Top Trends from Natural Products Expo West 2023 

By: iTi Innovation

Natural Products Expo West 2023 may have come to a close, but the trends will remain with us throughout the year.  The innovation team at iTi Tropicals took a trip out to Expo to experience the show and see what was trending. From non-alcoholic mixers to health applications, new product applications exhibited at the show were plentiful.  

Here’s a look the top trends from Expo West :  

Tropical flavors are on the rise   

As consumer familiarity with exotic fruits continues to grow, so does the interest in products with such flavors.  Guava, Alphonso Mango, Coconut and Passion Fruit are flavors that are popping up in a wide range of products including crackers, mochi, cereal, ice cream, functional beverages, seltzer waters, smoothies, juice blends, and more. 

Limited number of ingredients 

As consumers demand for clean labels increases, companies are developing products that contain a limited number of ingredients.  A number of different products, from ice creams to beverages, are using a limited ingredient deck as a point of differentiation. 

Plant based milk alternatives 

Non-dairy milk alternatives continue to trend as companies continually look at improving current products and developing new products.  Whether a blend of non-dairy milk alternatives, a blend of non-dairy milk and functional ingredients, or a single ingredient non-dairy milk, plant based continues to trend.  

Plant Based and “Better for You” snacks continue to be popular trends.  

Snacks are often thought of as empty calories but offer permission to indulge.  “Better for you” snacks are trending because they tend to offer a nutrient boost that still tastes good but allows the consumer to feel better about consuming.  Many of the “better for you” snacks offered a benefit that traditional snacks don’t have, such as more protein, less sugar, lower calories, less ingredients, etc.  

Ready to drink coffee beverages 

Coffee continues to trend among consumers, especially ready to drink coffee drinks.  A number of products on the market include plant-based lattes, coffees with increased protein and/or functional ingredients, and traditional dairy based lattes.  Within the ready-to-drink coffee beverage trend, a new type of beverage emerged: Asian-Inspired coffees. A number of new products included Thai and Vietnamese coffee beverages.  

Functional ingredients 

Functional ingredients may be the most popular trend.  Many new products contained adaptogens, functional mushrooms, fiber, CBD or MCT oil and such ingredients were called out on the packaging. 

Natural energy drinks 

Energy drinks have been popular for quite some time, but many of them include ingredients that are not so natural.  To keep up with the changing consumer market, energy drinks that contain natural ingredients were on the rise.  Many of these products contained caffeine derived from green coffee and/or tea and limited the number of other additives in the beverages for a cleaner label. 

More vegetables  

Consumers are looking for ways to increase their vegetable intake and it is becoming easier for them to do so with new products on the market.  From puffed snacks and chips to pasta to smoothies and beverages, vegetables are popping up everywhere.  Spinach, cauliflower, carrots, and beets were among some of the popular vegetables used.  

Legumes and beans  

Legumes and beans are appearing in more types of products than they have before.  From puffed snacks to tortilla chips, to gluten-free pastas, legumes and beans are increasing protein and offering a gluten-free alternative.