Sunny start to Natural Product Expo 2015 at Anaheim Convention Center
If there were any doubts, lay them aside: Expo, with emphasis on Natural Product Expo, is mainstream.
On my visit last week to Anaheim, I met and mingled with the throng of exhibitors and attendees. “Throng”: yes, an expected 60,000 metastasized into 72,000 according to official estimates. This attendance alone indicates the growing clout and some would say coronation of natural as mainstream. You have plenty of food professionals attending who certainly make that point. Gone are the days when natural takes a backseat to anyone.
What really stood out? Several categories and exhibitors bear noting.
Snacking – Long poo-pooed as culinary second thoughts and dietary bedevilments, snacks are now seen as healthy. Or more precisely “healthy” for today’s lifestyle. You name any leading natural brand and they have a foot in this near-fast-food door. And as noted from Fancy Food in San Francisco, the flavors, tastes and textures keep improving. Crunchy Flamous® falafel chips, Good Bean (bean-based chips) Hampton Creek Cookie Dough (for people who can’t wait to bake!), Lundberg Multigrain Chips, or returning to California Kashi snack bars and chips — all are putting forward delicious and healthy snacks. Eating fast and healthy is no longer an oxymoron for these brands.