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Natural Products Expo

6 guest judges who helped choose the Expo West 2022 NEXTY Award winners

The natural products industry celebrates a revamped NEXTY Awards program with its return in March to the Anaheim Convention Center in California.

It's been three years since the natural products industry came together in Anaheim, California, for Expo West. Fortunately, the world is reopening, and we can once again celebrate our passion and products.

The industry's anticipation of the event hasn't waned since our last California get-together. New Hope Network received nearly 1,100 nominations—a new record—for NEXTY Awards, even as we reduced the number of categories to 18 from 23. Look for the 75 or so finalists, as selected by New Hope Network's content, marketing, standards, and NEXT Data and Insight teams to be announced in mid-February.  

Meanwhile, we'd like to introduce you to the six NEXTY Award judges who came in to discuss and debate how well each product fulfills the criteria to be a winner: being the most progressive, innovative, inspiring and trustworthy products in the natural products industry. Click through the gallery to meet the judges—including a former New Hope Network director.

The winners will be announced on Natural Products Expo Virtual on March 2.

The 10th year of NEXTY Awards brings changes

All natural products CPG brands were welcome to nominate products for the Expo West NEXTY Awards, even if they weren't exhibiting in person or on the Natural Products Expo Virtual Platform. Nominations closed on Dec. 31.

While the number of categories has dropped to 18, New Hope Network also created new NEXTY categories and redefined others. These changes reflect the industry's commitment to doing business for good and supporting both people and the planet.

Some new categories are open to a variety of products such as food, beverages, supplements, personal care and even pet products. The competition in these five categories will be fierce:

  • Best New People-Forward Product—These food, beverage, supplement or other brands put people first, whether through their transparent, fair or direct-trade sourcing practices, support of local or global communities, vertical integration, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion practices; support of food access, living wages, employee care, etc.
  • Best New Planet-Forward Product—These food, beverage, supplement or other brands have demonstrable commitments to sustainable environmental practices (alternative energy, zero waste, regenerative agriculture, circular economies, environmentally responsible packaging, food waste, upcycling…) and exhibit an exemplary level of transparency and understanding of how their practices impact the planet.
  • Best New Organic or Regenerative Organic Certified Product— This category is for food, beverage, supplement or other natural products industry brands that are doing more by engaging in policy to strengthen organic or regenerative organic standards, converting or expanding acreage or showcasing a deep understanding of the ecological journey to their organic or regenerative efforts. Nominating brands must be Certified Organic (USDA NOP standards or equivalent) or Certified Regenerative.
  • Best New Functional Food or Beverage—Foods and beverages that seek to support wellness by harnessing functional ingredients such as botanicals, adaptogens, nootropics, etc. Brands are strongly encouraged to include amounts per serving information for the functional ingredients in their nomination application, particularly in support of any wellness claims made about the product on the packaging.
  • Best New Product Supporting a Plant-Based Lifestyle—Food, beverage, supplement or other. These products help promote and educate about the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle and answer a growing consumer demand for plant-forward products that support climate, health and/or animal welfare issues.

The Consumer Choice Award categories are Best New Food or Beverage; Best New Natural Living or Personal Care Product; and Best New Supplement.

The categories that have been discontinued are Best New Environmentally Responsible Packaging, Best New Hemp/CBD Product, Best New Mission-Based Product, Best New Natural Kids Product, Best New Organic Beverage, Best New Product Supporting a Healthy Microbiome, Best New Sports Nutrition or Active Lifestyle Product and Best New Tea or Coffee.

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