It's all natural

Earlier this month, I attended Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif., to find out more about where the natural products industry is headed, and to learn more about what "natural" really means.
Right from the start, I was surprised by the number of booths on the show floor that were promoting low-carb. After all, wasn't this a mainstream trend that shouldn't be part of the definition of "natural"?
In addition to walking the show floor, I had the opportunity to attend a briefing session that featured a panel of experts. In addition to covering the trends in green power initiatives, and studies dissecting consumer perceptions regarding obesity and wellness, there was a healthy dose of low-carb coverage.
Again, I was hit with the never-ending low-carb discussion that seemed to have permeated even the Natural Products show. After listening to the experts, it was clear that terms such as functional, wellness and natural (even low-carb) were so deeply engrained in the product category that it's the mainstream producers that are only now catching the wave.
The term "value-based lifestyle", used by one expert who tried to capture the overarching theme of natural trends, was possibly the most inclusive and accurate description of what "natural" means. Although, with the way trends fall in and out of popularity, I'm sure "natural" will have a whole new meaning to consumers and manufacturers in the near future. As far as low-carb, the life cycle of that trend also will be the topic of discussion for months to come.
Bombay Sapphire's polo team competed in the Outback 40-Goal Challenge played at the Royal Palm Polo Club in Boca Raton, Fla., last month. The game featured four-player teams of individuals with a 10-handicap, the highest handicap a polo player can achieve. The event marks the sixth time in the history of polo that a 40-goal polo game has ever been played, and all money raised from the event was donated to the Polo Player's Support Group.
Starring lager
Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager, distributed by Distinguished Brands International, was caught bouncing around the Oahu, Hawaii-based set of The Big Bounce, the latest comedy written by Elmore Leonard. During the movie, actors Owen Wilson and Sara Foster appear in a beach scene with a case of the made-in-New Orleans lager.
Kahlua craze
Kahlua's Skinny White Russian cocktail was spotted in the hands of celebrities at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The cocktail was reportedly the drink of choice for actresses Mena Suvari, Jennifer Tilly and Jane Seymour, among others at the festival. The Kahlua-based cocktail is currently being served at trendy hotspots in Hollywood.
Root beer festival
The Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute is hosting its second Brew Ha Ha festival in April. The festival features root beer tasting inside the museum located in the historic Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Co. building in Waco, Texas. Music, food, activities, games and performers are planned for the newly redesigned courtyard.
Case challenge
Allied Domecq Spirits and Canadian Club Whisky have revived the brand's "Hide a Case" program, taking it on the road. Based on the marketing program that started in 1967, the renamed "Find the Case Challenge" contest involves consumers taking the ultimate road trip to find "dummy" cases of Canadian Club as well as demonstrate physical and mental skills to win cash and prizes. Unique events such as The Canadian Club Poker Run and The Canadian Club Barrel Roll were held during the trip last year.
Busy Boddingtons
Boddingtons Pub Ale has put its mark on specially painted Mini Coopers emblazoned with the Boddingtons colors and logo. The four "Busy Boddies" vehicles began touring the United States beginning in February.