Every industry has its Super Bowl, and for brands who sell at grocery stores there’s no doubt that’s Natural Products Expo West. For four days every March, more than 3,000 food and beverage brands swarm the Anaheim Convention Center, vying for the eyes and interest of grocery store buyers, brokers, and distributors.
For most brands, Expo West is a chance to add accounts and grow their distribution. Some have even grander plans, taking the opportunity to unveil new product lines and packaging changes, or announce big branding campaigns.
At this year’s Expo West show, we’re celebrating the more than 70 brands in attendance who use Repsly to connect with their field teams and grow smarter at retail. Some of those brands are celebrating some pretty exciting milestones and have made big announcements at the show already this year. In this post, we’ll share some of our favorites!
The San Francisco-based beverage company has been at the forefront of drink innovation and consumer trends since it was founded in 2001. At this year’s Expo West conference, Zola is announcing the launch of an all-new line of Organic Sparkling Energy Waters, adding to the brand’s already exciting and diverse SKU set.
The plant-powered sparkling beverage joins Zola’s lineup of Coconut Waters, Organic Açaí Juices, and Organic Hydrating Energy Drinks, all of which are made vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO.
Another coconut water category stalwart, Vita Coco is unveiling a new flavor at this year’s show.
The new flavor, Pressed Coconut, delivers a “nuttier, sweeter taste than Vita Coco’s signature unflavored coconut water beverage” without added sugar, the brand said in a press release. While Vita Coco’s original beverage has a more subtle coconut flavor, the new product will attract those looking for a more traditionally tropical coconut experience.
Earlier this year, we’re also psyched to announce Vita Coco became our 1,000th customer here at Repsly, a milestone we’re thrilled to share with such an innovative and perennially successful brand.
Like many brands exhibiting at Expo West, sustainability and environmental protection are core elements of Stonyfield’s identity as a brand. This year, their “Get Out The Vote Campaign” seeks to turn that passion into action, educating and empowering people to vote with the planet in mind.
"I'm incredibly optimistic that Stonyfield can help lead the way in protecting more of our air, water and topsoils as well as animals and people from toxic persistent pesticides, herbicides, and other chemical inputs as well as climate changes that harm our children and the planet," the company’s co-founder and newly-minted Chief Organic Optimist Gary Hirshberg, said in a press release.
"The upcoming midterm elections are the best possible place for us to start making an immediate impact."
To make that impact, Stonyfield is setting up “voting booths” at Expo West, where attendees can mail family and friends prepaid postcards that will connect them to online educational resources about the environmental issues at stake – and where the candidates stand on them - this November.
Conveniently for popchips, National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day (yes, there’s a day for that too) and Expo West both take place in March. Why does that matter for the healthy chip brand? They’ll be debuting an all-new snack, the nutter puff, at this year’s Expo West.
"When we looked at ways to improve on popular puffed snacks and providing a healthier and more natural option, with the added bonus of protein, we landed on our peanut butter-based nutter puffs," popchips Chief Marketing Officer, Marc Seguin, said in a press release.
"Our nutter puffs have three simple ingredients and real peanut butter is the main ingredient, because we believe snackers today understand the difference between real and fake."
Lenny & Larry's
Not everyone pulls back the curtain on their Expo East announcements before the show. For Lenny & Larry’s, who boast a lineup of vegan, protein-infused cookies, muffins, and brownies, we had to wait until the conference began to hear exactly what new flavor they’d be bringing to the market in 2018.
Keeping on peanut butter trend, it’s a Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie. As usual, the bakers at Lenny & Larry’s prove their products are much more than tasty -- the new flavor packs 16g of plant-based protein and 10g of fiber.
What’s more, the brand announced their cookies will also be available in a smaller, more snackable 2oz size. The new flavors and sizes will be available nationwide.
“By offering exciting new flavors like Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and creating additional size options, we aim to provide our consumers with a range of yummy products they look forward to snacking on,” the brand’s CEO Apu Mody said in a press release.
Like Lenny & Larry’s, Bobo’s has played things close to the chest as well. While we don’t yet know what they will be, we can count on the oat bar-maker to unveil their first of two 2018 launches at Expo West this weekend, Bobo’s CEO, TJ McIntyre, told Food Navigator.
The only hint we have about Bobo’s potential plans for 2018 could lie in their ongoing recipe reformulation, which is seeing the brand’s previous blend of canola, palm, and olive oils replaced by coconut oil.
The change should help the bars stay moist and fresh on the shelf longer, Food Navigator reported, without changing Bobo’s beloved flavor. Plus, the switch should help the brand appeal to consumers who prefer coconut oil for it’s more sustainable supply chain and on-trend health benefits.
Whatever the new products will be, we sure can’t wait to give them a taste!
To learn more about how these innovative brands, and hundreds more around the world, approach their retail execution, join us for an exclusive webinar after Expo West wraps up, on March 14. Click here for more details and to save your spot!