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5 Things Learned at Natural Products Expo

5 Things Learned at Natural Products Expo

The bambu team came back last week from exhibiting at the Natural Products Expo (or Expo West). In fact, we are still basking in the afterglow of a busy and engaging 4 days in Anaheim, California.

bambu backdrop at Expo West

This watercolor illustration depicts the soil-to-soil lifecycle of our products, designed by Arlene Birt

In addition to welcoming hundreds of attendees to our business, we also had the chance to explore the rest of the show, talk to lots of people and get a feeling for what's out there, general trends and more. Here are our takeaways.

1. First the stats (they are impressive!)

  • 85,000 attendees
  • 3500 exhibitors
  • 600 new exhibitors (of which bambu was one) 
The show will continue to attract more exhibitors and more attendees. We were surprised by the number of international visitors. 

    2. The range of plant-based alternatives is astonishing

    Plant-based everything. High-quality alternatives are everywhere. The vegetarian and vegan options have moved from fringe to mainstream. Superb alternatives for cheese (Daiyi is our favorite), meat (Beyond Meat was sampling their new sausage product - outstanding!), yogurt, and more. And guess what? Kitchen tools and cutting boards and eating utensils too!

    That's right. That's us. Plant-based utensils and more.

    We never really thought of ourselves as a plant-based company. At least not in those words exactly. But, in fact, that is exactly what we are. bambu is a plant-based company offering alternatives to plastic, stainless and glass. Adding to that, in fact, all our products and materials are plant-based;  Hemp, cork, and of course, bamboo. So, we're right on trend for plant-based products. And leading the trend for the homegoods category.

    certified organic

    3. Organic is BIG

    This show could just as easily be called the Organic show. The USDA organic seal is commonplace. Specialty foods and product innovations are all starting with organic certified as their base. It's not the gold standard anymore. It is the today's standard. Which leads us to bambu, and our brand of kitchen utensils, cutlery, and our all-natural kids collection of products.  

    Why shouldn't it be the same for the products you use every day? The products that touch your food in the preparation, serving or eating should be every bit as clean and safe, and certified, as the food you eat. That's been our thinking since we first began our certification programs more than eight years ago.

    On trend again. bambu makes the only kitchen tools and eating utensils that are organic certified and carry the same 'seal of trust' that the best foods do.

    4. We're all world dabblers

    Foods and goods are brought to us from around the world like never before. Global foods is booming. Many of us of work with other cultures, and create stories and build personal connections. These stories are imbued into the products we develop. This brings to the marketplace, uniqueness, and authenticity.

    5. Environmental expectations

    Consumers are more aware than ever. And with higher expectations than ever before. Today's consumers have an eye on the details. Companies in the natural living space have to be in-tune with consumers' expectation. Brands need to take a stance and make the environment a priority. 1% for the Planet is building a groundswell community of aware, active and participating individuals and companies. Consumers are concerned with
    landfill accumulation, degrading environments, and plastic in the ocean. These are currently top-of-mind issues that companies can and should be taking part, participating and being a part of the solution.

    Regenerative agriculture is a component of environmental protections. The leading companies (Dr. Bronner's comes to mind) are incorporating restorative agriculture into their sourcing requirements. 

    And while this pertains mostly to food and skin care, it is worth mentioning that all our key resources at bambu are ALL regenerative. 

    • Bamboo regrows quickly and needs no replanting.
    • Cork is harvested without harming the oak tree. The careful removal is actually regenerative in its practice.
    • Hemp is in itself is a regenerative crop.

    It was wonderful meeting friends and customers and making new friends too. One, in particular, came by our booth at the last hour on the last day and gifted us with a song. 

     It was a fun finale to a good week.

    We're back at work. Fresh stocks of all our new 2018 products are here and ready to send out. Thanks for all the support. Questions or comments? Share them with us at [email protected].



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