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A Mosh Pit of Natural and Organic Products

Our first ExpoWest, over a decade ago, felt overwhelming near to a panic attack level. We spent three days in a sea of people so deep it was hard to get ten feet without pressing through a pinch point between two exploding backpacks.

If you were feeling a bit of FOMO last week when the world gathered around all things natural and organic, you’d be right in doing so. ExpoWest 2022 was back in action again. As you looked across the halls it was like seagrass, as people moved in and out, back and forth and front to back. We waded in and came out better for it certainly. Seeing old friends we hadn’t hugged or shaken hands in nearly three years, it was an odd emotional mix of comfort and exhilaration.

We, of course, spend our creative energies asking each founder, leader or random person what patterns they are seeing. We also walk the show with curious ears, listening to the patterns as if our Instagram sound is picking everything up and trying to convert and feed us ads. Here are some of the most fascinating trends we recognized this year, not entirely in order:

  1. Trace and transparency: Being able to see where our products (beauty, food, cleaning, etc) came from and how it got here was a loud voice in the halls. This was paired up with a push for democratizing data, by how stories are shared on packages and in stores.

  2. Packaging innovation: The move to have packaging innovation walk alongside product innovation is clearly becoming real. From efforts in sustainability, reducing carbon footprint, usability in form factor and educating the shopper on pack; many brands were pushing innovation in packaging design.

  3. Regenerative Ag: This certainly isn’t new, but it is growing in the cultural conversation. It showed up in a variety of ways and the exact language may yet to shuffle itself out, but the movement is certainly a boulder heading down the cultural mountain, and quickly at that.

  4. Plant parity: Yes, it is no longer a sacrifice to eat plant based as the taste has hit parity with animal based products, as we all hoped it would. The plants are celebrating, or maybe that’s the cows?

  5. The NA rager: It isn’t just about non-alcoholic beverages and mixers, this trend is hitting full Twenty One Pilots mosh pit level with the drummer surfing the pit and everything. NA is now Way Okay.

  6. The code is back: Yes, thank you Covid for a QR code resurgence that’s enhancing the way we communicate brand, storytelling, multiple languages and product attributes. We’re still surprised we didn’t end up with one tattooed on someone’s asterisk.

  7. Consummate the marriage: The marriage of digital and physical experiences is a done deal, they’ve consummated it and now the honeymoon of new ideas is in full swing. There will certainly be a pitter patter of little new ideas coming soon.

  8. Deconstruction and disintegration: New brands are stripping away the extraneous and showing more of the real people, products and origin points. This includes the “Ugly” brands in chips, fruits and a variety of other categories.

  9. Certifications, ghosts of Christmas Past: While just three years ago, these were clogging up packages and pushing their way into everything, now they are just nightmares that require reprinting. These ghosts of our past are becoming so much less trusted to the consumer and therefore brands as well.

None of this top ten stuff, this list is one better because it is one less. A lesson in a healthier lifestyle, number ten would just be wasted calories. Enjoy the list, share it with friends who also missed out. Send any you saw as well, we’d welcome more conversations and perspectives.

The real good news is we could see all the happy faces again. Even if more than a few of them were in the middle of chewing when they smiled our way…

Thank you,

The Capsule Team

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