Last week’s Natural Products Expo, Expo East was the last one – EVER – as New Hope sunsets the natural foods event and rolls out a new, smaller-scale event called Newtopia Now. I received the news as I left NYC to travel to Philadelphia and felt a little sad and sentimental as I recalled my many years at the show.
As a women’s wellness influencer and creator, I started attending Expo East at the New Hope Influencer Summit. Eventually, that event halted and gave way to a new creator summit this year sponsored by the Food + Wellness Equity Collective.
Needless to say, I went to Expo East this year, fully eager to embrace my experience for the very last time and with my eyes wide open to the emerging wellness trends in the natural products industry.
Expo East 2023 Wellness Trends:
Regenerative Agriculture and Upcycling
Regenerative agriculture is an approach to farming that aims to use and conserve natural resources during the process of food farming. It focuses on crop rotation and soil regeneration, increasing biodiversity, improving the water cycle and an overall resilience to climate change.
One of the brands I met, White Leaf Provisions, is focused on regenerative farming in the production of their baby food. When Valentina was an infant, there was a lot of talk about arsenic in baby food. Through the process of regenerative farming, White Leaf Provisions has one of the first regeneratively farmed, biodynamic, organic and GMO-free baby food lines.
Another brand, bake Me Healthy, uses up-cycled ingredients in their vegan, gluten-free, allergen-friendly baking mixes. For example, the brownie mix contains up cycled coffee cherries, the plants that house coffee beans.
If the amount of pre and probiotic sparkling drinks and sodas available at Expo East is any indication, gut health is top of mind in the food industry. Traditional soda contains artificial sweeteners, acids and added sugars that can cause digestive issues, inflammation and a host of other issues categorized as “leaky gut symdrome”
The healthier sodas aim to replace the unhealthy drinks by adding prebiotic fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut as well as contain probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, that supports the gut.
Brands to try:
Immunity-boosting vitamins infused into your favorite foods and drinks? Why not? Brands are riding the immunity wave and giving immune-boosting benefits to their products.
Brands to Try:
Sobriety is in as more and more people give up drinking alcohol in favor of better sleep an a clearer mind. Admittedly, I’m sober curious and have always liked to pour a drink that feels a little more special than plain water into a wine glass the times I choose not to drink alcohol.
Some brands to try:
The plant-based trend has been on the rise ever since I started attending Expo East as food manufacturers aim to help Americans eat more plants in any form – soups, milks and even chips.
Brands to try:
I Eat My Greens
Strive Free Milk (animal-free whey protein) – I like the chocolate best
Root Foods – Six Mix
Protein is king and getting protein from more than just animal products misbecoming increasingly popular. You can find proton in everything from bread to pasta. I tried the most delicious high-protein bread (10 grams per slice!) from Equii and Zenb makes great-tasting protein pasta and crackers. And of course, protein bars and powders
brands to try:
Riding the protein wave, plant-based protein is having a moment as more consumers are realizing it’s not just for vegans!
Brands to try:
Endurance Protein Chips
I’ll miss this show and all the connections I’ve made with brands over the years!
Read past Expo East round-ups: