Wellness Expert Training Class Attends Expo West 2017

March 15, 2017

On March 10-11, 46 Daymon associates attended Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California as a part of their enrollment in the Wellness Expert Training Class. The group was led by instructor Carl Jorgensen, Director of Global Thought Leadership – Wellness. Expo West is the world’s largest natural and organic products tradeshow, with 3,000 exhibitors from around the world and 80,000 attendees expected this year.

During the first day of the show, associates were split into six different groups and were each given a theme that had to do with a trend in the wellness space. The group was to report back their findings on their specific theme at the end of their show exploration. This would give them perspective and focus, and would also lead to learning some of today’s most impactful health trends.

Group 1: Plant-Based Proteins

There are more and more food products coming out that use plant proteins such as beans and peas. Here are observations from the group of what they saw at the show:

  • Plant-based dyes were quite popular, using the color power of plants like spirulina
  • Matcha was a hot item, used in teas and other products
  • Plant-based protein powders were everywhere, and used peas and hemp as their base
  • Even well-known brands like Burt’s Bees were expanding into this new area, introducing a plant-based protein powder themselves
  • One associate expressed her delight at the trend of using real, crystallized roses and other flowers as toppers for baked goods

Group 2: Probiotics

Consumer perception has changed surrounding the discussion of digestive issues, so what products have been born out of this new conversation?

  • Atrantil was one product highlighted by Group 2 in their report, due to its claims that it moves gut flora down the intestinal tract to the lower intestine, proving more effective than regular probiotics
  • Black Living Water was highlighted by an associate who enjoyed finding a probiotic product that wasn’t yogurt or kombucha
  • Progurt is a company that provides kits that will allow yourself or your family to make your probiotic products at home
  • Apple Cider Vinegar was a big star at Expo West, and one associate remarked that this mirrored a surge in popularity of drinking vinegar in Taiwan
  • Probiotics for pets was also a noticeable trend
  • Probiotic skin care products that replace the beneficial microorganisms on the skin

Group 3: Transparency

This group was challenged to find examples of authentic brand storytelling, and there were many examples to choose from.

  • The group remarked that it seemed easier for food products to tell their stories, but much harder for health and beauty products to do the same
  • For companies selling teff (an ancient grain) products, certain brands offered to supply information on specific bags and where they came from
  • The A2 Milk Company from Australia was highlighted as having an incredible story about their A2 cows and their overall mission, but the group felt that it could have been told in much bolder, more effective way
  • The Epic brand was also applauded for having strong storytelling and having a clear mission statement: “By looking to the diets and lifestyles of our ancestors, we believe that evolution has much to teach us about human optimization and healthful living.”

Group 4: Ancient Wisdom

Food is medicine, and more consumers are looking to use it in this way. How is this trend showing itself in today’s products?

  • Ancient grains had much of the show spotlight at Expo West, and companies focused on the packaging and “conveniencing” of these grains so consumers can make them easily and while on-the-go
  • Turmeric seemed to be in most products, including pastas and soups
  • One associate discovered charcoal-activated toothpaste that turns toothbrushes black but makes teeth white
  • Many products used the term “ancient” in their marketing to create positive messaging
  • Millet and sorghum were two ancient grains that were used in foods like “millet tots,” similar in taste and texture to tater tots

Group 5: Sustainability

This group was asked to look at many facets that fall under the sustainability umbrella, including social equity, fair trade, climate impact, and using the whole animal, plant or farm.

  • The term “biodynamic” was popular, introducing the concept of biodynamic farming where there are no pesticides, herbicides or other toxic ingredients used, and the farm is viewed as a living being that should be self-sufficient
  • Many products were created from the “waste” of other products, supporting the thought that even scraps can be valuable
  • “Veganic” agriculture was a new phrase, in the same vein as “biodynamic,” described as a way of farming where no animal inputs are used in the soil

Group 6: Nature Knows Best

Mother Nature is always the expert when it comes to health and wellness!

  • Associates noted that saying a product was “junk-free” was a new marketing message they had not previously noticed
  • Vital proteins were in vogue, specifically in the many bone broth-based products
  • Many foods had been packaged in a DIY structure, including tofu
  • Himalayan Salt was getting a lot of attention, a natural source of seasoning
  • There was also a large group discussion about the term “natural” and what it means in Europe opposed to the more relaxed definition in the United States

The overall findings of the class will be eventually organized and used in a grand report that will be released in the near future.

Daymon associates found the experience of Expo West to be quite valuable. Josephine Teal, Business Manager at Daymon, said, “At Expo West, I got exposure outside of the fresh world and into the health and wellness trends in the grocery industry.” Christopher Lovekin, Junior Analyst, also remarked, “My favorite part of the show is seeing the evolution of organic and natural products, and finding out what exactly goes into these products and watching how many new ideas are popping up.”

In November 2016, the 12-month class program was created for Daymon associates to expand their knowledge of the health and wellness industries while also offering in-depth training on organic, natural, clean label and more from the perspective of consumers, retailers and producers. The classes will continue to take place via webinar for the remainder of the year until October, when the class will meet in-person again in Stamford, CT.