We've powered up on nootropics, looked into our crystal ball and have seen the future. Gaze upon our predictions for this years show.
Keto Gets Quiet
We expect to see less KETO shouting and a shift towards low sugar and net-carb claims. 3 years ago we watched keto sweep over the consumer landscape like a tidal wave. First movers in DTC thrived and retailers brought keto products in droves. Yet over the last year Interact Brands has worked with several keto brands, repositioning them to outlast the falling keto craze. Our research has found that online searches for “keto” are declining, retailers are cooling on prioritizing the category and consumers find the term more polarizing than ever. While keto products won’t be going away, the way they’re positioned is changing. “Keto-friendly” is being used more frequently to soften its polarity, but ultimately sugar - still public enemy No. 1 - will be leveraged.
Rise of Real Plants
As consumers soften on plant-based meat, more companies will focus on embracing vegetables as they are. ExpoWest 2022 counted over 40 alt-meat companies and many wondered if consumer interest could sustain so many products. Since then, category growth has declined, well-backed brands like Ozo have shut down and consumer interest has cooled. Inversely we’re seeing a trend back towards embracing vegetables. According to a consumer trends survey by Coeffiecient Capital, American's that the #1 thing they want to consume more of is vegetables this year. Cauliflower pizzas like Milton's Craft Bakers continue to climb, brand like Wholly Veggie, Cajú Love and Actual Veggies are winning consumers with their plant-positive positioning. Even Chick-fil-A Restaurants made the wise decisions to forgo fake meat and launch a cauliflower sandwich instead.
All You Can Drink
Sober is the new cool but beware the folly of thinking any ready-to-drink(RTD) can be a successful alcohol alternative. Athletic Brewing Co., Hoplark and Recess are leaders in the non-alcoholic RTD space, each with a different offering and positioning. We’re betting Expo will see a dramatic rise in non-alcoholic beverages, but this is also where the caution begins. Understanding occasion, audience, function and flavor are critical in determining who will be successful and who will flop, because simply having something without alcohol in it isn't enough.
Gum Be Gone
Gums and other ingredients are being scrutinized and more companies will dig into being even "cleaner" as a differentiator. There’s a growing debate around carrageenan and other gums effects on the body. MALK Organics and Three Trees both tout their uber clean ingredients decks and vilify gums, while Califia Farms recently launched an organic almond milk sans gum. Sacred Serve and Culina Yogurt, two other alt-milk adjacent products, are also steering clear of gums. Similar to the debate around natural flavors, gums are being reexamined and we expect to see more noise around this at the show.
We are looking forward to another year at Natural Products Expo West. If you will be at the event, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org to say hi! We’re sure to be surprised beyond our predictions and look forward to sharing our post-conference observations. Be sure to keep an eye out for that update in the coming weeks… (or follow us on our Instagram and LinkedIn for real time updates).