The 35th annual Natural Products Expo West—the world's largest natural, organic and healthy products event—took place this past weekend in California. The event brought together more than 71,000 industry members, including 2,700 exhibiting companies—many of those featuring food products.
It was thrilling to be there. It is a sea of natural and organic bars, snacks, beverages, meat alternatives, and so much more. But just a few hours removed from the hype, reality sets in.
Overwhelmingly, Expo West features food brands that will likely be out of reach for the average American consumer looking for healthier options. Limited distribution will be the challenge for many, but price point is also a key issue.
High-end, niche natural and organic brands are all the rage right now, with a new merger or acquisition seeming to occur nearly weekly. But many of these products target a more exclusive and affluent consumer, one who can afford to pay a 50%—or higher—premium for natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, artisanal, etc.
Therein lies the opportunity for larger, "strategic" consumer packaged goods companies. Through innovation, education, and yes, a smart acquisition here or there, they can help bring the wonders of Expo West to the masses.