Editor’s Note: Andrew Whitman shares his observations via newsletter with thousands of industry professionals. Notes from prior consumer products industry shows are available under the News section at www.2xManagement.com.
So Big. So Energizing. WOW! Natural Products ExpoWest, the “Super Bowl®” of the industry, clearly highlights the immense breadth, depth and growth of the $75.3 billion U.S. organic and natural products industry (according to Nutrition Business Journal). The largest show ever was held in March in Anaheim, California with record participation from more than 47,000 attendees and 3,162 exhibitors of natural and organic foods and beverages (including wine/spirits) as well as personal care, pet care, healthy home, baby products and clothing. With all this energy and positive momentum, much was new to dazzle even show veterans.
Almost two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese, according to a 2006 report from Trust for America’s Health: 32% of adults and 17% of children—levels that have more than doubled since 1980 to 17%. Environmental impacts are attributable to a significant portion of ailments including children’s allergies and adult onset diseases. The most evident theme among EXPO exhibitors was simple: It’s good for America’s children. Companies were out in full force to assist in all areas, including food, beverage, personal care and household cleaning.
Foods For Kids
As we strive to bring options to the mainstream, a leader in adult snacking is at the forefront of kid snacking.
Clif Kid. Clif Bar & Co. is well known for the Clif and Luna lines. But EXPO was the coming-out party for Clif Kid, an extension of the existing Z Bar with new flavors and a new three-flavor line of Splashers powdered drink mixes in a very cool, wave-shaped, die-cut pouch. A new form of kid snacks, Clif Kid Twisted Fruit, made primarily from organic apple purée, is “real fruit rope”: soft-enough to enjoy (no broken teeth like with some fruit leathers), equal to one serving of fruit and containing no added sugars, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. ClifBar.com
Beverages For Kids
Given the bad press associated with sugary beverages in schools, it’s not a surprise to see an explosion of healthier beverage options for kids.
Honest Kids. Most noteworthy, adult beverage innovator Honest Tea launched an Honest Kids line of organic, ready-to-drink juice drinks. Available in flavors like Berry Berry Good Lemonade, each pouch is only 40 calories (50% less than most juice drinks) and is sweetened with organic sugar cane (no high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors or flavors). Delicious and refreshing! HonestTea.com.
Pure fruit juices are often too sweet or too sugary for kids. So, parents have been watering them down. These juice-water combos have spawned a whole number of products: Some start by adding water to fruit juices while others start by adding fruit flavorings to water. EXPO brought forward many new entrants.
Crayons is a line of all-natural, refreshing beverages made with the innovative SugarGuard protection system (an all-natural, scientifically proven, specialized blend of ingredients formulated to lower the overall sugar levels of beverage products and moderate the rate of sugar absorption within the body). Available in 12-ounce bottles and 8-ounce cans (photo at top of page), Crayons contains no high fructose corn syrup and only 90 calories per can. DrinkCrayons.com.
Wateroos are naturally flavored, unsweetened water—just filtered water and natural flavors in a drink box. Wateroos.com.
Wild Waters is an all-natural, vitamin-powered water beverage available in 10-ounce bottles with a sports top. At only 63 calories per bottle, it’s perfect refreshment for active kids. DrinkWildWaters.com.
In Personal Care and Home Care
What goes on our kids and is used around them is just as important as what goes in them.
California Baby was one of the early companies to provide specific all-natural personal care for kids. More recently, however, many others have done an outstanding job of developing kid-friendly skin care and hair care products, including Love Me Baby Me and Baby Avalon Organics. CaliforniaBaby.com, LoveMeBabyMe.com and AvalonOrganics.com/baby.
For the home, the most interesting new entrant is Mother Natural all-natural cleaning products. Kids will put everything in their mouths, so making sure that toxic cleaning products are put away is very important. But, given what we’re learning about the environmental impact from chemicals, why have toxic cleaning products around the house at all? For a small company, they really cleaned up at the show! MotherNaturalClean.com.
Among the thousands of food products, there were many noteworthy ones. A few favorites:
Pop Chips are a line of potato chips, corn chips and rice chips that are lower in fat and calories than traditional options. They’re neither baked nor fried, but popped and then seasoned. The net result is a light, tasty chip that will be a hit in the marketplace. The whole bag was just barely more than some of the 100-calorie packs from other snacks. Popchips.com.
BIJA Omega Truffles. For years, women have been told to get enough calcium and to take calcium pills if needed. No one likes to take pills, so McNeil Nutritionals developed calcium chews and chocolate-covered them to create the popular Viactiv. Now Flora, the U.S. subsidiary of a German company, has a comparable solution for people who need Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Why pop fish oil pills when you can enjoy BIJA Omega Truffles? In milk, dark or white chocolate. FloraHealth.com.
More Fruit Water. It’s not just kids who want a less caloric fruit juice. If you’re The Coca-Cola® Company and own the largest fresh juice brand (Odwalla) and second largest bottled water business (Dasani), you combine them into H2Odwalla. Odwalla.com. (Tropicana has launched something similar, Tropicana Fruit Squeeze.)
Rachel’s Yogurt. Rachel’s yogurts in the U.K. are coming to the U.S. via Dean Foods. Available in the 5-flavor Essence line (e.g. Calm, featuring Plum Honey Lavender) and the 5-flavor Exotic line (e.g. Kiwi Passion Fruit Lime). Wickedly Delicious is more than just a tag line! RachelsDairy.com.
Good discoveries, good food, good show!
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