3 Ways Honey Sweetened Expo West

NHB VARIETAL Jar Drizzle ALT1 final rgb

Amidst bustling aisles at one of the largest food and beverage shows in the world, one sweetener captured attention: honey. Consumers are demanding all-natural, clean-label ingredients in their products, and brands are answering the call with a new wave of diverse ideas in a sea of competition. Expo West serves as an annual jumpstart to emerging industry trends, and the prominence of honey via the more than 3,300 exhibitors echoed throughout the halls.

Honey’s enduring appeal and potential for continued innovation shone through in a number of ways:

Trend No. 1: Kid-Friendly Nutrition

Fun packaging, kid-centric advertising, nutritional positioning and parent-approved messaging was in full force on the show floor. More than in years past, brand managers are using effective campaigns for products that appeal to both children and their caretakers. Nutritious and wholesome options sweetened with honey strike the perfect balance, culminating in one product garnering a NEXTY nod.

Kid’s Throat Soothing Lollipops, Beekeeper’s Naturals

The company’s best-selling lozenges are now made in kid-friendly lollipop form. Each is formulated with wildflower honey, propolis extract, vitamin D and zinc. This product snagged the NEXTY for Best Natural Kids Product.

Photo Credit: Beekeeper's Naturals
Photo Credit: Happy Wolf

Fridge-Fresh Bars, Happy Wolf

Four bars with the simplest possible whole food ingredients: honey, sunflower seed butter, dates and oats. Happy Wolf’s school-safe bars — Chocolate Chip, Strawberry, Apple Cinnamon and Choco-Banana — are simple snacks for kids developed by parents.

Trend No. 2: Honey’s Beverage Buzz

Functional beverages served a delicious sip to Expo West attendees. New Hope Network’s trend report focused on Generation Z and millennials in particular, stating that these demographics are drifting away from caffeine-based energy and looking “for other products that provide a buzz without the jitters.” What’s a better all-natural buzz than the one honey provides? Plus, no matter what function they claimed to serve at Expo West, product developers who used honey in these beverages got the flavor combinations just right.

Pineapple Coconut Sparkling Apple Cider, Life Cider

Honey, natural lemon juice and organic erythritol create a tangy and sweet flavor sensation in this NEXTY finalist. Life Cider also has vitamin B12, vitamin C, D3 and zinc for an immune system boost.

Photo Credit: Life Cider
Photo Credit: Cloud Water

Peace Love Energy, Cloud Water

Cloud Water’s rebrand includes a new flavor made with wildflower honey: Peace Love Energy. This functional energy drink has a lower caffeine content and only 40 calories per can. The new silver cans better highlight the ingredients and benefit claims.

Trend No. 3: Sweet Regeneration

SPINS calls out one of the top trends of the show: regenerative agriculture. Expo West served as a springboard for the new standard, which offers benefits for consumers, farmers and the environment. “By focusing on soil health and biodiversity, [regenerative agriculture] yields nutrient-dense foods, mitigates climate change through carbon sequestration and promotes safer working conditions by reducing chemical use,” the report reads. By combining all-natural honey with regenerative ingredients, product developers are creating foods that are both amplified with flavor and supportive of regenerative agriculture.

Bucks ‘n Honey Clusterbucks, Lil Bucks

These crunchy snacks are made from sprouted buckwheat grown on American regenerative farms. Bucks ‘n Honey is the first flavor from the brand to use honey to bind the buckwheat to other superfood ingredients like pumpkin seeds, coconut shreds and sea salt.

Photo Credit: Lil Bucks
Photo Credit: Herbal Revolution

Digestive and Fire Cider Tonic Shots, Herbal Revolution

This woman-owned herbal company mixes honey within its Tonic Shots (Digestive and Fire Cider) with apple cider vinegar. Herbal Revolution keeps a keen eye on emerging trends and works with time honored ingredients like honey. They pride themselves on supporting a smaller carbon footprint, regenerative farming and whole plant medicine.

Did you showcase a trending honey product at Expo West? Tell us about it at [email protected].