Natural Products Expo West/SupplyExpo defied the recession last month, with more than 53,000 attendees during the show at the Anaheim Convention Center March 5-8. The crowded show floor occupied 300,000 square feet with more than 1,900 exhibitors, 484 of which were new to the show.
Coffee, tea and new energy offerings dominated the beverage scene at the show, while juices and flavored waters also made a strong showing.
Numi, Oakland, Calif., added new ready-to-drink teas based on its new Puerh line. Puerh teas are fermented to bring out an earthy, slightly sweet flavor, the company says. The organic RTD line includes Earl Grey, Moroccan Mint, Magnolia Jasmine, Peach Nectar and Mango Passion Puerh teas, as well as Honey Lemon, a rooibos tea.
The Republic of Tea, Novato, Calif., showcased its rooibos offerings in both the new Little Citizens teas for kids and eight new varieties of Be Well teas. The company also debuted the Double collection, which includes Double Matcha Green Tea and a Double Red Rooibos Tea. The Double moniker comes from the use of both whole tea leaves and tea leaves that are ground into a powder in the matcha style.
Japan’s Ito En went back to its roots with new ready-to-drink Jasmine Green Tea and Golden Oolong Tea. Both products are unsweetened and packaged in 16.8-ounce bottles with Japanese writing. In addition, each product contains 110 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
The Healthy Beverage Co. used the Natural Products show to launch its new Fair Trade Energy Shot, a 2.5-ounce shot that contains organic, Fair Trade green tea, Sambazon acai juice, Guayaki yerba mate, berry flavor and guarana, as well as B vitamins and antioxidants. It also added a 64-ounce version of its Steaz Organic Iced Teaz.
Also on the natural energy front, Borojo Beverages launched Borojo Organic Energy Drink based on the borojo fruit. The product is due to hit shelves this spring in three flavors. In addition to energy benefits, the borojo fruit is said to be a natural aphrodisiac and contains vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Clif Bar & Co., maker of Clif energy bars, previewed Clif Quench, an 88-percent organic sports drink that contains 11 grams of carbohydrates, as well as Real Salt, magnesium lactate and potassium phosphate as electrolytes. The product will launch in June in Fruit Punch, Orange, Lime-Ade and Strawberry Citrus flavors.
Honest Tea rolled out Mango Green Tea and Superfruit Punch Honest Ade at the show. The company recently updated its PET packaging, as well as the kid-targeted Honest Kids pouches.
Representatives at The Switch discussed new distribution at the show, saying their product soon will be available in the Western part of the United States. The line of carbonated juices has received “tremendous response” in schools, it says.
Adina added to its ready-to-drink coffee and tea latte lineup with a new line of Holistics herbal elixirs based on Ayurvedic herbs. Each variety contains white or green tea, and the line includes Mango Orange Chamomile, Honey Lemon Aloe, Blackberry Hibiscus, Peach Amalaki and Honey Eucalyptus varieties.
First Juice Inc. added to its line of toddler-targeted juices with new purple carrot varieties, including Blueberry+Purple Carrot and Peach+Purple Carrot. The products are available in both 32-ounce multipacks and 8-ounce spill-proof sippy cups.
Pacific Natural Foods showed off a new line of ready-to-drink coffees and teas in aseptic packaging. The line includes Simply Tea Green Teas in four flavors, Simply Mate Yerba Mate in four varieties, and Simply Coffee Iced Coffees in three coffee and milk blends. All of the products are organic, and the green teas and coffees are Fair Trade certified. They are packaged in 16.9-ounce bottles with screw-caps.
Herbal Water Inc. displayed its unsweetened Ayala’s Herbal Water varieties, which included Lemongrass Mint Vanilla, Lavendar Mint, Ginger Lemon Peel, Cinnamon Orange Peel, Cloves Cardamom Cinnamon and Lemon Verbena Geranium flavors. All of the flavors are certified organic.
PepsiCo’s Izze division was on hand with its newest flavor, Izze Sparkling Lime. The product is available in 12-ounce glass bottles and will debut in Whole Foods Markets in April, with wider distribution later in the spring.
Tazo, a Starbucks brand that is distributed by Kraft Foods, also went the lime route and launched Cucumber White, a white tea with cucumber and lime peel, as well as Organic Spicy Ginger, as an addition to its herbal line.
Hansen’s added Pomegranate Green Tea to its line of Sparkling Green Tea sodas, and showed off its new Juice Slam Loud Lemonade variety. It also displayed a new apple juice made from only U.S.-grown apples.
