Natural Products Expo West: Simple Ingredients Make for Winning Campaigns

March 6, 2019

Natural Products Expo West, the #1 show for natural, organic and purpose-driven brands, is upon us. From trend-spotting and workshops to taste-testing and networking, the show is nothing short of inspiring, which might explain why I’ve been going for more than a decade now.

I love making my way from Chicago to Anaheim and taking myself out of my day-to-day routine (full-time, tired, working mom of three girls here). I attend each year on behalf of Ketchum Cultivate and our natural and organic food clients.

I remember my first Expo West when the show was much smaller—a simpler time when there wasn’t a long wait list to get an exhibitor booth. And while it’s energizing to see the Expo flourish and so many brands taking natural, organic and health mainstream, I get a bit misty-eyed when thinking about how many of these brands will fail. I liken this feeling to the Google Trends graphic below, where you see a spike in Expo West chatter only to see it wane shortly thereafter. Many of the brands or line extensions introduced here will do the same: invest at the onset, see a spike, not sustain it, and then see interest wane.

Natural Products Expo West

I get it. It can all feel overwhelming to food makers as well as the consumers they covet. It’s hard to tell what’s a trend (hint: keto) vs. what’s here to stay (hint: clean label). The truth is, you don’t need to chase anything if you craft products that meet the core tenants of what this community is looking for: simplicity. Simplicity sells. Why? How? And what does that look like? Ask Ketchum Cultivate…

  • We understand the functional benefits of biodynamic pasta sauce and where clean label is going next (hint: it’ll be things not even on the label like nanoparticles and endocrine-disruptors).
  • We may be in PR by trade for natural and organic change-makers, but we’re also driving buzz among influencers and helping brands better understand and navigate through ingredient hot-button issues by way of our proprietary Heat Map approach.

Every spring we get this sense of renewal after Expo West. It separates the brands that’ll make it from those that won’t. It’s incredibly rewarding to work in the natural and organic industry and, while there will always be winners and losers, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Alison leads Ketchum’s Cultivate offering. She is a registered dietitian with a masters in nutrition.