From food as medicine to sustainable packaging – trendsspotting at Expo East

Long considered a core tenet of the natural products industry, new products on display highlighted how brands’ – and consumers’ – are becoming more sophisticated in their approach to ‘better-for-you’ products and sustainability. At the same time, a back-to-basics focus by several exhibitors highlighted consumer desire for simpler ingredients, like heritage grains, as well as recipes and production methods grounded in tradition for a more authentic experience.

In this episode of FoodNavigator-USA’s Soup-To-Nuts podcast​, we explore these trends as well as efforts by exhibitors to improve the planet’s health through more sustainable packaging, waste reduction and partnering with third-part certifiers to lower carbon emissions and better communicate the value of clean ingredients.

[Editor’s Note: Never miss an episode of FoodNavigator-USA’s Soup-To-Nuts podcast – subscribe​ today.] ​ ​

Food as medicine addresses physical and mental risks​ ​

Early in the pandemic when many people were desperate to fend off COVID-19 they turned in droves to foods and beverages that promised to bolster their immunity – opening the door for a broader conversation about and adoption of food as medicine.

US sales of functional foods grew more than 8% in the first year of the pandemic and 8.3% in the second to $83.7b in 2021 with the beverages, snacks and desserts leading the way, according to data from SPINS and New Hope presented at Expo east.

And interest in promising heath benefits – both physical and mental – remains high based on the number of attendees crowded around the booth of the recently launched, better-for-you soda brand Perfy, which was recently launched by Quest Nutrition Veteran Vasa Martinez.

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