The world’s largest industry trade show for natural, organic, and healthy products took place in Baltimore, Md., on September 13-16 and the ForceBrands team was on the show’s floor networking, meeting people, and observing the latest industry trends.

“There’s always a good vibe at Expo East because it doesn’t feel as hectic as its larger sister event, Expo West,” Eva Scofield, a Client Strategist at ForceBrands, said of the three-day event. “You can spend more time at a booth and have more intimate, meaningful conversations ― many of which result in future partnerships ― because the crowd isn’t as large.”

We chatted with Scofield, who works with companies of all sizes to help provide structure and organization to their teams, and recapped Natural Products Expo East. Read on to discover some of the best insights from the show from our resident expert.

1. Kombucha Is Still Surging
Even more companies are hitting the market, which creates a need for deeper innovation in flavor profiles, making it more interesting for consumers.

2. Better-for-You Frozen Options
There were a lot of heat-and-serve products that are delving into more adventurous territory. I tried these delicious cool hummus “pods” from The Modern Pod Co. that were frozen, half-dollar-sized bites that you heat and serve.

3. Tons of Products for Kids
Kids’ products are becoming more popular as the market proves viable; it’s interesting to see brands walk the line between advertising to parents and simultaneously appealing to kids’ tastes.

4. Pet Food 
As people become more aware of how food is produced and consumed, they extend that knowledge to their pets. Consumers are helping to create a market for less processed, healthier pet foods.

5. Health Water Is Losing Steam
You have the major, well-established players in the game such as Essentia and smaller “health” water companies might be backing off in the space.

Scofield also noted some other popular trends were losing momentum.

“There’s less charcoal products,” Scofield said. “People are slowly beginning to realize the lack of efficacy in consuming this ingredient and moving on.”

Aside from walking the expansive trade show floor and sampling new products, Scofield used the opportunity to connect with people.

“It’s fantastic for networking,” she said. “And of course it’s always great to see your clients.”

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