Natural Foods Merchandiser

Five trends and takeaways from the show floor

Here are my picks for Expo West’s top 5 trends.

1. Sustainability
What is sustainability? My stab at a definition: Companies that are green from the ground up, whose practices include environmental, social and health engineering--in other words, those who approach the market from a holistic point of view. Sustainability also means developing long-term solutions for value and pricing.

2. Functional everything
Anti-aging in personal care, supplements and foods. I learned on the show floor that within the first year of menopause, women lose 30 percent of their collagen! No wonder beauty from within is hitting the big time.

3. Gender-specific products
Supplements (and foods) formulated specifically for men or women are on the up-and-up. And watch for products that target specific health concerns, such as memory, detox and digestion.

4. A self-policing industry
The Organic Consumer Association’s follow-up test of 1,4-dioxane in personal care products shows major improvement, largely thanks to companies that reformulated products after last year's OCA study found the suspected carcinogen in a surprising number of natural and organic personal care products. On Saturday, March 7, the OCA announced that 1,4-dioxane--which has also been linked to kidney, nervous system and respiratory problems--has been eradicated in 23 products from 16 major natural and organic PC brands.

5. Primary manufacturers
Companies are increasingly involved in every step of the production process--from ingredient sourcing to production to packaging. In some cases, this is a boon for quality, as well as eco-friendliness.

Katy Neusteter
Managing editor
Delicious Living

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