March 5, 2015

Tails from Expo West Day 1

A few trends to report back from day one of Expo West in sunny Anaheim and the “hot new products” section:

Protein is hot−protein in everything from drinks like tea and smoothies, to protein powders you shake on food, protein powders especially for kids, for bro’s, or for women (and specifically not showcasing the number of grams on the front panel) to protein bars made from egg whites, which are surprisingly delicious. And apparently where the protein is sourced from is really important. New Zealand or Australian whey is the best because it’s non-GMO and grass fed. Who knew?

Functional products−should be no surprise, but lots of products are focusing on different need states. The brand Daily Serving was one of the most interesting, featuring a combo pack with two stacked containers−one with organic snack food and the other with cold pressed drinks with benefits to help you at various points of the day. Think recover, defend, focus, etc. Also, lots of functional products that highlight the use of few ingredients, and focusing on what the ingredients do for you; cardamon, turmeric and matcha being some of the hottest. “Enhanced by” herbs also hot−brands like Crude and UlivJava (for Martha Stewart) are just two using that claim.

Daily Serving

A wide range of packaging trends from really clean and simple, showing a sophisticated restraint, to others that are really cluttered and lack hierarchies of information or sound organizing principles. One kids line of chemical free products drew us in on cute but the chaotic hierarchy and overlapping packaging choices across categories resulted in a confusing mess (toothpaste in the same form factor and design as sunscreen with nothing to differentiate the two).

“Free from” is still a popular trend. Many gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free options. Non-GMO is also featured. We discovered a great non-GMO tomato sauce called Uncle Steve’s; the branding needs work but the product is ridiculously good, especially the arrabbiata.

“Back to basics” is really prominent. Lots of old world techniques and ingredients used in modern ways−we saw a lot of pickling, canning and ancient grains.

Reinforcing how busy people are, we saw a lot of kits. Gourmet cookie kits in fancy jars, cake mix in jars and even single serve premium oatmeal kits with various add-ins (coconut flakes, nuts, dried fruits).

Favorite product of the day: Hatch enjoys our roof top BBQ’s and the next one can’t be without Lillie’s Q mustard BBQ sauce. Really it was that good. Plus we liked how they hand dipped their bottle tops in wax for a handcrafted finish.

Lillies Q

Runner up for favorite: Rxbar might not be a great name but the product is TASTY. Only 6 good for you ingredients.

Least favorite: This was tough. Lots of contenders but the award today goes to a brand of chewable juice. Chewable juice you ask? Well that was our mistake, too. Cold pressed juice with finely chopped nuts and berries added to give it texture. Just say no to chewing your juice.

Oh, and the lion at our hotel says, “hi.”


Off to bowling!

Kat & Bonnie