With the beginning of spring came the annual Natural Products Expo West, one of the largest natural/organic trade shows on the west coast. Held at the familiar Anaheim convention center, this show spread out across two entire floors and into the Hilton hotel next door. Though this show has always been large, it seemed to have grown even more this year, with over 3000 exhibitors and 77,000 attendees (according to New Hope Media).

The first day of the show was busier than ever! Usually the first few hours of the show are slightly slower compared to the rest as attendees trickle down from the front hall to the back. However, we found ourselves making samples after samples and talking up a storm with curious attendees and familiar faces. At the show, we launched our newly gluten-free certified Matcha products. Though teas are naturally gluten free, we thought that this extra step would add assurance to those trying to follow a gluten free lifestyle or have gluten allergies/sensitivity. We weren’t surprised that many other companies had also jumped on the gluten-free certification train. As usual, we sampled out our Matcha lattes and Iced/hot Matchas, along with our Japanese green tea bags.

What we love about this show is that we get to preview new trends and products in the industry. A couple of the trends we noticed are: coconut water, nut milks and butters, and as mentioned above, gluten free products. Though coconut water and nut milk/butters are not necessarily new per se, these products seemed to be increasing in popularity and also variety- from a delicious coconut milk that is extracted without ever being exposed to light, to espresso and coconut flavored nut butters and caramel flavored cashew milks. Gluten-free products seemed to be even more popular this year, with more and more booths showcasing their certification (like us), to a section of the display cases dedicated to “gluten-free products.” Our favorite, though, has to go to the vegetarian meat booth that was stationed right across from us. They sampled out “meats” made with soy protein with a remarkable resemblance to its non-vegetarian counterpart. They even won an award for best new product.

The NPEW shows are always a great place to see new products or trends that are starting to pick up traction in the industry. Matcha has become so popular over the past year or so, that attendees barely ask us what it is anymore (such a big change compared to 2014). Matcha’s popularity doesn’t seem to be slowing any time soon, and we couldn’t be happier to be growing alongside such an influencial industry.