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Innovation, consumer priorities drive future natural products trends

By comparing products launched at Natural Products Expos this year with those launched last year, our analysts see how natural products trends are changing.

3 Min Read
Local, independent natural foods retailers help boost innovative, emerging food and beverage brands

You've read about which trends New Hope's editors and analysts expect to see at Natural Products Expo East 2023 and beyond. But what does the data say? More specifically, which trends have the most momentum in the marketplace based on natural product launches and consumer priorities for the year ahead?

One way New Hope analyzes trends is through the lens of innovation activity. By comparing product launches at our two 2023 shows—Natural Products Expo West in March and Expo East in September—against launches at the 2022 events, we can identify which trends have had an influx of fresh innovation and positioning over the last year. This enables us to see the top 10 trends—from a list of 41—that are showing the most momentum:

  • Socially responsible sourcing

  • Digestive health

  • Business beyond profit

  • Diverse ownership

  • Time-honored heritage ingredients

  • Regenerative agriculture

  • Flavor adventuring

  • Renewable energy

  • Responsible packaging

  • Texture, format and novel experiences

Next, our data team examined the "why" behind the top 10 trends by determining where each fits within New Hope's Trend Framework. We began by identifying which of the three "cultural forces" each trend falls under: purpose-driven commerce, holistic health and well-being, or modern life. We then further classified each trend according to the "market force" propelling its emergence in the marketplace and eventual representation by brands and products presented at Expo East. 

Related:Market Overview: Turbulence shook natural products retailers in 2022

Yes, this exercise is technical, but it gives us a data-informed look at what's trending, why and how that's manifesting in the market. It also shows us what the natural products industry's greatest innovators—many of them emerging brands bringing new ideas and inspiration to the table—are thinking about as they ideate, develop and launch new products.

According to the data, today's innovators are heading to market with eco-social issues top of mind, as six of the top 10 innovation-led trends fall within the purpose-driven commerce cultural force. Entrepreneurs push the industry to evolve, so the more brands that lead consumers to products that solve for environmental, social and cultural issues, the more exposure consumers will have to these trends, eventually seeking them out.

Innovation, consumer priorities drive future natural products trends, according to New Hope Network analysts.

Natural products businesses may have their own innovation agendas, but part of being a successful brand involves meeting the priorities and demands of consumers. Another way we assess trends is by asking consumers about them directly. So, to find out which of 41 trends they care about most and which they believe will succeed in the marketplace in the coming year, New Hope Network surveyed 1,000 consumers ages 18 to 75 in April.

The clear winners? Health and wellness trends dominate the top 10, demonstrating that consumers are prioritizing functional wellness, healthy fats, balanced macronutrients and using plants to meet macronutrient needs. Consumers also clearly care about environmental trends such as reducing waste and renewable energy.

 2024 Trends & InnovationsLearn more and see data-rich assessment of the top trends shaping the industry. Click here to purchase the NEXT Special Report: 2024 Trends & Innovations.

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About the Author(s)

Adrienne Smith

Content Director, New Hope Network

Amanda Hartt

Researcher | Data Analyst | Strategic Thinker

Amanda brings 10+ years of experience in research and consulting roles, working for both SPINS and New Hope Network to track and grow the natural products industry. With an MS in Food Policy, Amanda looks at the dimensionality of marketplace challenges to grow and transform food systems to build thriving communities.

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