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Delivery innovation on display at Expo West

Natural Products Expo West 2022
Companies are seeking to meet consumers’ desires for new delivery formats judging by product introductions at Expo West, the largest US showcase for natural and organic products.

In the past three years, consumers have continued to seek innovative ways to meet their nutritional needs. And as Natural Products Expo West returned to Anaheim California for its first in-person experience since the event was cancelled on the eve of opening its doors in 2020, CPG companies showed they’ve been listening. Across the aisles, as more than 55,000 members of the global natural products industry explored new products, unique products were on display to help get great nutrition to consumers in new ways.

While bars may not be new on the product front, there were an increasing number that were highlighting clean formulations, minimal ingredients, and targeted formulation. Micronutrient delivery was the point of differentiation for Healright, with four flavors of dense bars that deliver 20+ essential vitamins and minerals plus a proprietary fiber blend. The bars were developed by scientists from USDA and the Children’s Hospital & Research Center at Oakland (CA).  Mid-Day Squares showcased its ‘functional chocolate,’ a line of bars without preservatives; outside the fridge, they have a five-day shelf life. Product varieties included Almond Crunch, Peanut Butta, and Fudge Yah, each with ingredients such as fava bean protein, sorghum flakes and Jerusalem artichoke powder. Protein was also available in a pop-able format, with Made In Nature’s Power PPUFFs, a protein-centric take on Malteasers made with Fair Trade chocolate, crispy protein, and flavors like Sea Salt and Birthday Cake.

Similarly, beverages were moving into center stage for nutrient delivery; taste wasn’t necessarily the top consideration, but several did marry the benefits and flavour. Enesis USA debuted its Amunizer line of Body Defense carbonated beverages with a focus on immune support. With botanical ingredients such as forsythia and lonicera, probiotics, and antioxidant vitamins and minerals, the beverages also tap into awareness of other healthy ingredients with flavors such as Apple Cider and Lemon Ginger. Another beverage—positioned as a supplement—was Biolyte, with positioning as ‘The IV in a Bottle;’ formulated by a physician, the three flavors include electrolytes, sugars, and liver detoxifiers such as milk thistle and gluconolactone.

Hydration was also coming via powders, with Recess delivering powders that highlight magnesium L-threonate, passion flower, L-theanine, and electrolytes—available in tubs and stick packs. Ultima Replenisher also offered tubs and stick-packs of its sugar-free electrolyte mix, including ‘Mocktini’ flavors like Pina Colada or Peach Bellini. Taking a slightly different approach was Bala, with a line of hydration powders that include papain and bromelain plus turmeric. Developed by a California husband and wife doctor team, adding the powder to water activates the enzymes; taken between meals, there may be benefits to inflammation and joint support.

Gummies weren’t a new delivery format, but certainly could be seen throughout the expo hall. Companies were getting into different application areas. Enzymedica, for example, is now offering deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) in a German chocolate-flavored gummy format, delivering 400 mg of DGL/serving. Positioned to strengthen and protect the gut, as well as address occasional heartburn, chewing the gummies activates the DGL, delivering actives faster. Similarly, Gaia Herbs has focused for years on traceability and product formulations, and at Expo West called out multiple new formulations in gummy format. Products included Black Elderberry gummies in children’s and adult formulas; Turmeric gummies in two different dosage levels, and made with certified organic turmeric; and new additions to the sleep and stress line with Relax (passionflower, Holy Basil, lemon balm), Sleep (ashwagandha, passionflower, reishi, jujube) and Ashwagandha gummies.

Editor’s note: Visitors to Vitafoods Europe—set for 10 to 12 May in Geneva Switzerland—will find not only ingredients, but a range of service providers, contract manufacturers and private label companies supporting innovative product development and go-to-market strategy.

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