Anaheim, Calif. was abuzz in activity as 80,000 members of the natural products industry congregated over the weekend for the Natural Products Expo West trade show where 3,100 exhibitors set up shop, among them, 500 first-timers. Since 1981, Expo West has operated as a meeting place for retailers and manufacturers as well as a hub for discovering the latest innovations in the natural segment of the culinary industry. The show continues to grow as exhibitor booths have trickled into neighboring Marriott and Hilton hotels as part of the hot products pavilions. In 2018, work on an annex to the convention center should be complete.
To try and put your finger on one or two 2017 Expo West trends is a complex undertaking. Some 2016 trends only gathered speed such as seaweed crisps (sheets of seaweed with almonds, coconut or quinoa inclusions in the middle). Fermentation bubbles on, with this trend taking interesting forms this year. Get ready for a new buzz term, upcycling, which gained energy as one company used spent grains and another upcycled bananas into new products, tackling food waste. The frenzy of gluten-free products has slowed (even while the allergen-friendly food category continues to grow). Turmeric, chia, coconut water, acai and matcha—trends of former years occasionally pop up, even jerky has not completely gone away. Some old stand-bys received sophisticated approaches landing them on this list too. Here are trends to watch for coming to store shelves later this year.
Annelies Zijderveld’s first cookbook, Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea, is available now. She has been published in Curator magazine, Arthouse America, and Sated Magazine.