February 8, 2023
The Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace, a long-standing Natural Products Expo West tradition, melds the fun and excitement of a traditional farmers market with the engagement of a trade show.
The marketplace is a must-visit site for buyers who want to focus on USDA Organic products. Among the 85 exhibitors, many are familiar faces and brands—but 33 are new to the Fresh Ideas Marketplace. Adding to the excitement is the fact that this is the one and only day these brands will exhibit at Expo West.
Organic sales exceeded $63 billion in sales in 2021, according to the Organic Trade Association. Of that, organic food accounted for more than 90% of sales with a total of $57.5 billion. New Hope Network's Market Overview 2022, published in June, pointed out that mainstream supermarkets are chasing natural retailer customers because natural foods are driving sales growth across all food categories. Take a look at the data here.
Brand representatives in the marketplace might want to note that smaller retailers have been growing more quickly than most of their big brothers. United Natural Foods Inc. noted in its FY 2022 report that while its sales to Whole Foods Market increased 13.2%, independent retailer sales rose 10.9% from the same period in 2021. For sales to chains with 10 or more locations, UNFI saw an increase of 3.8%.
The COVID-19 pandemic sent many consumers to organic foods, both for health reasons and because many organic brands didn't suffer from supply-chain difficulties as large CPGs did. Other reasons for purchasing organic foods and products included increasing concerns about climate change, sustainability, fair trade and animal welfare. Millennials, who are now in their 30s and early 40s, and Gen Z shoppers are seeking clean labels and transparent supply chains as they raise their families.
Many certified organic brands are accepting greater responsibility for their roles in protecting people, animals and the planet. On top of the USDA Organic seal, products are sporting certifications in regenerative agriculture, non-GMO, grass fed, animal welfare and more. Take a minute to review this list, which New Hope compiled in September, of logos and seals that are backed by testing and regulations.
Be sure to check out this gallery of select exhibitors—and a few photos of last year's event—at the Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace. The entire list of exhibitors can be found at ExpoWest.com.
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