I recently had the pleasure of attending the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, California where I was able to connect with our natural, organic and healthy-lifestyle industry partners. It was a wonderful opportunity to find inspiration from the industry’s greatest minds. I compiled my top takeaways from the event below:

01. Plant-based alternatives are poised for exponential growth

Plant-based alternatives were certainly the biggest buzz of the event. These products aren’t new, but they are improved. I personally tried more plant-based “chicken nuggets” at the event than I care to admit – but I can confirm – there are some delicious products out there. The growth of plant-based products will accelerate rapidly as these products become more widely available, consumer awareness grows, prices decrease and the improved health and sustainability attributes gain traction. Bloomberg Intelligence released a report which revealed that global retail sales of plant-based food alternatives may reach $162 billion by 2030 — up from $29.4 billion in 2020.

02. Sales of natural and organic products are on the rise

Another undeniable area of growth is the natural and organic products industry. As the industry grows in market size, so does its influence on the broader food manufacturing and CPG landscape. In fact, natural and organic products are growing at a faster rate than the CPG industry average. This is attributed to increasing consumer interest in health and wellbeing. Consumers are moving away from fad diets and toward healthy lifestyles. Nutrition Business Journal estimates that sales of natural and organic foods are set to exceed $300 billion by 2023, and $400 billion by 2030.

03. Sustainability remains a top priority

Sustainability remained a major discussion topic throughout the week-long event. Many brands expressed their commitment to bringing about meaningful environmental change, from improving water conservation, developing more sustainable packaging and reducing their impact on climate change. Sustainability practices both big and small will have a profound effect on our future. Not only will sustainability increase the health of our planet, but it will also increase the health of a brand. A Deloitte survey found that 45% of Gen-Z consumers stopped purchasing their favorite brand after discovering it was not eco-friendly.

Aki - Expo West Event
Here are some standout exhibits that I visited with my colleague Kevin Zoss.

04. Ecommerce is escalating

I had several great discussions surrounding the rise of ecommerce and how it impacts a brand’s marketing strategies. Some brands I spoke to said that ecommerce presents various challenges that they need to navigate. Others said that it has presented a significant opportunity for them to take advantage of the lower barriers to entry and the rapidly growing market. New Hope Network found that over half of new brands in the natural products space launched online. It’s clear that as the natural products industry grows, so will the rapidly evolving world of digital commerce.

05. Consumers want a personalized advertising experience

The growing natural products market is great for consumers, but it presents a challenge for many brands that aim to cut through the clutter. A proven way to do so is to capture consumer attention through personalized advertisements, which we showcased through our award-winning campaign with PepsiCo. PepsiCo partnered with Aki to drive awareness of its Off The Eaten Path veggie snack line. We discovered that personalized rich media drove 110% higher engagement than non-personalized rich media on average, while personalized creative drove 84% higher engagement than non-personalized creative. This is one example of many that I was able to share with my industry peers at the event and I was grateful for all of the campaign success stories that were also shared with me.

I had many informative discussions with brands and retailers at this Natural Products Expo West event. My main takeaway above all else was that this space is filled with innovation and opportunity. As consumer behaviors evolve and interest in natural products rises, brands can take advantage of the industry’s growth. If you would like to learn how Aki can support you in achieving a better advertising experience for consumers and increased lift on campaign metrics, download our one-sheet below or feel free to contact me directly with any questions: cv@a.ki.