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Honey Tops off the Top Trends at Natural Products Expo West
Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Honey Tops off the Top Trends at Natural Products Expo West

The Natural Products West Expo in Anaheim, California had, by far, its largest year ever. The expo showcased 3,500 exhibitors and brought in 60,000 attendees. This is certainly a significant growth since the Expo’s humble beginnings of 3,000 attendees. With the natural foods industry booming, honey’s popularity is growing as well.  This was particularly evident in three trends that are sure to emerge on the market in the coming year.

Gluten-Free Products

Gluten-free products had a presence at last year’s expo, but this year, they took center stage. Almost every booth showcased a gluten-free product in some shape or form. From breads and cereals to cookies and piecrusts, gluten-free is in demand. The trend arises from the ability to formulate a product that tastes more like, or even better than, the original.

Honey plays a significant role in this trend in that it serves as a moistening and browning agent in gluten-free products. Its natural sweetening ability also provides a unique and high quality taste, making it a great ingredient for gluten-free bakers and food manufacturers.

In keeping up with the growing trend, Attune Foods is planning the launch of two new gluten-free cereals this year, with the flavor profile focused on honey. The flavors will be based on their original crispy brown rice and corn flake cereal products.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is another trend that is here to stay. Dairy manufacturers are moving past the traditional products in this segment and getting creative. Frozen Greek yogurts and revamped packaging was a common thread around the big names in yogurt.

Even though dairy manufacturers are getting innovative with Greek yogurt, honey is still a major ingredient in their product lines. Honey is consumer-friendly and compliments Greek yogurt without overpowering it. Stoneyfield is taking Greek yogurt to a whole new level with their Honey Vanilla Drinkable Greek Yogurt.

Food, Nutrition and Energy Bars

Rounding out the top trends at this year’s Expo is the bar category. Based on the vast array of bar assortments from virtually every exhibitor, it’s apparent that the bar isn’t just for breakfast anymore. There were snack bars, meal bars, energy bars, protein bars, fiber bars and even dessert bars. There was a bar for every situation and one for every age.

The popularity of this category stems from a convenient way to satisfy nutritional needs and provide energy, which is why honey was a very common ingredient in these products. The fact that honey is a natural energy source, blends well with both sweet and salty flavor profiles and can serve as an agent to hold the bar together makes it an ideal ingredient in this growing trend.

Zydeco, produces Fruit Nut and Pro Zydeco bars with sweet potatoes and honey because they are both natural ingredients and blend well to provide unique flavor notes.

Although these trends have been spotted in the past, they are rapidly growing and proceeding in unique directions. While it’s hard to predict what new trends will arise next year, it’s easy to see that this year’s trends provide unlimited opportunities for honey as an ingredient and for food manufacturers looking for innovative ideas for products.

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