Natural Products Expo West 2019
Natural Products Expo West 2019 was another one for the books, boasting over 86,000 attendees from 136 countries. There were a staggering 3,600 exhibitors at the show, 600 of which were first-time exhibitors. (More show stats here.)
We were excited to see a plant-based brand, Hakuna Banana, win this year’s Natural Products Business School’s Pitch-Slam competition. At the Pitch-Slam, Chef Chew (winner of the 2018 Expo East Pitch-Slam, where CEO Daniel Karsevar served as his mentor) discussed the opportunities that come with winning the Pitch Slam, as well as his advice for new entrepreneurs.
Trending at the Show: Eat More Plants
Natural Products Expo West is a fantastic place for trend spotting, and New Hope Network’s content and research team tracked 9 emerging trends at this year’s show. Our favorite was – you guessed it – the Eat More Plants trend. And given the incredible growth we are seeing in plant-based – with sales of plant-based alternatives up 20% in 2018 – it is no surprise that companies are capitalizing on this opportunity.
New Hope says of the trend, “As more consumers begin to understand the benefits of eating plants, natural brands offer delicious solutions to trim meat consumption and boost the attractiveness of plants ranging from fruits and vegetables to legumes, mushrooms, nuts, and more.” Also on the sustainability front, we were glad to see that “Responsible Sourcing” and “Responsible Packaging” made the trend list as well.
CEO Daniel Karsevar Spoke on “Growing the Plant-Based Market”
CEO Daniel Karsevar gave an illuminating talk on Growing the Plant-Based Market, which focused on the trends in plant-based food and beverage. Daniel spoke about these trends and the innovations we are seeing through a culinary lens, with a focus on biodiversity of ingredients and whole foods. His talk offered clear and actionable insights into the direction in which plant-based food is headed and how to get ahead of the curve. The speech was well received as an insightful look at the rapidly growing plant-based industry.
Other speakers at the event included Leilani Münter, Michele Simon of PBFA, and Melissa Cash of Kellogg (speaking for Morningstar Farms). The event offered a wide array of perspectives on the plant-based space – from vegan race car driving to policy updates related to plant-based foods to Morningstar’s plan to go totally plant-based by 2021. Thank you to Jenna Blumenfeld, Network Senior Editor at New Hope, and the rest of the New Hope team for organizing the event.
Visiting the Improved Nature Booth
We were so happy to see our client Improved Nature’s booth come together so spectacularly for the show. The booth was the culmination of months of work with Improved Nature, which involved a total rebrand of their company. It certainly paid off! Chef Keith Darling was busy cooking up a number of delicious dishes at the booth, and the PBS team stopped by more than once to see the team and grab a bite to eat.
Our Plant-Based Investor Pitch Breakfast
We partnered with GlassWall Syndicate at Expo West to host our annual Plant-Based Investor Pitch Breakfast, which was the biggest event of its kind yet and a great success.
Over one hundred plant-based brands from five countries applied for the event, and through an intensive vetting process, thirty-nine brands were selected to participate. Forty investors signed up to meet with these groundbreaking plant-based companies.
We are thrilled to report that 55% of the brands chosen to participate in the event were founded by women. In an industry that is often male-dominated, it is heartening to see women founders at the forefront of innovation and growth in this space.
The event met with great reception, and we were excited to facilitate these vital meetings for brands seeking capital. We are grateful to GlassWall Syndicate for their partnership in the event.