At the end of last week, I was in Baltimore at Natural Products Expo East, a trade show that brings together natural, organic and healthy lifestyle products. There are thousands of vendors at the expo hoping to get stores to carry their goods and the media to write about them.

After last year’s trip to Natural Products Expo East where I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer number and variety of products (and blew my taste buds quickly), I had a plan this year. I focused on non-GMO foods and stayed away from anything spicy. I’ll be telling you about a few specific products that stood out over the next couple of days, but I thought I’d start with the trends I noticed.

Here, in no particular order, were the food products that I thought were the most prolific. Several — sometimes over a dozen — vendors were all displaying their version of these trendy natural and organic foods.

  1. Popcorn – Popcorn in all flavors was huge. Plain salted, sweet Kettle, cheddar, caramel and more – some organic, some all-natural.
  2. Eggs – I was surprised at how many vendors were displaying eggs. Cage-free seemed to be the big buzzword at most of the tables.
  3. Raw foods – I saw many more products described as “raw” this year than last year.
  4. Kombucha – Most of the vendors showing off the fermented tea were boasting their versions as more appealing to the taste buds than the stuff made at home.
  5. Pet food – Our furry friends are getting in on the natural and organic movement.
  6. Hummus – Although it’s easy to make your own hummus, the variety of flavors at the expo was impressive.
  7. Kale – It was big at last year’s expo, and it was still big at this year’s.
  8. Beef jerky – The dried and cured meat is popular. In my press bag there was even a sample of dried bison.
  9. Coconut water – It was everywhere.
  10. Non-GMO – Last year, there were some products that made the non-GMO claim; this year not only were there many more, there were several that displayed a sign saying they are in the process of becoming non-GMO verified. Last year, when I would ask about GMOs in products, several of the vendors had no idea. This year, there was only one vendor who didn’t have a knowledgeable answer about genetically modified ingredients in their product.
As your shopping the natural and organic aisles of your grocery store in the upcoming year, I predict you’ll be seeing a lot more raw, cage-free, dried, coconut, non-GMO labels (hopefully not all on one product).

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