Expo West 2024 Recap: 9 Trends to Watch

March 21, 2024
by SPINS Marketing


Natural Products Expo West is always the biggest show of the year. With an estimated 70,000+ attendees and thousands of vendors, this year’s show lived up to its reputation. From March 12-16, the SPINS team welcomed retailers, brands, suppliers, and brokers into our booths, walked the floor exploring the latest natural innovations and trends, and presented at several educational sessions. Each day was packed with compelling conversations and exciting discoveries that we’re still thinking about. 

Expo West is an opportunity to understand the current state of the natural CPG industry and get a glimpse of where it’s headed. Although nothing can fully capture the energy of the show, we’ll try!  

Whether you couldn’t attend or just didn’t have a chance to see the entire show, we’ve put together a list of 9 Expo West trends everyone should know about: 

1. Brand Collaborations Grab Attention

We recently hosted a webinar about the power of brand collaborations, and Expo West proved that point in booth after booth. We saw Girl Scouts collaborating with Chameleon on a variety of cold brews and with Muddy Bites to offer a Thin Mint flavor. When done right, these new collaborations attract new customers to each brand and satisfy existing ones. Expect to see more pairings as brands strive to stay relevant and exciting to shoppers. 

2. Women’s Health Takes Center Stage

After years of being sidelined in favor of men’s products, women’s health—thanks in large part to women entrepreneurs—is getting the attention it deserves. For example, Meno Well bars and Tea Botanics teas address the needs of anyone going through menopause and perimenopause  and Winged Wellness offers supplements and body care options to address a variety of women’s health needs. Those were just some of the many womens health-focused brands we encountered aisle after aisle. (You can also read more about women’s health’s growing presence in our top CPG trends for 2024.) 

3. Gen Z Is Key to the Natural Industry’s Future

During this year’s “The State of Natural & Organic” keynote, experts from SPINS, New Hope Network, Google, and Whipstitch Capital walked Expo attendees through the natural industry’s growing power. Natural products are mainstream options for today’s consumers and will only become more important with the next generation of shoppers. In much the same way Millennials used their buying power to turn organic and better-for-you products into everyday items, Gen Z is positioned to be a buying force to be reckoned with. If you want to discover what that means for the natural industry, you can watch the entire presentation right now. 

4. Global Flavors and Spices Continue to Grow

Talking to different vendors at Expo West, we heard a variety of reasons why so many established brands are introducing global flavors and new brands are appealing to adventurous palates. Just a few years ago, products like Sweety’s mochi ice cream, Better Sour’s gummy candy, and Fly By Jing’s sauces might not have had the wide appeal that they’re currently enjoying. What changed?   

First, today’s consumers are used to a variety of cuisines in their favorite restaurants, so they’re eager to have flavors from India or Mexico in their pantries and freezers. Also, social media has given everyone a front row to foods from all over the world, encouraging at-home cooks to get adventurous with their cuisine. Plus, younger generations are growing up in a more diverse world that doesn’t require them to wait until they are adults to experience flavors from other cultures. Together, you have an audience that is eager for bold options every time they head to the grocery store.  

5. Regenerative Agriculture Is a Hot Topic

“Regenerative” was a buzzword at last year’s show, but this year it became a staple in a new wave of products. Alec’s Ice Cream prides itself on being “the world’s only certified regenerative organic A2 dairy and carbon-neutral regenerative cane sugar.In the snack aisle, Sea Monsters offers seaweed puffs that tout the regenerative nature of seaweed that makes each bag a planet-friendly choice. The prevalence of regenerative ingredients and messaging across different food occasions indicates consumer interest in maintaining their eating preferences without sacrificing their values.  

6. Body Care Gets Greener

Continuing the trend of “good for the planet” options, natural body care brands are doing their best to eliminate unnecessary packaging. Canary aims to reduce single-use plastics with its toothpaste tablets and soaps. BRIXY’s shampoo and condition bars seek to balance plastic-free packaging with effective ingredients for all hair types. The expansion of better-for-everyone products across categories reinforces the evolving needs of values-oriented shoppers.   

7. Desserts Are Having a Moment

If there was any notion that there’s no room for desserts in a health-focused lifestyle, Expo West set the record straight. Organic popsicles from Deebee’s, lower-sugar peanut butter cups from Skinny Dipped, and gourmet cookie dough from Doughpamine are just some of the desserts we sampled that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Sugary treats like these not only taste good but also have high quality ingredients you can feel good about eating—and in many cases provided low-sugar content 

8. Plant-based Is for Everyone

Plant-based innovation has been accelerating for a while, but this year’s Expo felt different. Perhaps most notable was how many brands led with great taste and quality ingredients that appealed to everyone. Many booths we visited didn’t lead with their plant-based messaging but instead let the foods speak for themselves, indicating that consumers are open to animal-free options as long as they’re good. Burgers, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, creamers, ice cream, cookie dough, protein, body care, chips—you name it, plant-based brands offered a tasty version of it. 

9. Alcohol-free Beverages Keep Expanding

Each year, mocktails and 0 ABV beverages seem like they might hit critical mass as they take up more space in the Expo West halls. Yet, each year we see innovations that prove the space is still growing and attracting customers. Grüvi offers canned sangria, rosé, IPAs, and stouts. Kul Mocks has an assortment of ready-to-drink substitutes for gin and tonics, ciders, margaritas, and mules. Alcohol-free beverage makers understand that someone can avoid alcohol and still want to enjoy the types of drinks and flavor profiles that come with traditional offerings. The 0 ABV shelf is only going to get more exciting in the foreseeable future.