Food and beverages are more than just fuel, and food brands are taking that philosophy to the next level. Expo West 2022 was the place to see thousands of food and beverage brands launch functional, innovative and solution-focused products, many of which will permanently revolutionize grocery store aisles. After walking the floor of the Anaheim Convention Center for two days, here are the trends we spotted that we think will be the mainstays of new products to come.
Exploding in popularity lately, chances are one of our best clean energy drinks has already found its way into your fridge. With increased consumer interest in natural, healthy energy sources that don’t cause an afternoon sugar crash, the battle to gain market share and create a drink that both tastes great and is derived from a simple formula with no artificial sweeteners, colors or preservatives will see consumers with a host of exciting options on the shelves in the months to come.
As a nearly effortless way to improve overall well-being, switching to these more functional beverages is a simple and easy way to hit your health benchmarks using the addition of adaptogens, probiotics, fiber , vitamins and root extracts. Some companies also focus on building community and solidarity, such as CLEAN Cause, a healthy energy drink company that donates 50% of its net profits to help people recover from alcoholism and drug addiction.
Flagship brands: OCA, Macchu Picchu, CLEAN Cause, Cure Hydration, Boomerang Energy
Plant-based products have definitely been one of the biggest trends we’ve seen in the industry over the past five years, and we continue to see it grow. Now the focus has shifted from the plants beef herbal chicken as well as other plant-based alternatives that don’t try to be meaty (like jackfruit). Imalk’esh Organics, for example, will soon launch a plant-based food alternative made with textured organic “CHi Protein,” their blend of water, sacha inchi nut powder, and bean protein.
Flagship brands: Daring, Like meat, Simulate (NUGGs), Jack and Annie’s, Imalk’esh
If you haven’t heard of adaptogens yet, we think it’s only a matter of time. This buzzword is gaining more and more prominence in the food landscape, although many consumers still struggle to understand exactly what it is. Active ingredients found in plants, mushrooms and herbs believed to provide health benefits that can increase your body’s ability to respond to stress, anxiety and fatigue, adaptogens are now found in countless foods and beverages, from sparkling waters to canned and even whole coffees. coffee beans (from Four Sigmatic). Considered for their therapeutic effects in Eastern medicine dating back centuries, the best-known examples of adaptogens include: ashwagandha, ginseng, goji berry, turmeric, tulsi or holy basil, and licorice root .
FREE RAIN, for example, is a range of sparkling waters enriched with functional ingredients such as Siberian ginseng for energy, ashwagandha and maca.
Flagship brands: Taika, Four Sigmatic, RAIN FREE
The faces behind the majority shareholders and founders of food and beverage companies are changing — and rapidly — with historically underrepresented entrepreneurs bringing tasty, authentic products to consumers. Whether through employee-owned model types or new ventures with BIPOC, Latinx, or Asian-American founders, entrepreneurs are diversifying traditional grocery store ownership and shelves.
Jake Deleon, founder and CEO of Fila Manila, is a 1st generation Filipino-American immigrant who launched a line of Filipino sauces and condiments during the pandemic after spending his $1,200 stimulus check on prototypes.
Flagship brands: SOMOS, UNiTE Food Protein Bars, Fila Manila, Sanzo, Fly by Jing
Climate change, along with food and packaging waste, are top of mind for many shoppers, and brands are revamping their sustainable packaging efforts, revamping their supply chains, or new companies are popping up solely based on tackling the problem of food waste, such as Renewal Mill. The company is focused on recycling, using ingredients typically discarded during the production of its herbal products. For its Nexty Award-winning recycled matcha chip cookie mix, the company uses leftover soy pulp from tofu to make okara flour, which is the base for these recycled cookies.
Other ways brands are tackling food issues is to start with the soil, and several brands, including Navitas Organics, have boasted a regenerative organic certification seal, indicating that ingredients have been produced by methods that advance soil health, animal welfare and social equity.
Moonshot, a climate-friendly snack brand, makes plant-based, carbon-neutral crackers with regeneratively grown ancient wheat. Their packaging is made from recycled materials and is itself recyclable and is also carbon neutral at a corporate level, measuring our footprint annually and offsetting anything they cannot reduce or eliminate.
Flagship brands: Moonshot Crackers, Super Frau, Renewal Mill, Pulp Pantry, LOOP Juice and Smoothies, Uglies Kettle Chips
In our increasingly busy worlds, it’s no surprise that consumers are looking for quick and easy ways to get food to the table faster. Where previous decades solved this problem with TV dinners or Hamburger Helper, food brands are now tackling the problem with nutrient-dense, tasty and creative alternatives.
For example, A Dozen Cousins introduced their new seasoning sauces for rice and meat/meat alternatives. Entree seasoning sauces include flavors like Jamaican jerk and ask consumers to pour the seasoning packet over your meat or meat substitute of choice, coat it thoroughly, then simply cook, grill or grill it, and you’re good to go. Mekhala, a Singaporean/Thai whole food, introduced its plant-based starter pack which combines a packet of non-GMO textured pea protein, with an organic and vegan Mekhala sauce rich in flavor. And Do Anything Sauces puts plants at the forefront of popular sauces, with riffs on favorites like Beet Pesto and Cauliflower Alfredo.
Flagship brands: A Dozen Cousins, Path of Life, Mekhala, Do Anything Foods
We may have always loved snacking, but since COVID-19 snacking is on the rise. More than 35% of consumers say they snack more often than a year ago, with snacking occasions accounting for 48% of all food and beverages, as reported by Food Business News. Consumers continue to seek out healthy snack options, many of which now mimic childhood favorites, much the same way comfort foods began to grow in stay-at-home orders. Cheesy snacks fit right in with this trend, pairing comfort foods with health food buzzwords like low carb, keto, and high protein. New twists on old favorites include Outstanding Foods’ first vegan cheese puffs, Whisps Cheese Crisps & Nuts, Core & Rind cashew queso and Moon Cheese’s version on a Frito, which are 100% mozzarella cheese sticks shaped like a Fritos coated with seasonings.
Flagship brands: Exceptional Foods, Whips, Moon Cheese, Core & Rind