Expo West 2024 Food & Beverage Trends

By Sara Behrendt and Eric Eisenberg

March 19, 2024

The colors, smells and tastes of Natural Products Expo West are something to behold. As usual, the Active Ingredients team dove into the wonder of it all (with 70,000 fellow food lovers) and resurfaced with our top trends for 2024. Here's what we discovered:

1. A Frenzy of Fungi

Mushroom brands have been growing big time in recent Expos, and 2024 continued this trend with fascinating new categories. We experienced mushrooms in all forms (well, many forms, anyway): Mushroom coffee, mushroom jerky, mushroom chips, mushroom tea, mushroom bars. Moku’s plant-based mushroom jerky was a favorite of our team.

A few brands that stood out: Everyday Dose, Om Mushroom Superfoods, Moku, Wise Bar, Four Sigmatic, Meati, Melting Forest

2. A Whole Lotta Good Brands

Another continuing trend from Expos past, we continue to see brands using good” as a key word in their brand name. While we love good in our food, we think the market may have reached a saturation point with this naming trend.

A few brands that stood out: Goodles, Good Good, Good! Snacks, Goodsam Small Farms, HowGood, GoodBelly, GoodPop, Feel Good Foods — and many other good ones.

3. Focused Functional Foods

Yes, functional foods loaded with adaptogens, probiotics, prebiotics, antioxidants, vitamins, protein and botanicals have also been trending for a few years. But this year we noticed more functional foods targeting specific benefits: brain health, focus, energy, immunity — and a particular increase on menopause and women’s health.

A few brands that stood out: Wise Bar, Charlotte’s Web, MenoWell, Winged

4. Bees & Honey Were a Buzz

It felt like everywhere we turned there were products buzzing with bees and honey as a key part of the brand marketing strategy. There was even a honey without the bee.

A few brands that stood out: Bee Keeper Coffee, Hive₂O, Local Hive HOney, Savannah Bee Company, BEE&YOU, Bee Bella Lip Balm, Busy Bee Raw Honey, Mellody (plant-based).

5. Embracing Death

Yes, it’s possible this trend stood out clearer because the Liquid Death booth was directly across the aisle from the Corpse Reviver booth (aka, our team’s new favorite hydration libation). But, either way, we noticed multiple brands using death to make a strong statement.

A few brands that stood out: Liquid Death, Corpse Reviver, Death Wish Coffee Co, Drink Weird (Grateful Dead Yerba Mate)

6. Oh Sweet Dates

Given how yummy they are, we aren’t shocked by this one either, but it has to be said: dates were all over Expo West this year. It’s the healthier, natural sweetener that everyone loves.

A few brands that stood out: Joolies, Wise Bar, Daties Dates, Holi Scoops, Nature’s Bakery, Date Fix

7. A Packaging Sum that’s Greater than its Parts

Did we see this more than twice? No. But did we love it both times? Yes we did. We were moved by packaging that visually connects on and across the shelf at point of purchase. A very elegant move.

A few brands that stood out: Ithaca Hummus, Better Buckwheat

8. Water, Water Everywhere

Fizzy, flat, coconut, new forms of packaging. Hydration is in, baby.

A few brands that stood out: Hint, TopoChico, LaCroix, Harmless Harvest, Karma Water, Liquid Death, Corpse Reviver, Caliwater, 100 Coconuts, Drink Weird, H2OPS Sparkling Hop Water

9. Everyone’s Favorite Oxymoron: Healthy Soda

Poppi already took soda to a new level at the SuperBowl this year. We’re only seeing that trend continue with more and more brands popping up (see what we did there?), or extending their lines to capture the trend.

A few brands that stood out: Poppi, Olipop, Nixie, Tepache, Hawaiian Soda Co, Happy Pop!, Perfy

10. Delicious, and Beautifully Designed, Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Here’s a thing: While beautiful packaging can be found all across the beverage category, the elegance seems to reach new heights with nonalcoholic spirits. Not only did the tasting experiences impress us, but the artistry of the packaging had us staring at the labels as if they were hung on museum walls.

A few brands that stood out: Parch, Abstinence, For Bitter For Worse, Hella Cocktail Co., Wilderton

Bonus Trend: The Case of the Disappearing Plant-based Meats

Plant-based meats were all the rage at the 2023 Expo. In 2024… they seemed to go out to pasture, at least a little. On the flip side, plant-based milks, creamers, and yogurts are still thriving.