Teeccino announced it is readying new foil packaging for its herbal coffee alternatives. The Mediterranean and Mayan blends are caffeine-free, contain potassium and soluble fiber, and are non-acidic. Company representatives say a longer-term objective is to convince retailers to categorize herbal coffees in a uniform way rather than trying to fit them into existing coffee and tea shelf sets.
White Wave Foods showcased its new premium organic line of Silk Soymilks, made from North American grown organic soybeans. The company also sampled Fruit2day, a European fruit drink that it will carry in the United States. The product is said to contain two servings of fruit, including 2 grams of fiber, in a 6.8-ounce bottle. Strawberry Orange, Pineapple Banana, Mango Peach and Cherry Grape flavors are available in two-packs.
Mighty Leaf Tea added three new varieties to its line of whole leaf tea pouches: Organic Green Dragon; Organic Detox Infusion, with mint and basil; and Chocolate Mint Truffle, with rooibos, cacao nibs and mint.
Choice Organic used the Expo to debut its new biodegradable pyramid tea bags, and to talk about the company’s 20th anniversary in 2009.
Zola added to its Superfuit line with Superfood Smoothie, a “Smooth Green Blend” of cupuaçu, graviola and acai. Immunity Smoothie Tangy Tart Blend contains acerola and acai; Energy Smoothie Tropical Blend has caha fruit and acai; and Antioxidant Smoothie Berry Blend contains acai and bananas.
CKF Foods sampled the Cocio chocolate milk product it imports from Denmark. The product contains only milk, cocoa and sugar, and is shelf-stable in glass bottles.
Beverage Innovations offered its Venga line of juice and tea products from Switzerland. The functional lineup includes Energize, Daily Dose meal replacement beverage, Rehydrate performance drink, Calorie Burn weight management beverage, Brainstorm for mental acuity, and Health & Zen, a wellness beverage.
In January, The Currant Co. transferred its Current C black currant juice from glass to HDPE bottles, and it showcased the new package and new flavors at Expo West. The new flavors combine black currant juice with Strawberry Kiwi Nectar, Clementine Nectar, Passion Fruit Nectar, Blueberry Nectar and Boysenberry Nectar, which all have been added to the original Black Currant Nectar.
PureCool Water showed off its water with a “cool taste sensation” by pairing the flavored waters as cocktail mixers. The Pear Ginger Ice flavor was suggested as a pairing for vodka, while Mojo Cool was mixed with rum. Triple Chill could be used in a martini, and Tropical Tiki was suggested as a colada-style drink.
G.U.S. Grown Up Soda displayed a recent package upgrade for its lightly flavored soft drinks. The new look features new labels and four-pack carriers. While the name is grown up, representatives from the company indicated the product is getting an equally enthusiastic response from the younger crowd, including parents who are choosing the product for their kids.
In another package update, OWater redesigned its Infused OWater line. The product is positioned as a healthy sports drink, and the new labels feature several variations that allow for 144 different looks on the shelf.
Iron Horse Beverage displayed its 100 percent organic, not-from-concentrate Elite Natural juices. New varieties such as Sour Cherry Juice, Organic Flowers, Acai Mixed Juices and Pomegranate and Green Tea joined unusual varieties such as Black Mulberry Juice, Pear Juice, Melon Juice and Quince Juice.
Mix1 highlighted its original Mix1 Protein and Antioxidant Drink, as well as the newer Mix1 Hi-Antioxidant Fiber Drink. Company President Greg Stroh said Mix1 has been focusing on developing its target audience of sports and adult nutrition consumers who use Mix1 as a possible meal replacement, but most often as a pre- or post-workout recovery drink.
Inko’s focused on its new 64-ounce packaging for Inko’s White Tea. The family-sized pack is available in three varieties: White Peach, Blueberry and Hint O’Mint.
H2Organics also looked to the family for its new line of H2Organics Kids and H2Organics Moms. The mom-focused flavored water product is available in pre- and post-natal formulations, containing vitamins and herbs such as fenugreek, which is thought to help with lactation.
NVE Pharmaceuticals displayed its Stacker energy products, but also spent time talking to attendees about its contract packaging business, which is capable of producing both beverage and supplement products. The plant offers 8.4-ounce energy drink canning, plastic bottle filling, liquid and gel pouches, as well as capsule, tableting and powder production capabilities.