Chances are you have fermented products on your shelves, and for good reason, people want them. According to Packaged Facts, 53% of consumers are looking for bold flavors in food and 20% are seeking out international food.
For two years running, Paleo has topped Google’s most searched list for diets (1, 2) and it has frequently been boosted into the public eye by celebrity followers like golfer Phil Mickelson (3), and more recently, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush (4). With an estimated three million individuals who follow the Paleo diet (5), this passionate community of consumers and food companies is growing—the number of Paleo-positioned products rose by 178% in 2014 (5)—and doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.
Traction. 2015 was the year natural products gained significant traction outside their core channels of distribution. Overall, natural and organic product sales grew a stunning 14.9%, adding $9.367 billion to total $72.4 billion in sales, and reaching 11.75% of total U.S. food store sales. Perhaps more noteworthy is this fact: total U.S. food store sales grew 3.1%, adding $19.1 billion; meaning natural and organic products growth made up nearly half (49%) of this number. At this rate, the natural products industry is on track to reach one-third of total food store sales within the next generation, or $500 billion of the then $1.5 trillion U.S. food store business.
There has hardly been a better time to eat as a vegan or vegetarian. Whether consumers are longtime followers, new converts or “flexitarians” dabbling in the meat or animal byproduct free lifestyle, they now have more foods and flavors to choose from.
Some 25,000 industry members came together in Baltimore, MD, for the 30th annual Natural Products Expo East tradeshow and conference. This year’s event boasted 1,363 exhibiting companies, including 400 new brands that launched at the show. Here are four observations from the tradeshow from WholeFoods editors.