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Expo West 2024: Unveiling the Latest Trends

Expo West continues to uphold its esteemed reputation as the premier event in the CPG world, often likened to the Super Bowl of the industry.…

by | Mar 18, 2024

Expo West continues to uphold its esteemed reputation as the premier event in the CPG world, often likened to the Super Bowl of the industry. New Hope Network anticipated a total registration between 70,000 and 72,000 for the 2024 event.

In addition to navigating the bustling halls, our team made it a priority to visit the booths of our portfolio companies, reconnect with familiar acquaintances, and cultivate new connections.

(From left to right) Allison Yazel, Marketing Manager, Tyler Mayoras, Director of Portfolio Growth, Steve Young, Managing Partner, Carley Nelson, Vice President, Sylvio Petto-Neto, Director of Business Development and Ryan Klas, Vice President. Not pictured: Drew Connor, Vice President.

Year after year, we are astonished by the multitude of emerging brands and newcomers to Expo that we encounter for the first time. The sheer number of companies chasing every trend never fails to surprise us. As growth-stage investors, we understand and acknowledge this stark reality – in the end, only a select few will emerge as category winners. Success ultimately hinges on who can execute their vision most effectively, backed by robust investment partnerships, top-tier talent, and strategic planning.

Read on for our investment team’s 2024 observations and trends.

Embracing REAL Food

We observed a decline in plant-based meat/protein brands, signaling a pivot from the “free-of” mindset to highlighting the positive nutritional value of products. Brands are focusing more on the benefits their products offer rather than what they lack. Good Culture’s booth featuring cultured dairy was a standout, as well as The New Primal with their popular low-sugar meat snacks.

The Rise of Clean

“Clean” emerged as the buzzword of the year, with a surge in cleaned-up classic foods such as cleaner pasta options, frozen, and dessert items. Clean personal care products also gained traction, with an emphasis on chemical-free beauty, deodorants, soaps, bath care, and dental products. Both Gotham Greens and Urban Remedy highlighted their plant-based products with clean labels.

The Resurgence of Soda

Soda made a comeback, but with a focus on gut health. Manna Tree portfolio company Health-Ade kombucha launched their own line of prebiotic sodas, SunSip, while Poppi maintained a significant presence.

Gut-Friendly Options

From beverages to sweets and functional salad dressings, gut-friendly products were prominent. Pitch Slam runner-up brand Philosopher Foods introduced “Gut Nuts,” fermented almonds and cashews, as a tangy gut-friendly snack.

International Flavors Take Center Stage

Expo West showcased a diverse range of international flavors, reflecting consumers’ growing interest in global cuisine. Brands like Siete Foods, A Dozen Cousins and Fly By Jing highlighted this trend.

Mushroom Love Continues

The popularity of mushrooms persisted, with various products featuring this versatile ingredient, including mushroom jerky, snacks, chips, functional beverages, and gummies. Pan’s Mushroom Jerky caught our eyes!

Focus on Longevity and Healthspan

Products promoting longevity and health span garnered attention, indicating a shift toward consumers investing not only in more years but healthier ones. Healthspan is the period of life spent in good health, free from chronic diseases and disabilities of aging. Blue Zones Kitchen frozen meals demonstrated a strong connection and marketing aligned with this trend.

Sober AF

A new addition to Expo West in 2024 was the mindful beverage hall featuring alcohol-free options and mocktails. The dedicated space reflects the growing sentiment that the non-alcoholic sector is here to stay and expanding. Alcohol-free brands that stood out include Kin Euphorics, For Better For Worse, Ghia, Gruvi and Three Spirits.

Protein Packing

Brands are capitalizing on America’s obsession with protein intake by adding additional protein to classics like pancake mix, oatmeal, or mac and cheese, or highlighting a product’s naturally occurring protein amount. Some notable brands showcasing protein include Kodiak Cakes, Wilde Protein Chips and Oywn.

New Ingredients

Tigernuts, despite not being nuts at all, made a surprising appearance. This ancient, antioxidant-rich tuber was showcased in various forms such as roasted, dried, or raw. Brune Kitchen used tigernut flour in their allergy-free, better-for-you cookie. Cactus chips and water also stood out, alongside buckwheat in the snack category.

Our team will be attending Newtopia Now in Denver, Colorado August 25-28 2024. According to Informa’s website, the Newtopia Now experience is designed for natural and organic buyers to discover their next best-selling conscious products through facilitated connections, deepened relationships, and actionable and inspiring content.



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