The Airlite Team recently made the trip to Anaheim, California, for the 2022 Natural Products Expo, the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event.

It’s the biggest event of the year for the natural products industry and one that, due to Covid, we haven’t been able to attend since 2019. So, it felt great to be back and in-person unveiling our new booth set up, observing trends, and supporting all of our customers in attendance.

The “Oat-based” category continues to grow.

With around 2,700 exhibitors, there was a lot to see and various angles covered. But, our focus this year was primarily on the plant-based food category.

And one topic trending this year was oat-based products. The grain’s adaptability and sustainability have clearly caught the industry’s attention, with consumers finding it a flavorful, nutritionally sound dairy alternative.

Some of our own customers were getting attention for their oat-based products, including Wildbrine’s wildCreamery Oat Butter, Noop’s Oatmilk Pudding, and Miyoko’s Creamery’s Cultured Vegan Butter made with oat milk.

More Airlite customers making waves.

We’ve watched plant-based food trend upwards for several years due to its documented health benefits and improved sustainability. And our list of customers in this space continues to grow as well.

At Expo West 2022, the trend proved here to stay, with 19 of our customers in plant-based categories exhibiting, creating buzz, and leading the way.

Several Airlite customers were even featured, nominated, and/or winners of awards given to the industry’s most innovative and inspiring products:

  • Miyoko’s Creamery won a prestigious NEXTY Award for “Best New Product Supporting a Plant-Based Lifestyle” for their Liquid Vegan Pizza Mozzarella.
  • Field and Farmer’s Ranch Dressing + Dip was nominated for a NEXTY for “Best New Meat & Dairy Alternative.”
  • And Kite Hill and Ithaca Hummus also made some noise, with Kite Hill featured in the New Product Showcase for their new non-dairy Kite Hill Queso, and Ithaca previewing their new Grillo’s Pickles flavor and partnership with Grillo’s. Nothing better than great food in performance packaging, right?

The future is well underway.

The natural and organic industry grew 7.7% to $274 billion in 2021 and is forecasted to surpass $300 billion in sales by 2024 and $400 billion by 2030.

And according to FAIRR, two in five global food manufacturers already have a team dedicated to developing plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy, and more.

Like many other industries we’ve worked with, it’s one that we embrace and continue to develop meaningful relationships in. So that’s why it was great to be back and a part of the industry’s big event. Not sure we could say it any better than one of the event’s organizers Lacy Gautier:

“The turnout we’ve seen this week is a strong indication that the industry prioritizes face-to-face connection and product discovery. The energy at this show was palpable, and we are really excited to be back in Anaheim with our incredible clients, community, and vendor partners.”