The WeStock team just got back from the final edition of Expo East in Philadelphia and left us buzzing with excitement and anticipation for the future of the food and beverage industry, as it tends to do.
As we walked the floors, we couldn't help but notice several prominent trends specific to food and beverage products. From Asian-inspired flavors to alternative sweeteners, let's dive into the biggest trends we observed at this year's Expo East show.
1. Asian-Inspired Flavors
One of the standout trends at Expo East 2023 was the prominence of Asian-inspired flavors. It's evident that consumers are becoming more adventurous with their palates, seeking unique tastes from around the world. From ube to yuzu, these unique flavors are making their way into a wide range of products, from snacks to beverages.
Brands are capitalizing on the depth and complexity of Asian cuisine, delivering exciting taste experiences to satisfy the adventurous foodie in all of us.
2. Alternative Sweeteners
As health-conscious consumers continue to prioritize reduced sugar consumption, alternative sweeteners are experiencing a major surge in popularity. Expo East 2023 unveiled a diverse array of options, from monk fruit and stevia to allulose, along with innovative blends that provide sweetness without the accompanying guilt.
These alternatives are making waves in various domains, whether it's in beverages, baked goods, or snacks, redefining the way we satisfy our sweet cravings while maintaining a healthier diet.
However, the rise of alternative sweeteners isn't without controversy. What some consider a blessing, others view as a curse, making this trend a hotly debated topic. For those who prefer to avoid sweeteners altogether, options like medjool dates provide a natural, unprocessed alternative that aligns more closely with their preferences.
3. Alt Chips
Another huge trend we've seen not only at Expo East but everywhere else, as well, is this idea of alternative chips. Some people just don't want to give up snacking and we don't blame them which is why we are absolutely loving this influx of alternative snack options. Specifically, these alternative chips, made from ingredients like quinoa, fruit, or seaweed, offer a healthier and more diverse snacking experience.
Make sure to check out brands like Amazi Foods and Ashapops to get your alt-chips fix!
4. Ready-To-Eat Meals
The fast-paced lifestyles of modern consumers have fueled the demand for convenient, yet healthy meal options. Expo East 2023 showcased an array of ready-to-eat meals that catered to a wide range of dietary preferences, including vegan, gluten-free, paleo and keto-friendly options. But these meals aren't just convenient; they also prioritize quality ingredients and nutrition, which is why certain brands like Brekki Ready-To-Eat Oats and Fillo’s Walking Tamales have gained so much popularity recently. Ultimately they ensure that busy individuals can maintain a balanced diet without sacrificing taste or health.
5. Alternative Milks
It seems we've had the same leaders in alternative milks for quite some time now but that might be changing very soon. With so many environmental controversies with almond milk and health controversies with oat milk, it's nice to see people getting innovative with these plant-based options. From Treehouse Naturals Pecan Milk and Elari Tigernut Root Milkhe diversity in alternative milks seen at Expo East this year was very exciting and we are eager to see what pops up next!
6. Guilt-free candy
Among the exciting trends that took center stage at Expo East 2023, one that truly stood out was the emergence of healthy gummies. Gummy candies, once synonymous with sugary indulgence, have undergone a remarkable transformation to meet the demands of health-conscious consumers.These gummies offer a perfect balance of sweetness without the guilt, appealing to those seeking genuine, wholesome ingredients in their snacks. Whether you are looking for a vegan, low sugar or made with real fruit option, you no longer have to look very far. From Better Sour to TidBiTs and more, this product type has seen remarkable growth over the recent years and we don't see an end date in sight.
The food and beverage industry is in a constant state of evolution, and Expo East 2023, along with various other related trade shows, has shown us its incredible value when it comes to the CPG/retail space.
As we bid farewell to Expo East, we can't help but feel nostalgic about the discoveries and connections made at this event over the years. And although we will miss this annual Philly excursion, we eagerly anticipate Expo West in the spring, where new trends are sure to take rise.