2019 Expo East Observations
October 14, 2019
Consumers are increasingly looking for functional products rich in proteins, fiber, and electrolytes as part of their everyday health routine. Protein and fiber have historically been found in foods naturally and as added ingredients, but we’re seeing an increase in beverages offering the same benefits. This newer format offers a refreshing alternative to the traditionally dense bars and powders, as well as superfood smoothies.
With many U.S. states adopting legal cannabis policies, and CBD legal nationwide, it’s no surprise that hemp and CBD products were in abundance at 2019 Expo East. Everything from skin creams to food and beverage to supplements and topical oils, there doesn’t seem to be a single category impervious to the “green rush”.
This mainstream acceptance of hemp products has led to explosive category growth, however the staying power of these products remains to be seen. Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean it’s right.
Say Goodbye to Branded Colors
We’ve witnessed a dramatic change in the way brands communicate with color over the past few years, and there’s no better example of that than what’s been happening in the natural and organic territories.
In the past, it was common for brands to “own” a color, and then segment at shelf with second, third, and fourth tier color strategies to differentiate categories, varietals, and modifiers. While this intended to create visual cues to aid the shopper, it results in a busy and confusing shelf.
Brands are moving away from confusing color strategies and opting instead for big, bold hits of solid color, creating an appealing and shop-able shelf presence. The results are dramatic.
Brands with a Higher Purpose
A growing (and welcome) trend developing over the years has seen brands focus on social and environmental change as a primary goal. Long-standing, established brands like Patagonia have been doing this for decades, but we’re beginning to see more and more entrepreneurs tired of corporate apathy take matters into their own hands by empowering communities and protecting the planet through a variety of means. In an age where people signal individuality through brand preference, it’s an intriguing idea to think of a brand as the catalyst for social change, and a powerful platform to reach the masses.