Trends Seen at Natural Products Expo West 2019

By David Gauger

(Anaheim, California) – This March, nearly 90,000 people descended on the Anaheim Convention Center, all looking for something. For some, it was the next big food trend, for others, a health secret, and still others – healthy profits. The more than 3,600 Expo West exhibitors ranged from entrepreneurs with a dream to corporate giants getting into the natural/organic game. Here are a few key up-and-coming trends that stood out on the show floor.

The health benefits of cannabis. The marijuana plant continues to spark buzz as holistically healing and nourishing. This is still true even a decade after we branded and packaged Tempt Hemp Milk, a leading plant based dairy alternative. Now much of this growth is fueled by the nutraceutical, CBD and the trend toward cannabis legalization in key health zones like California, Washington and Colorado with claims of reducing anxiety, stress and muscle pain.

Keto and paleo diets. Likewise, Keto and Paleo diet products continue to build momentum. They range from plant-based desserts like Simply Delish, a line of vegan, non-GMO, lactose and sugar-free puddings and gels, to old fashioned beef jerkies.

Plant-based everything.Protein-packed on-the-go meals, such as green chickpea bowls by Vana Life Foods, another Gauger + Associates client, continue to be trending as well. Oat-based dairy alternatives led by Swedish brand, Oatly are seeing a plethora of new competition, including entries by Quaker, Califia Farms and Elmhurst.

The healthy microbiome. The importance of the microbiome to overall health is seeing an interesting parallel to the importance of environmental health and wellness through the practice of regenerative agriculture. This appears to be an emerging trend, which is connecting the micro with the macro, providing wellness for both body and planet. New Expo West exhibitors like Alive & Well exemplify this. Their varietal, organic olives are grown in Greece following regenerative agricultural practices. This reduces the use of water and promotes soil health, while encouraging the proliferation of probiotic microorganisms through natural fermentation. Regenerative agriculture is likely the most exciting trend coming out of the educational seminars, with even a certification program in the works from Regenerative Organic Certified.

While Expo West is known for trends ‘du jour’, it was impressive to see many make the leap from fads to long-term influences on nutrition, health and the environment. With so many of the mainstream CPG brands now with a seat at the table, these trends are moving from niche to middle America at lightning speed.

About David Gauger

As co-founder of Gauger + Associates, David has created brand positioning and messaging for some of the leading companies and organizations in the natural health and wellness space, including San-J International, Wallaby Organic, The Hain Celestial Group, Euromed, Traditional Medicinals, The Organic Trade Association, Atkins Nutritionals, Dr. Praeger’s, Seeds of Change and Barbara’s Bakery. His San Francisco-based agency is known for telling powerful brand stories through brand strategy and positioning, package design, advertising, public relations and digital marketing. Learn more at