The booths have been taken down and all the samples have been eaten, but Expo East 2022 showcased trends for the upcoming year that will outlive the memorable weekend in Philadelphia. Some macro-themes were familiar from years past, but nonetheless still booming in the health and wellness food space. The SRW crew took notes in case you missed it. Here are six trends from Expo East that (we think) are here to stay:
Alcoholic beverages, but hold the alcohol – Functional beverages? We know that one. But non-alcoholic alternatives with adaptogens? Sign us up. Three Spirit showcased their plant-based, alcohol-free drinks made with adaptogens such as lions mane mushrooms and ashwagandha. Their functional refreshments are carefully curated to help consumers reach a specific feeling: energize, connect, or unwind. Similar brands like Chicago-based Ritual Zero Proof and Isnt Drinks are capitalizing on this trend as well. We’ll take a feel-good night, sub the hangover.
Ready-to-eat fermented & pickled foods – What started with kombucha has made its way to the veggie aisle. Brands like Veggie*Confetti, wildbrine, and Poshi are making it easier than ever to add some spice and color to any meal with their various kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickled & fermented veggie offerings. Not only does ready-to-eat produce upgrade the nutritional value of a meal (which we love!), but fermented foods are also probiotic, immune-strengthening, and disease-fighting. Easy + healthy = a dream come true.
Regenerative commitments – This one isn’t going anywhere. The climate crisis remains an existential issue and consumers are looking at major corporations and small brands alike to make regenerative agriculture commitments to reduce their impact on global emissions. Our friends at Fonterra and Good Culture, like many at Expo East, are making strides in creating food that is good for you and good for the planet.
Cultural diversity – We absolutely love brands that are sharing their heritage through foods inspired by their culture. Some of life’s greatest moments take place at the kitchen table – especially when we’re celebrating our diversity through shared meals. Plus, it tastes really darn good. *cue us eating an entire bag of Brazi Bites*
Veggie first – Give us all the veggies! Expo East was all about meat alternatives that are made with whole, real vegetables and no preservatives. Gone are the days of questionable nutrition labels. The health and wellness CPG industry is headed in the right direction with veggie-first offerings that use high-quality, simple ingredients (hi, Wholly Veggie 👋).
Dairy isn’t going anywhere – Don’t call it a comeback if they never left. Plant-based dairy alternatives remain a huge trend, but Expo East proved that sometimes, there’s just nothing better than some good old-fashioned dairy. Brands like Majestic Butter are proving that you can have your cake and eat it too by combining traditional dairying with modern methods for delicious, sustainable products.
Missed us at Expo East 2022? Hit us up.
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