CHFA East 2016 Trends Recap: Innovation and Insights from the Trade Show
The natural product industry descended into Toronto this past weekend for the Canadian Health Food Association’s Eastern trade show. Pineapple Collective founders Emma Andrews and Lynsey Walker spent 2 days soaking up insights, sharing conversations with brands and industry leaders, and were on the hunt for innovation and ideas. After an action packed and productive weekend, we are pleased to share our CHFA East 2016 Trends Recap.
NEW On Pack Communications:
Callout: Fair-trade and single origin chocolate
As Seen On: Rolling Meadow Dairy’s new line of chocolate milks
Why We Love It: Easy quality validation. The clean packaging and use of white space really emphasizes these product attributes.
Callout: Real Food
As Seen On: Vega’s new line of single nutrient stick packs (vitamins, probiotics, greens)
Why We Love It: Real Food. Real Nutrients. Enough said.
As Seen On: Field Roast‘s new plant-based Field Burger
Why We Love It: Our need for quick, convenient meals, does not trump our love for food that was loving prepared in the kitchen. Tapping into the longing and familiarity that so many of us are looking for, it creates the impression of of a home cooked meal (even when we don’t have time to do it ourselves).
Callout: Usage – Once a Day/Everyday
As Seen On: Frutsa, a line of ice teas and fruit nectars
Why We Love It: Front and centre (you can find this callout front-of-pack) it encourages consistency of use, helping to create a habit with consumers that results in increased product usage and efficacy
Special mention goes to Nature’s Way for showcasing their commitment to quality through Tru-ID ingredient verification. Using biotechnology to ensure the what’s claimed on the label, is actually in the package.
Spotlight on Sustainability Initiatives:
Sustainability stories are permeating everything from brand culture and corporate social responsibility efforts, to product innovation. Here are some that topped our list:
- Buddha Brands Co. wins CHFA’s recognition for their commitment to donating 1% of sales towards environmental initiatives (via 1% For the Planet Foundation), and for showcasing these efforts proudly on-pack, and all brand touch points (sell sheets, website, social media).
- Ethical Bean launches (coming soon!) a compostable coffee pod for home brewing machines.
- Mettrum Originals showcases the diversity of applications for hemp based products, including a food grade hemp oil wood stain for kitchen accessories like cutting boards and serving bowls. Hemp benefits our environment by helping to improve nutrient levels in the soil, is naturally pest resistant (grown without pesticides) and has a fast growing cycle making it an ideal option for paper and textiles, compared to many other crops.
- If you’ve been following along with our trend hunting over the past year, you’ll recall we named collagen as an ingredient “to watch” through our 2016 Trend Guide. Tru Marine Collagen from Within Us represents the dynamic combination of a growing category, with a strong brand proposition. Using sustainably sourced fish, collagen is made from fish scales (not skin), which was a part of the fish previously unused and left to waste. The fishing industry’s “trash” is another industry’s beautiful skin secret.
Noteworthy Booth Experiences:
Effectively catching the attention of attendees in a crowded hall filled with hundreds of vendors is imperative for brands to make their mark. Providing multi-sensory stimulation, or engaging visitors through an experience are some of the top ways to stand out.
Some of our favourite booth elements from the show included St Francis’ Herb Farm‘s integration of live, fresh ingredients growing in Pinterest-worthy containers, which prompted you to stop and smell the
roses herbs (allowing their team to start a conversation).
Mettrum Originals engaged visitors through a social media contest integrating the use of photos from their booth and trackable hashtags, to be eligible for a draw prize of their coveted products.
Garden of Life Canada integrated an eye catching mini camper van, repurposed into a photo booth providing attendees with ready-to-post social media images. They staffed the booth with a dedicated rep, which created an approachable experience. They took home CHFA’s “best booth” award too – so we’re not alone in digging this idea!
Nature’s Way brought the local flora into the tradeshow floor (a welcome spot of greenery when you’re inside all weekend), and showcased both a unique container full of local plants, and an accompanying “green walk” through the host city. The map was created in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation, one the brand’s Corporate Social Responsibility partners.
