The Future of Natural Products: Key Insights from Expo West 2024

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Gillian Sagandoy
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This year’s Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA, was a vibrant showcase of innovation, sustainability, and flavor. Ingredients Online was thrilled to be part of the conversation and connect with industry leaders, visionaries, and change-makers. As a B2B marketplace dedicated to connecting buyers and sellers of bulk and wholesale raw ingredients, we were on the lookout for emerging trends that are shaping the future of natural products. Here are the top four insights we gathered from the event:

Get a Taste of Global Flavors and Spices
One of the most exciting trends we observed was the expanding interest in global flavors and spices. Consumers are increasingly seeking authentic, bold, and diverse taste experiences from around the world. This enthusiasm is driving demand for ingredients that bring these flavors to life, such as exotic spices, herbs, and culinary traditions that offer a journey through taste. This trend not only enriches the consumer’s palette but also opens doors for innovative product development and cross-cultural collaborations. Global flavors and spices were showcased in products like Simpli’s Peruvian Spice Salt Blend which combines Peruvian sourced salt with Huacatay, panca pepper, yellow pepper, cumin, and garlic. Another standout product was Fly By Jing’s Chengdu Crunch which is a crunchy Chinese chili condiment with dried chili pepper, garlic, Sichuan pepper, seaweed powder, and mushroom powder.

Don’t Forget the Nutrients
A standout observation from Natural Products Expo West 2024 was the intentional fortification of products with key nutrients to enhance nutritional value. Manufacturers are increasingly focusing on not just the source and sustainability of ingredients but also on their nutrient profiles. From essential vitamins and minerals to innovative additions like adaptogens and probiotics, products are being designed with wellness in mind. This trend towards nutrient-dense superfoods reflects a deeper understanding of consumer health needs and a commitment to meeting them, ensuring that the food of the future is not only delicious and sustainable but nourishing as well. A key example of this was Wise Bar’s Lemon Ginger bar which contains functional mushrooms cordyceps, ashwagandha, lion’s mane, and MCT. Similarly, One Bite’s Pistachio Protein Bar features hydrolyzed fish collagen, blueberry powder, and inositol.

Plant-Based is Still Growing
The plant-based sector shows no signs of slowing down. At Expo West, it was evident that plant-based products continue to evolve and diversify. Among the myriad of plant-based innovations, mushroom products stood out prominently, captivating attendees with their versatility and health benefits. From meat alternatives to wellness supplements, mushrooms are being hailed not only for their unique flavors and textures but also for their nutritional profiles rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This ongoing expansion is not just about offering alternatives; it’s about redefining the future of food with sustainability, health, and ethics at its core. MyForest Foods MyBacon brings bacon to the plant-based table with key ingredient organic mushroom mycelium. Konscious Foods turned heads with their line of Plant-Based Sushi Rolls made with organic tapioca syrup, seaweed, pea protein, turmeric, and organic monk fruit extract.

Organic is the Norm
What was once a niche market has now become the standard: organic ingredients are increasingly becoming the norm. This shift reflects the growing consumer demand for products that are not only healthy and nutritious but also produced in a way that is environmentally friendly and free from synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. The prominence of organic products at Expo West underscores the industry’s commitment to meeting these consumer expectations and driving forward a healthier, more sustainable food system.

Natural Products Expo West 2024 was a melting pot of ideas, innovation, and inspiration. The trends observed—global flavors and spices, nutrient-packed foods, plant-based growth, and the normalization of organic products—highlight a future that is flavorful and sustainable. At Ingredients Online, we are excited to facilitate connections within this dynamic industry, supporting buyers and sellers in navigating these trends and contributing to a healthier planet.