5 Must-Read Takeaways from Expo West 2021 | The Garage Group

5 Must-Read Takeaways from Expo West 2021

Last month, the world’s largest natural, organic, and healthy products event, Expo West, was held virtually. Leaders from wellness-focused data tech company SPINS shared the 5 Signs of Continued Growth within the natural and organic industry in a recent post. We share all five here, and step into each with recent executional examples from CPG brands and retailers. 


5 Signs of Continued Growth in Natural Products:

  1. Natural and Wellness Products Continue To Lead Growth

“Natural and wellness make up a $187 billion market that is growing at 12.5%.”  

The explosive growth of Sprouts Farmers Market exemplifies and reflects the 12+% growth of the industry. The company opened 22 stores during 2020, and plans to open 20 more this year with smaller, more efficient formats. It responded to the growing needs of consumers by not only adding locations, but also leaning into an omnichannel strategy and giving consumers options to shop in store or online for either pick up or delivery. And more than one third of the retailer’s growth was spurred by the addition of over 5,000 SKUS, both private label and branded, which gave wellness-minded shoppers access to more products in the category and via multiple channels.


  1. The Future of Natural Retail Is Digital and Brick-and-Mortar

“Natural shoppers are tech-friendly, eager for convenience, and committed to spending their dollars at outlets that deliver a specialized experience they’re not getting at the big box stores.”

Madison Reed founder Amy Errett launched the chemical-free, DIY, eCommerce hair color business in 2013 and disrupted the category. Six years later, the startup began opening Color Bar salons to reach consumers who don’t want to color their hair themselves and do want natural, cruelty-free coloring solutions. And beyond Madison Reed continues to innovate its brick-and-mortar footprint to meet consumer needs with the launch of Mini Bars, retail-only outlets for consumers who want an in-person consultation before they buy – whether for the first time or to fine tune a hue adjustment. 


  1. Wellness Attributes Are (Still) Booming

“A wide range of products with wellness attributes and certifications are growing at much higher rates in terms of dollar growth.” 

Demonstrating that wellness attributes extend beyond physical products, exercise and media brand Peloton has recently added a Corporate Wellness offering which gives partnering companies an avenue to offer wellness solutions and benefits to their employees through discounted or provided classes and access to Peloton support teams and coaches. 


  1. Nutrient Density Matters to Shoppers

“Natural shoppers have health on their minds, and when given the chance they will opt to buy foods that are both flavorful and that pack a nutritional punch.”

Quintuple growth in 2020 is what snack maker RIND realized as consumers gobbled up their range of dried fruits which feature the vitamin-rich rind, or peel. The brand’s founder took inspiration from his great-grandmother who insisted on using rinds, stems, roots, and seeds in recipes to maximize the nutritional value and minimize food waste. Those generations-old practices are especially relevant today; and RIND has recently received over $6 million in funding to help fuel its consumer-driven growth and aspirational sales goals of $1 billion.


  1. [Frozen] Meals at Home Continue to Rise

“One winner in the rise of at-home meals is the frozen aisle. Natural product growth is consistently outpacing conventional growth across the store, and it’s true in many frozen categories.”

The pandemic has fueled innovation in the frozen aisle as consumers stayed home more and both stocked up on meals and snacks as well as sought convenient solutions which required minimal planning. And new launches destined for consumers’ freezers aren’t limited to adults. Raised Real launched its line of flash frozen baby food for all day parts as a direct-to-consumer subscription offering. Not only has the brand continued to add SKUs, six of its pre-portioned finger foods are now available at Target; and the startup’s success is inspiring additional entrants, including Gerber, in the kids’ frozen meals category. Raised Real’s growth was fostered by an investment from Schwan’s and seems destined for continued growth as it has just been acquired by Once Upon A Farm

Natural & Organic Products Expo West is slated to return to an in-person event in Anaheim in March 2022. We look forward to continuing to take insights and key takeaways from the event to help our BigCo clients remain agile in ever-evolving landscapes.


How might your brand leverage consumer desires within the natural & organic category by tapping into these trends? At The Garage Group, we equip BigCos with the entrepreneurial mindset and the tools to de-risk ideas and build innovation pipelines to grow amidst uncertainty. Get in touch with us >>>

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