Top 5 Product Trends:
1. Digestive Health & Absorption
A variety of new products launched this year catering to the growing category of consumers looking to improve the health of their digestive system, and increase nutrient absorption through foods that have been fermented or sprouted.
Iron Vegan expands their athlete focused line to include a fermented glutamine for post workout recovery, in an economical pouch format. This product will also benefit non-athletes, such as those recovering from symptoms of leaky gut or low immune function.
A new health food store exclusive line, Three Brains from Purity Life Products, is an ND formulated line targeting the synergy between our heart, brains and guts. All three organ systems contribute to our moods, memory and emotional wellbeing.
Two Moms in the Raw launched a sprouted snack bar aptly named Soul Sprout, with the verbiage “accelerated nutrition” on front of pack to help expand awareness around the benefit of sprouted foods. Living Intentions new superfood cereals place greater emphasis on the word activated vs sprouted, again focusing on the benefit related to sprouting rather than the words ‘sprouted’ themselves.
2. Bite Size / Snack Size
While there was no shortage of snack sized options (great for portion control), we noticed a particular trend towards calling things “bites”.
Hilary’s allergen free foods have been making plant-based, non-gmo and organic patties for a while, but recently launched (in Canada) a bite size version (texturally was similar to a falafel). We can’t wait to use these for salad toppers and happy hour.
Along with a packaging refresh, Bounce Balls was relaunched as Bounce Bites. They also launched a multi serving pouch. Bite-sized nutrition in a more economical format.
3. Hands On Cooking & DIY
The culinary explorers in us got excited to see a couple new options to help us get more hands on with our food. A DIY kombucha kit from Tonica allows you to prep your own small batch brew (and flavour to your liking!), and Kim’s Simple Meals launched a ‘just add water’ veggie burger base, that elevates your everyday veggie burger into something that feels as if it’s “from scratch”.
4. Savoury v.s. Sweet
From snacks to salads, to baby food, there was no shortage of savoury flavours at the show.
Notice how both Cielos Crunchy Olives and Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Toppers show the actual flavour profile ingredients front of pack, in order to ignite your senses. And with new flavours like “Thanksgiving Dinner” found in Love Child Organics, we might just admit to craving baby food…
5. Pineapples Are Everywhere…
Okay, we may be biased but we’ve really noticed, everyone’s loving pineapple! From snack bars and coconut water, to kombucha, greens drinks and electrolytes – pineapple flavour crossed into a variety of products and formats. The slightly tart and sour flavour comes close to ever popular citrus, and as pineapples are the international symbol of hospitality, perhaps the aloha spirit is subliminally triggered?
Top 3 Packaging Designs:
Noteworthy designs that bring drool worthy products to life…
We love the old school, yet premium feel of Eat Prima. Creators of bars and granolas featuring real ingredients for real athletes. Each package sports a vintage photo of an athlete in action, and the logo has the feeling of a track day ribbon. Easy to spot on shelf. Visit their website, and you can get a free bar in the mail when you sign up for their newsletter!
2. Bounce Bites
Re-named and refreshed packaging feels energetic and lively. The solid, bold colours serve for easy differentiation, and showcasing the real ingredients makes the taste profiles approachable. We think Bounce Bites fun and playful aesthetic will appeal to young families and life enthusiasts alike.
3. Living Intentions
Shiny, metallic packaging treatments are less common, but are a sharp choice for Living Intentions superfoods. Each tone corresponds with a part of the flavour profile (think: golden maple), and yet also look cohesive in the full line-up. This makes for a striking presence in retail merchandising, and maybe even a bag that doesn’t belong to be hidden in the pantry?!
If you attended CHFA and noticed any other trends worth sharing, let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!
Coming Soon: We have one more major food industry event in our 2016 calendar, Esca Bona Oct 17-19th in Austin, TX. We’ll be sharing our learnings and recap here on the blog!