Shareable experiences: To share and be shared
When asking my colleagues about the show, one word came to the forefront: “pink.” Instead of just leaving the trend at “the color pink,” I want to cover a broader aspect of the show: the creation of shareable experiences, both shareable on social and sharing culture.
Brands utilized their packaging and booths to create experiences that would be shared across social media. Bright colors, neon signs, and matching outfits all were used to stand out in the crowded Expo halls. Not only did this tactic work within Expo, but it also carries over to the broader brand positioning in stores and online.
Many brands positioned themselves to share a part of their cultural heritage at the show with global flavors, especially Asian and Mexican ones, featured prominently. From a salsa matcha to a Japanese tea ceremony, the show had it all. We also saw brands taking global flavors and repurposing them in more accessible formats like Churro flavor, new applications incorporating boba, and an instant pozole.
Look for brands to lean in further to shareable social media experiences and opportunities for unique flavors via an authentic, shareable experience.
The functionality of food and beverage products has been on trend for years now. The COVID-19 pandemic has only appeared to help accelerate this trend. This year, we saw more brands show off functional products in new ways. Multiple brands displayed claims around menopause and how they can help women during that time in their lives. For example, offers bars that help women manage sugar cravings, energy levels, and weight gain during the stages of menopause.
Another new claim I saw was a product’s impact to blood sugar. General Mills showed their Good Measure bars which claim to have “little impact on blood sugar.” I’d expect to see more related claims in the coming years as more science is dedicated to how blood sugar spikes impact our health.
Your stalwart functional claims were there in full force as well: protein, immune health, and gut health. I made sure to consume as many immune health products as possible because of being in contact with so many people. A personal favorite of mine was a cold-water infusion for immune support. We also saw new fermentations to help with gut health, like fermented almonds.
Consumers have been saying that they want to understand what the ingredients are and that they prefer shorter ingredient statements with ingredients they know and understand. According to Innova, 85% of consumers say that information about what is in their food is of major importance to them.4 Brands have been working on formulations that better fit this consumer need. There were many options at the show boasting the low number of ingredients in their products.
Building on clean ingredients, there were a large number of natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup. Expect to see more products with fewer ingredients and more recipes and products with honey and maple syrup as their primary sweetener.
We’re Excited to Help Create What’s Next
It was great to be at Expo West among the thousands of attendees. There was so much to see that it was impossible to discover it all. These six trends stood out to me at the show but are not exhaustive. If any of these trends resonated with you, please use our contact form to get in touch with our team and together, we can co-create the future of food and beverage. We’re excited to see what the future has in store and of course are here to help you create it.
1 Mondelez’s State of Snacking
2 Innova Trends Survey 2023
3 Innova Trends Survey 2021
4 Innova Trends Survey 2021