This year’s Expo West at the Anaheim Convention Centre saw over 3,000 exhibitors showcasing their natural products and solutions to international buyers and retailers.
There was a strong focus this year on links with agriculture and farming, with several talks on sustainability, biodiversity, and supply chains.
Live filmed interviews took place in the centre of the convention hall, where visitors were encouraged to listen in on discussions with farmers and suppliers from all over the world. This stressed the importance of strong relationships between brands and farmers in order to retain sustainable supply chains for future generations.
US consumers are becoming highly savvy about organic produce, and the demand for it was evident at Expo West. Whether vendors were exhibiting new ingredients, plant-based protein products, or even confectionery, the status of organic prevailed.
Other themes observed included new approaches to reusing crops, as companies are now interested in how to reduce waste while creating innovative ingredients. This includes using the entirety of plants and reusing crops that would otherwise be discarded to extract ingredients such as sweeteners.
Approaches to supply chains are also evolving, with a need for ‘vertical’ supply chains becoming more important. Vertical supply chains are rising in popularity as this reduces the gap between the supplier and manufacturer.
This points to the idea that manufacturers are increasing their knowledge about where products originate from, with vertical supply chains allowing them to educate themselves more on this topic and enhance transparency.
Networking events such as the community breakfast on Thursday 7th March enabled exhibitors and buyers to connect with one another outside of the actual convention, which forged valuable relationships and discussions.
Timetabled discussions encompassed further topics covering how to navigate the hemp and CBD space, marketing to a changing consumer base, and how climate change will impact on organics. Speakers included experts in consumer research and leaders of relevant companies to bring a holistic sense of understanding of the future of the organic food and beverage industry.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019
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