joyful plate brand insights
Natural Products Expo West -March, 2016
   
I've been going to Expo West for nearly six years now, on a mission to find the next best brand in the natural space.  Coming from a big brand background, this show seemed altogether new and different in terms of its relaxed energy and personal touch. Today, Expo West has evolved into a branding extravaganza that the big companies no doubt want to play in or buy into.  Big food is becoming more transparent and relevant, and boutique food is branding better than ever- and consumers are the winners.
 
This year, instead of focusing on new brands on the fringe ....I thought it would be interesting to reflect on brands that were in their infancy a few back and have matured into brands that offer more uses and experiences today.
 
Evolving a brand strategically takes courage and discipline. 
What does the brand stand for-beyond its introductory benefit? What new products will bring users to the franchise and not cannibalize the base business? Does the name and personality  have reach? Is your brand confident enough to go where consumers might not expect? 

(for more information, please click on the brand title to websites)
 
Meze Dip
This is a really smart next brand move. I love to play in the kitchen with Greek yogurt, making dips with  Dijon mustard, honey, olive oil and more. So when I saw this line of Chobani Meze Dips in flavors like Three P epper Salsa and Chili Lime, it made all the sense in the world to me. For more  scoop, click here from PRNewswire: Chobani encourages yogurt consumption throughout the day.

 Fabanaise
How do you say cool? Fabanaise. Cheers, Sir Kensington-good for you.  It's always a bit of a rebel move to create an alternative to your base business. Fabanaise is the latest chapter in this brand's story. In search of a vegan mayo, the CEO asked his team to discover an eggless solution, and they came back to him with aquafaba-chickpea cooking water-a wonderful emulsifier. Voila! A vegan mayo was born (and what a perfect name). I dipped it onto the generous cut french fries they were serving at the show, and I must say I enjoyed the light taste even more than mayo. Fabulous.
 

Annie Chun is one smart lady. Known for authentic tasting ready meals and ingredients to help you cook from scratch, it would be easy to stay in that space. 

 But the snack business is appealing-and who better than Annie to offer a seaweed crisp. It's also interesting when a bigger player comes in after the smaller players have tested the waters a bit. And good for them for bringing an interesting and authentic flavor twist (Gochujang- a spicy and pungent fermented Korean condiment made from red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans). I'm always curious to see what she'll launch next. 

 

Bottom's Up
Ever since writing about the The Ginger People in 2013 and learning about all the good they do, I have been drinking their ginger juice and experimenting with fresh ginger at home. So to see this ginger soda at the show was very uplifting! For 30 years, t he Ginger People ® have dedicated themselves to promoting the virtues of ginger and bringing it to us in fun and convenient candies, tablets, juices, skincare, and now soda. Bottom's Up! 

 
 
 
Coconut Oil 
Vita Coco oil has apparently been out for a couple years, but it's the first time I've seen it at the show, and as it fits with this theme, here it is. I love the way they talk about it on their website, "Same grove, new twist..we tried something really crazy, we taught coconuts to cook!".  Organic, cold-pressed and ready to use for cooking, baking, beauty, and more.  What will Vita Coco create next?! 
 
 
 
 
Daiya 
We also wrote about this innovative Vancouver company years ago (Daiya Expo West 2012). They make dairy free delicious, and now there are more options than ever. They had one of the most impressive displays at the show, offering everything from  cheesecake to this unbelievably delicious pizza featured below. 
The pepperoni is actually made from mushrooms; you have to try it to believe it-it's a winner, and  it's dairy, wheat and soy free. Magic. 

 
Kashi 
Plant Powered Shake

Kashi "Goes Lean"-so why not smooth?! This new  plant-powered shake packs 20 grams of protein per serving, plus greens, legumes and probiotics. It's an interesting brand stretch-and perfect for GO LEAN. 
 
 
 
Thanks to the brand owners for their time and thanks to you all for reading. 
The show is serious business, but with the California vibe, it's a place where you can let your hair down and have a little fun.  Fashion designer Francisco Medavog showcased an avant-garde recycled couture dress from Bgreenfood packaging bags,  modelled by T atiana Slepova.  The show has gotten more creative than ever, I couldn't resist the opportunity to play a bit and to celebrate food and fashion.

   
Thinking about where to take your brand next?

**joyful plate would be delighted to partner with you on your next strategy project**
 
 
Copyright © 2016 -joyful plate (R) LLC. All rights reserved. Brand images are the copyright of the original owners. References to products and brands are not an endorsement, rather a point of view on food trends. Links are provided for the purpose of providing accuracy. For any edits or corrections to this information please email michelle@joyfulplate.com and we will update information as requested. Thank you.