There were more than 1,200 exhibitors and an estimated 20,000 attendees at Natural Products Expo East 2022 this week in Philadelphia. Informa Markets’ New Hope Network hosts this annual event.
Key trends observed on the expo floor and insights heard during the education sessions present numerous opportunities for dairy marketers to invest in efforts to keep dairy relevant with today and tomorrow’s consumers. And, when you remove fluid from the equation, there were more dairy-based cheese, ice cream and yogurt brands than plant-based alternatives at the expo. That’s correct. Real dairy—value-added and premium-positioned products—rocked Natural Products Expo East 2022.
The New Hope Network Trend Framework identified the top trends at the show. They originate from these three cultural forces that are the most relevant to shaping the future of natural products: “Purpose-Driven Commerce,” Holistic Health and Well-Being” and “Modern Life.”
“New Hope Network is on the front lines of the natural products industry and offers a unique point of view when it comes to identifying trends that will be most impactful to the future of the industry,” said Jessica Rubino, vice president of content at New Hope Network. “This year, we’re pleased to see that CPG companies continue moving the natural products industry forward as they leverage innovation as a force for good.”
The U.S. natural and organic products industry grew an estimated 7.7% to $272 billion in 2021, with sales on track to surpass $300 billion by 2024 and $400 billion by 2030, according to New Hope Network’s State of Natural and Organic. While growth slowed in 2021, it was higher than the industry saw pre-pandemic.
Food and beverage momentum, specifically, continued throughout 2021, driving nearly 70% of industry sales. Natural, organic and functional food and beverage sales grew an estimated 7.1% to $186.5 billion in 2021, with sales on track to surpass $220 billion by 2024. Organic food and beverage grew an estimated 2% to $48.7 billion in 2021, as industry ups its focus on climate-friendly supply.
That brings us to the top-food trends.
Regenerative agriculture has become the poster child helping to mitigate climate change. The problem is that without clear definition, the term is at risk of greenwashing or being another ill-defined “natural.” This trend is about how companies are obtaining third-party validation, achieving seed-to-shelf traceability and forging powerful partnerships to amplify their efforts.
A recent study from New Hope Network showed that only 19% of surveyed consumers knew the term regenerative and knew what it meant. Two out of five (44%) surveyed said they never heard of it.