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8 Key Takeaways from Natural Products Expo West 2022

Last updated: March-16,2022

8 Key Takeaways from Natural Products Expo West 2022

After two years away from Natural Products Expo West, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect—especially since our booth was on the second floor in the innovation area instead of on the main floor. I needn’t have been concerned since attendance at booths on the second floor was packed, and between meeting after meeting, a few of us took the opportunity to walk the floor both upstairs and downstairs to get a sense of what was trending. Here’s what we found.

1. Plant Proteins Have Become a Mega-trend

While this certainly includes pea protein and rice protein, it also included others, such as hemp and pumpkin seed proteins. Chickpea and cranberry proteins were also seen but to a lesser extent. All these proteins were seen in standard protein powders, but also in functional foods such as snack bars. Now consider that the value of the global plant protein market was $29.4 billion in 2020, and industry estimates are that it could surpass $162 billion by 2030, which would make up 7.7% of the global protein market. [i] 

2. Vegan-friendly Products Are Here to Stay

Consistent with the plant protein trend, vegan-friendly products in general also continue to trend. Many vegan food options were present (vegan chicken alternatives, etc.), but also vegan-friendly dietary supplements which, for the most part, aren’t hard to achieve if you make sure to use vegan forms of some key nutrients such as vitamin D3. In 2021, the size of the global vegan food market was close to $16 billion and is expected to reach a value of over $22 billion in 2025. [ii]

3. The Organic Category Will Continue to Shine

Plant proteins, vegan-friendly, and organic seem to go together—although there were certainly plenty of organic options that were non-vegan, including organic meats. Of note, there was a wide selection of organic herbs, including organic herbal teas and organic herbal extracts. The U.S. organic food market was worth $52.3 billion in 2020 and is estimated to grow to around $95.1 billion by the end of 2027. [iii]

4. Brands Must Pay Attention to Sustainable Technology

Green technology and sustainability are keen areas of interest for consumers. Many booths at Expo West showed their sustainability story in videos or printed handouts, touting the sustainability of their products and/or ingredients in their products. The global green technology and sustainability market was valued at approximately $6.9 billion in 2018 and is anticipated to grow with a healthy growth rate of more than 27% over the forecast period 2019-2026. [iv]

5. Consumer Interest in Collagen Isn't Losing Any Steam

Given the plethora of research demonstrating collagen’s effectiveness for skin and joint health, this does not come as a surprise. There were certainly numerous products at Expo, including the common bovine, porcine, chicken, and marine/fish sources—although there seems to be an uptick in marine/fish sources. The global collagen market size was valued at $ 8.36 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.0% from 2020 to 2028—and the global marine hydrolyzed collagen market size is expected to reach $1.70 billion by 2028. [v]

6. Water is an Up and Coming Category

I was interested to see many different options for bottled and canned water at Expo West. These included flat water, sparkling water, alkaline water, flavored water, and functional water that contained nutraceuticals—although I seriously doubt that few if any provided a clinically relevant dose of any nutraceutical. The extensive selection of waters is consistent with the global bottled market size which is expected to reach $319.8 billion this year. [vi]

7. Pay Attention to Alternative Delivery Formats Besides Gummies

Absolutely nobody is surprised by the growth of gummies as a dietary supplement delivery form. In addition, while at Expo West, I saw other alternative delivery forms, including functional foods such as soft chews, bars, cups (e.g., Reese’s type), chocolate balls (e.g., malt ball type), bite-size chocolates. Aside from the global gummy supplement market, which experts predict will reach $9.3 billion in value by 2026 [vii], I don’t have data on the market size of these other delivery forms.

8. Brands Have Moved On from CBD

CBD was a booming category when I attended the 2020 Expo West show. I can confidently say that this was not the case at this year's show. There were significantly fewer CBD products than there were at the last Expo West. This is consistent with the American Botanical Council’s Herbal Supplement Sales Market Report indicated that in 2020 CBD sales declined by 30% in the U.S. mainstream multi-outlet channel and declined by 36.9% in the U.S. natural channel.

