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Trend Report: EXPO West 2019

Trend Report: EXPO West 2019

by lizrose • April 29

Expo West 2019 attracted over 86,000 attendees from 136 countries. We go to support our clients, connect with old friends, meet new friends, and see what's fresh.

Here's a snapshot of what caught our eye.

While wellness, sustainability, and ethics are hardly new in the natural products industry, most brands at this year's EXPO were more explicit about the fact that the consumer mindset has shifted. Consumers are voting with their dollars and they understand that their choices make a difference. They look for shared values with brands, not for brands to merely share values. We are in an era of disruption and brands need to be that catalyst for change.


Big companies are thinking beyond sustainability. Regenerative agriculture holistic farming practices supporting biodiversity, sequestering carbon in the soil, holding groundwater and building topsoil–was a headliner. Companies like General Mills are partnering with organic farmers to produce "limited edition products" grown on farms advancing regenerative practices.


CBD is being touted as a magical elixir. This cure-all can now be found in everything from bath bombs to acne creams to pharmaceuticals. Some say that CBD drinks will be a wine replacement.


CBD is not the only natural supplement that has gained popularity– mood management products and ingredients that help you to manage your lifestyle are coming onto the scene. Adaptogens such as mushrooms are being used as stress-relievers and to boost the immune system. Venturing further into the wild, you can expect to see products containing lion's mane and turkey tail powders.


Some people are nuts for a variety of nuts. Keep your eye out for new unique nut and seed butter entering the market. It's not just almond butter; it's watermelon seeds, tiger nuts, pistachios, black sesame, and hemp seeds.


Overall we noticed an elevation of good design across categories. New brands are entering the market with impactful and memorable branding that supports company principles or shared value in the lives of consumers. These designs are building an emotional connection.

These are 11 trends that we pull out from our collective observation.

1. CBD is the New Rosé

- From vape to topical to drinks to supplements.

- CBD Natural offers different ways to benefit from CBD, even though benefits are vague.

- Recess and Garden of Life push the idea of CBD as a wine replacement.

2. Get your daily dose of stress relief.

- Mood Management goes mainstream.

- Supplement to mental health, not physical.

- Olly offers functional benefits for every part of your day.

- WellWell creates graphic cues for emotive benefits.

- Herb Pharm offers a portable Relief.

3. Trust your gut.

Microbiome is everything.

- From the gut up. Gut connection and Restore create optimal health starting from the gut.

- Aunt Fannie's introduces microbiome with friendly design.

- Smartypits promotes the use of prebiotics in unexpected places.

4. Plant-based Loud & proud

- Plant-based in the new apple pie = all good.

- Strong Roots offers plant-based food for your lifestyle.

- Ayala's Herbal Water, H2OPS, and Sunwink offer more plant profiles in the beverage category.

- Plant-based protein is growing in the fitness category.

- O'dang Hummus and Julia's Tahini redefine condiments & spreads.

5. Moove over cow's milk

- Non-dairy is the new normal.

- Going beyond beverages, So Delicious, Daiya, and Kite Hills introduce new kinds of non-dairy desserts.

- Three Trees and Elmhurst use sourcing story, simple ingredients, unique structures.

- Probiotic & prebiotic have taken over the non-dairy space.

6. For Kids, By Kids

- Quality of illustration = quality of products.

- True colors shining through Made Good's packaging.

- Real talk with kids. Kashi co-creates a new product line with kids.

7. Home safe home

- Aunt Fannie's introduces family safe & environmentally friendly products.

- From Tide to Downy; big brands go environmentally friendly.

- Hello, plant-based products go minimal.

8. The Rise of Regenerative Agriculture

- No more hiding. Elevate the issue.

- Soil is our common ground. Megafood communicates its commitment through packaging.

- General Mills; big brands making big impact.

9. The future of packaging is sustainable

- Sustainable & multi-purpose. Stasher creates replacements for plastic bag.

- The rise of bamboo & sugar cane as replacements for plastics.

- Fully designed compostable packaging.

10. Brilliant colors

- Pop Art Pop Corn's design as expression, not communication.

- Natalie's Juice and Nuun communicate taste & benefit through colors.

- Bare Republic– from sun-protection to self-expression.

- Lesser Evil shows the whimsical ways to wellness.

11. Business changing the world

- Patagonia Provisions saves the planet through food offering.

- Gaia Herbs connects us to the soil.

- Enjoy Life democratizes information.

- Honest Tea gains trust through transparency.

Our brands in the wild.

Many of our clients had a strong and growing presence at the EXPO West 2019

To receive the full detailed trends report, send us an email [email protected]