The 38th annual Natural Products Expo West took place in Anaheim, California, March 8-11. More than 85,000 industry professionals explored innovations from 3,521 exhibitors, of which 600 were first-time exhibitors. There were many show-stoppers, including meat and poultry concepts, as well as their analog alternatives. 

To put the industry in perspective, Carlotta Mast, senior vice president of content at New Hope Network, Boulder, Colorado, presented the most recent data on the state of the natural products business. She explained that in one year, from 2016 to 2017, the industry grew 6.5 percent to $207 billion. Natural, organic and functional foods and beverages are 70 percent of sales. These sales are growing about 10-times faster than total food and beverage sales.  

This supports data from The Hartman Group, Bellevue, Washington, that shows across all regions of the U.S., consumers agree that the two most important attributes when shopping for foods and beverages are what’s good for my heart and what’s locally grown or produced. There is no doubt that consumers continue to view food and beverages as the linchpin of achieving a health and wellness lifestyle. They seek food-and-beverage products with recognizable ingredients and minimal processing as cues for fresh, less processed.