Wrapping Up My Thoughts on Expo West 2022

My overarching takeaway from attending Natural Products Expo West 2022 is that dietary supplement brands owners should consider adding vegan-friendly products, organic products, plant proteins, or products with a sustainability story to their line over the next 12 to 24 months. Companies would also be wise to investigate alternative functional food delivery options that are trending among today's consumers.

NutraScience Labs can help you create exceptional dietary supplement products that align with the trends that I observed at this year's Expo West show. Our team possesses over 120 years of nutraceutical industry experience and has provided over 2,300 supplements brands with custom manufacturing, packaging, label design, and fulfillment services.

For more information on how to get started, call 855-492-7388 to speak with one of our live representatives or send us your request to receive a free manufacturing price quote.


[i] Gelski J. Global plant protein market could hit $162 billion by 2030. Food Business News. 08.16.2021. Retrieved 3/15/2022 from https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/19347-global-plant-protein-market-could-hit-162-billion-by-2030.

[ii] Value of the worldwide vegan food market from 2020 to 2021 with a forecast for 2025. Statista. Retrieved 3/15/2022 from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1280275/value-of-the-global-vegan-food-market/#:~:text=The%20global%20vegan%20food%20market,expected%20to%20be%20nine%20percent.

[iii] United State Organic Food Market Retains Robust Growth Amid the Pandemic: Projected to Grow at a CAGR of 8.7% during 2021-2027 | BlueWeave. BlueWeave Consulting and Research Pvt Ltd. 1/25/2022. Retrieved 3/15/2022 from https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2022/01/25/2372820/0/en/United-State-Organic-Food-Market-Retains-Robust-Growth-Amid-the-Pandemic-Projected-to-Grow-at-a-CAGR-of-8-7-during-2021-2027-BlueWeave.html.

[iv] At 27% CAGR, Green Technology & Sustainability Market Size and Forecasts Research Report up to 2026. MarketWatch. 1/25/2022. Retrieved 3/15/2022 from https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/at-27-cagr-green-technology-sustainability-market-size-and-forecasts-research-report-up-to-2026-2022-01-25

[v] Marine Hydrolyzed Collagen Market Size Worth $1.70 Billion By 2028: Grand View Research, Inc. 1/11/2022. Retrieved 3/15/2022 from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/marine-hydrolyzed-collagen-market-size-worth-1-70-billion-by-2028-grand-view-research-inc-301458048.html#:~:text=Collagen%20Market%20%E2%80%93%20The%20global%20collagen,9.0%25%20from%202020%20to%202028.

[vi] Bottled Water Market by Type (Carbonated Water, Flavored Water, Still Water, and Functional Water) - Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2014-2022. Allied Market Research. 2/2017. Retrieved 3/15/2022 from https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/bottled-water-market#:~:text=Global%20bottled%20water%20market%20size,the%20forecast%20period%202014%20%2D%202022.

[vii] Gummy Vitamins Market by Type (Single Vitamin, Multivitamin, and Prebiotics), Demographics (Children and Adult), and Sales Channel (Hypermarket and Supermarket, Specialty Stores, Retail Pharmacies, and Online Sales Channel): Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2019–2026. Allied Market Research. 3/2020. Retrieved 3/15/2022 from https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/gummy-vitamins-market-A06064#:~:text=The%20gummy%20vitamins%20market%20size,6.5%25%20from%202019%20to%202026.

March 16th, 2022

About the Author:

Gene Bruno

Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG) - Mr. Bruno possesses over 43 years of dietary supplement industry experience. With a Master's degree in nutrition and a second Master's degree in herbal medicine, he has a proven track record of formulating innovative, evidence-based dietary supplements. Mr. Bruno currently serves as both the Senior Director of Product Innovation at Twinlab Corporation and Professor of Nutraceutical Science at Huntington University of Health Sciences.