In addition to seeing more traction in each of the spaces we outlined earlier in the year, here are five new spaces that continue to garner more product development support:

Fresh Take on Freezer Foods. While the old stigma of frozen foods was that they were processed, the next generation of frozen foods has flipped that paradigm to use flash-frozen to their advantage, offering less processed options that last longer than fresh refrigerated.

  1. Path of Life Brands – With an entire line of ready-to-cook frozen meals, Path of Life brands has brought the “fresh” aspect back to freezer meals. With their simple, wholesome and nutritious frozen meals and sides, Path of Life is making dinner time easier for moms everywhere.
  2. Eat Great Pizza – With gourmet toppings like Wild Mushroom and Classic Margherita, this frozen pizza company is redefining what consumers think of frozen pizza. Gone are the days of rubbery cheese and tough crusts. These pizzas are hand-tossed, par-baked and made with the best ingredients around.
  3. Foundry Foods Wildscape – This Nestle Incubator company features clear, reusable and recyclable packaging along with whole food ingredients that deliver on transparency well.

Vegan Queso. In our Expo West trend report from earlier this year, we highlighted the expansion of vegan cheese. That still continues, with extra traction in the queso area. Vegan queso takes something that feels like junk food/”off-limits” and makes it more “whole food” in the natural consumer’s eyes.

  1. Siete – This traditionally grain-free tortilla and tortilla chip company, launched queso dips at this year’s Expo East. The Queso is made with cashews and other real food ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and coconut milk powder, and comes in two varieties: Spicy Blanco and Mild Nacho. Both varieties have no added sugars or starches, and are grain free, gluten free, dairy free, vegan and paleo-friendly.
  2. Plant Based Pantry – With three queso flavors: Nacho, Green Chile, and Spicy, this vegan catering company turned queso company, packs ½ lb of veggies into each jar of queso.
  3. Cece’s Veggie Co Shells & Cheez Butternut Squash with Organic Vegan Cheddar Cheez – While not exactly queso, this product premiere features a creamy “cheez” sauce that stakes the claim as the first organic vegan “cheese” sauce for pasta on the market.

Mushrooms. Flavorful, umami mushrooms are peaking in consumer interest because of their adaptogenic benefits, along with nutrient density. Additionally, mushrooms are gaining popularity in the meat alternative space because their texture can be close to meat.

  1. Shrooms Crispy Mushroom Snack – Thick cut, hand-picked mushroom “chips” that are high in minerals and Vitamins D & B. Ranging in flavor from Smoky Barbecue, to Mediterranean Sea Salt, to Pizza Slice.
  2. Four Sigmatic Drinking Mushrooms – With benefits like helping you relax, be well, energize and support productivity, drinking mushrooms have become a trend to follow. Four Sigmatic mixes mushrooms with superfoods to create mushroom coffees, mushroom hot cocoas and matcha.
  3. Pan’s Mushroom Jerky – Helping bridge the gap between carnivore’s and a more plant-based lifestyle, this mushroom jerky is giving plant eaters a plant-based alternative to jerky. Pan’s Mushroom Jerky is vegan, gluten-free, paleo friendly and a rich source of fiber and vitamin D.

Pumpkin & Pumpkin Seed. Pumpkin seed is growing in popularity as source of plant-based protein, showing up in bars and some smoothie mixes because it’s nutrient rich and contains the necessary amino acids. We’re also including pumpkin flour here because as another example of sustainability in the natural food space.

  1. Health Warrior Pumpkin Seed Bars – Health Warrior pushed beyond chia, into pumpkin seeds, with sweet SKUs, and even savory honey cracked pepper with turmeric.
  2. Glean Goodness Pumpkin Flour – Glean Goodness gives “ugly” veg that would normally be discarded a second chance by turning it into flour.
  3. Sprout Living Pumpkin Seed Powder – Pumpkin Seed is 100% pure, single ingredient powder made from cold-pressed, nutrient-rich pumpkin seeds. It is ultra-clean, entirely hypoallergenic and a perfect source of plant protein.

Cricket Protein. With the rise in awareness about sustainable protein sources (especially when it comes to traditional animal protein sources), cricket protein is rising in popularity. To make the same amount of protein, crickets require a tiny fraction of the water that cows, chickens, and pigs require and emit 1% of the greenhouses gases that cows do, making this a very attractive protein source.

  1. Crickstart – With bars, crackers and smoothie mixes, this Canadian company is taking cricket as an ingredient to the next level. With added benefits like being a good source of B12, Magnesium and Iron, these products can be considered a well-rounded snack.
  2. Cricket Protein Bar – Protein bars made with 100% cricket protein, combined with only real food ingredients, formulated by Michelin-star rated chefs. Available in flavors like Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry Vanilla and Banana Bread.
  3. Flourish Farm Vermont – 100% cricket protein powder, whole crispy crickets, dog and cat chews with tasty cricket protein, and Flourish Farm apparel for your whole tribe.

Renee’s Pick: Peckish Eggs – Peckish makes snacking on eggs on-the-go a breeze, and tasty! A package contains two eggs and a crunchy topping. Varieties include Eggs & “Rancheros,”” Eggs & “Maple Waffles,” Eggs & “Fried Rice,” Eggs & “Salt & Pepitas,” and Eggs & “Everything.” I think the packaging will have strong stopping-power with consumers, and that they’ll appreciate the whole food, high protein and high flavor option for active lives.

Molly’s Pick: Good Catch – This alternative form of seafood was talked about a TON at Expo West, but actually made its debut at Expo East. With tuna salads, tuna rolls and tuna sandwiches all made from plant-based “tuna.” I am so impressed by the company’s commitment to making a product that looks, tastes and feels like the real thing.

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