8 Food and Beverage Trends at Expo West

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

8 Food and Beverage Trends at Expo WestThis show was crazy – some 3,000 brands and 80,000 people converged in Anaheim, CA recently for the annual  natural products extravaganza. There were several trends showcased, all of which are making their way to us through retailers. And, congrats to all the brands that keep changing the food we eat for the better.

One trend that made me happy was the absence of artificial sweeteners, like saccharin and aspartame. Most companies are switching to natural sugars like dates, honey, maple syrup, agave, and fruit purees. I tested products all day long and I can assure you – they were delicious!

Matcha. Yummy.

One habit I picked up at the show was matcha – energy without the shakes. As soon as I returned to Kansas City I ordered a case of taika Matcha Latte and MatchaKo lemonade. Millennials and Gen Zers are drifting away from caffeine and looking for products that provide the buzz without the jitters.

Back to Basics

Many products are moving back to basics. Aren’t we all tired of picking up a product in the grocery store that has 25 ingredients, most of which we cannot pronounce? Why not just have fruit in a jar, instead of the product being jammed with sugar and laboratory ingredients.


8 Food and Beverage Trends at Expo WestNostalgia was big. Remember all the foods your mom used to buy or cook for you as a kid? They’re back and tapping into those fond memories. Remember Neapolitan ice cream, chocolate sauce and zucchini bread? Brands are having fun exploring and recreating experiences.

NABs, Wine and Spirits

Non-alcoholic beverages have come a long way and were on display everywhere at the show. My favorite Gia and Seedlip dominated, but I was also introduced to many small brands that are emerging. Wine, craft beer – even Guinness was there with a dark beer. Spirits, ready to drink beverages with adaptogens to manage stress and restore balance – even amaro’s. The N/A beverage movement got its start in the natural channel and continues to thrive as evidenced by the show.

I must admit the show, so many people, the traffic in LA and parking were something I had never experienced before, but I can’t wait to go back next year!

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