BALTIMORE — The 2018 Natural Products Expo East trade show showcased emerging products, formats and ingredients from more than 1,500 exhibiting companies across the food, drink, personal care, household and ingredient industries.
Held in Baltimore, the event took place Sept. 12-15 and featured more than 400 first-time exhibitors showing their organic, natural, nutritional and sustainable goods.
Among the thousands of products on display, there were some exciting items that are ripe for convenience stores. Food and beverages saw the most growth this year. Also key were functional foods — foods that add extra protein, vitamins, probiotics, regulated sugar or are plant-based.
The language and terms used in this market are evolving. The natural and organic industry is changing the terminology to be more inclusive, as the use of natural and organic food and beverages grows. The word, plant-based, has replaced vegan as an all-inclusive term. Grain-free is seen as much as gluten-free. Many dairy-free items are now called all allergen-free. Organic often has the additional words, regenerative agriculture, on the label.
Plant-based ingredients were seen across many categories, including dairy and protein main dishes. They are much more affordable now to the mass consumer. There are also now plenty of options for keto-friendly diets, as well as for people just wanting to eat healthier.
Here is a selection of some of the tastier trending products, arranged by key categories: