Type to search


Eight lifestyle trends taking shape at Expo West 2024

The 2024 edition of the Natural Products Expo West (a.k.a. Expo West) felt a little less organized (i.e. not as many curated “sections within sections” for pet products, beauty, and other items) and more challenging to navigate. However, once we committed to walking the maze of the five principal main building pavilions and the Hot Products building, the trends found within the show’s Empower Your Future theme make perfect sense.

Past years had one or two definitive overriding trends covering food, nutrition, lifestyle, and beauty sections at the Anaheim Convention Center. Although the first post-COVID Expo West was self-explanatory, one year had a CBD focus (confirming cannabis had gone mainstream), while other years put various super-fruits (açaí, mangosteen), dairy-free alternatives, and various ethnic or trendy drinks-of-the-moment (sparkling flavoured water on to the nutrition pyramid map. This year, we observed eight trends that dovetail into the overall theme of the show.


Grabbing a quick, healthy bite on the Expo West midway from Impossible.
Sustaining public interest
Food and lifestyle inventors, innovators, and companies have captured our attention, imagination, and better angels. They got that while pretty packaging and clever brand names that tap into our psyche get our attention, it is what’s on the inside (of a package) that counts. Case in point: Chicobags, which returned as a sponsor and created its second custom foldaway bag for Expo West as well as some covetable bags for some of the vendors. Increasingly, dozens if not hundreds of vendors this year have flipped the script with both packaging and products that are readily recyclable, environmentally safe, and landfill-proof. In a world that’s still paper-or-plastic, paper is slowly but steadily winning the race as are plastic-like products that dissolve or disappear without harming the environment. Instant Vita has improved its spray vitamin packaging, become more unisex in appeal, and narrowed the line down to its most popular health boosters.
Woman’s day
While a few indie beauty favourites like ESW Beauty surfaced at Expo West, colour cosmetics and a dedicated beauty section barely made a ripple. However, products such as major sponsor Mixhers (drink mixes), MenoWell menopause foods, Reserveage beauty supplements and other supplement companies made a big splash. These and other lines including Life Seasons, Queen of the Thrones, Honey Pot, Hygiene Hero, and Medicine Mama (with spokes-doctor Clare Bertucio) go beyond making women feel seen with their fashionably attired feminine wellness products. They drive the home the message that women—especially those of us of a certain age—should not only embrace who we are but also take better care of what specifically makes us women.

While the slightly naughty set-up for Dude Wipes promoted the idea that men need to think inside the box more in terms of personal care, we can argue many women would be grateful to men willing to use things like this more frequently.

Keeping it clean
Personal care products (the Humble Company, Davids, EO Products) and home décor enhancements (we loved the crisp, clean fragrances of Broken Top Brands) reflect we’re internalizing the message that we need to reflect on what we put in and on our bodies to the point where it extends to our living space. Along with popular old-school new-wave cleaning brands like Ecos and Method, we were introduced to new players on housework front including Sunny Valley Orchard, Clean Cult, Koala Eco-Conscious, and Tru Earth (winner of the 2023 best new product award with its back-saving alternative to heavy laundry detergent bottles).
Meatless miracles, glorious gluten-free goods, and more
Among the many vegan dairy products, meat substitutes, and gluten-free everything (including baking mixes and loads of traditional pasta alternatives), we were obsessed by Milton’s Artisanal Bakery’s cauliflower pizza, with everything on top except bitter cauliflower flavour, and gelato-decadent Jolly Llama dairy-free ice-cream novelties. Veggies Made Great sampled some savoury alternatives to breakfast staples like granola bars. Impossible Foods and Violife are turning out products that are increasingly more believable as meat replacements, reflecting the idea there’s always room for improvement that’s worth pursuing. We also thought Purplesful Snacking’s popcorn (popped from purple corn) was the closest thing one could get to flawless movie theatre popcorn.

Global gourmand
Whole sections of the exhibit halls in the main building were dedicated to Japan, South Korea, and Argentina. However, south and southeast Asia, especially India, were front and centre, as were foods inspired by African and Middle Eastern recipes. The condiments from Grillo’s Pickles, Fabulish, Saucy Lips, Bone Sucking Sauces, Ayo’s West African Foods, Mr Bing, Maya Kaimal Foods, and Maazah opened up a whole new world on dips and spreads that could make even routine sandwiches, raw vegetables, and other staple foods exciting. The quality of Indian offerings, from simmer sauces to heat-and-eat offerings (the Spice Tailor/Sharwood’s, Deep, Pure Indian Foods) approach the vibrant flavours of restaurant fare, and companies like Black Mamba and Ayo West African Foods have us excited for the expansion of what awaits in our grocer’s freezer.
Mushroom magic
Meet this year’s super food, mushrooms. While it’s been used as a meat substitute for a while, different strains of the functional fungi have turned up in everything from supplements, to foodstuffs, to drinks and flavour enhancement. Key brands: Host Defense Mushrooms, Windy City Mushrooms, Fungie’s Herbal Treasure Bioengineering, 50/50 Foods, Meati, Urbani Truffles, Malama Mushrooms, Forage Kombucha, and several coffee lines.
Honey, I’m home!
Even with an enduring controversy over whether honey is vegan and if sourcing it is ethical, the multitude of products using honey supports the arguement we need to take better care of the world’s bee population because of honey’s health benefits and bigger ramifications of their impact on ecosystems throughout the world. Honey, with more sweetness than sting, was everywhere: Honey Stinger, Honey2O, Hive to Table Honey Farms, Taylor Pass Honey, Edgemont Honey, Honey Smoked Fish Company, Honey Mama’s.
Kiwis in flight!
Speaking of honey, the mānuka movement (Wedderspoon Mānuka Honey, Melora Mānuka, Honey Droplet New Zealand Ltd.) is still in full force for its medicinal and beauty benefits. However, dairy and meat products are getting the spotlight, too (New Zealand Grass Fed by Southern Pastures, 100% Organic New Zealand, Lewis Road Creamery).


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *