What a weekend! The rebirth of the Natural Foods industry is here—bigger and actually better—the innovation is back!
Overall comments: Wow—what vibrance and innovation this year at Expo West. I had less time than usual to really see, taste and walk the show, but it was clear that our innovative spirit is in such full force! The intersection of sustainability and tasty super foods has created a whole new way of thinking and eating and it showed up in full force. Grass-fed is good for our bodies and for the planet’s, and even bigger companies are getting excited about good animal protein: Mighty Grass-fed Jerky from Organic Valley, Grass-fed Yogurt from Stoneyfield, and bone broths are starting to really show up. I talked to some young and forward-thinking bone broth folks who are really thinking hard about great packaging that is better for the planet.
Also, bugs are showing up. Exo just received $4M Series A for cricket-flour based foods! Truly sustainable eating and it will be interesting to see how consumers embrace it. My quick taste did not leave a particularly positive or negative impression. The bar was slightly bitter, but not unpleasant.
And super foods that are sustainable inspire us all. Coconut everything and Cocoa everything. Big Tree Farms showed big innovation with cocoa nibs with cashews, drinking chocolate and coconut sugars. There were some great coconut buttery spreads out at a breakfast event I ran and they were wonderful. Nutiva as usual has amazing new stuff with Nutella-inspired Yummy chocolate-y hazelnut spreads with coconut oil. Alter Eco stole the show with its new “Gone 4 Good” campaign on every trashcan at Expo! It is such an inspiring personal accomplishment for me and this wonderful and well-intentioned team at Alter Eco to produce a compostable pouch to our industry. This truly meaningful innovation to the world and inspiration for the industry. And their new pouch won a Nexty!
Turmeric is really turning beautiful with absolutely delicious Gaia Golden Milk Powders (Nexty Winner!), Numi Turmeric Teas, and Temple Turmeric Turkish coffee (and their booth rocked with a friendly, inspiring vibe of health, yoga and happiness).
There will be so much post-Expo chatter and more roundups, but wanted to share my quick thoughts on the wonder, hope and beauty of our food system. This was the most inspiring, alive show I have been to in my 18 years of attending and companies are getting bigger, but showing more care for food and planet than ever before. Really inspiring for my work at both OSC2 and Pluot.
More to come.