Trends from Expo West, Product Focus: Coconut and Smirk’s Market Report

Nick is starting the show today talking about Expo West. It’s the largest natural products expo and this year it was in Anaheim in March. Over 65,000 people attended, and 3000 companies were there to see what’s new in natural foods. 

Donny shares his insights and felt like it was a perfect size. It was well attended but not so large you couldn’t meet people and see the exhibits. The vibe was encouraging, and he also felt like there was more innovation which is great to see. 

Jessica felt like the energy was good, and people were genuinely ready to engage. Nothing is better than the chance to meet customers in real life to rekindle relationships. 

Trends they mention:

  • Functional foods and beverages – they share a few great examples of things happening in this area. 
  • A bit of nostalgia with a twist. Think peanut-butter crackers with unique ingredients. 
  • Coconut products in better use packaging. Donny shares a few great examples. 
  • Plant-based proteins aren’t new but are still very popular. 
  • Fruit-based foods, great innovations here which are great to see. 
  • Sustainability is a thread that all categories mention and are making a priority. 

The Unexpected: 

  • Water and assorted powders, flavors and options. There were so many options and new ideas shared here. 
  • Probiotics as add-ins. This was showing up I the snack category and others. 

Product Focus: Coconut

A prevalent ingredient at the show so Donny is sharing a deep dive on coconut. Did you know that Smirk’s sold over 20 million pounds of coconut products? Coconut is known as the tree of life, and you can use every part of the tree.

The key products that Smirk’s sells are: 

  • Coconut sugar
  • Coconut milk powder
  • Coconut cream
  • Coconut Oil

Coconut milk and cream are growth products and are trending now. It’s plant based, non-dairy and very versatile. One of the benefits is that you don’t have to do any major processing. It’s a natural part of the coconut. 

It’s fun to cook with and can be packaged in a variety of ways which benefits manufacturers and home cooks in our kitchens. 

Coconut oil is used in lots of products and when it’s processed it removes the coconut allergen. It’s also used in lots of baking applications. Hear how the process to create the oil, the by product is coconut flour. 

Did you know MCT oil comes from the coconut? This oil has become popular in the keto diet space. 

Coconut sugar is delicious and very sustainable. It has a caramel flavor to it and can be used in place of brown sugar. It’s also low-glycemic which is a big health benefit for those of us who want to have our cake and eat it too! 

Coconut is one of our favorite products, in large part because we get to check out the cool places where they grow them. The applications are endless, and it continues to be a growth industry. 

Smirk’s Market Report – Coconut [31:32]

Smirk’s tracks coconut production from 4 main countries; the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Vietnam. 

Pricing varies based on demand from other countries and harvest time. The big question today; has coconut hit bottom? 

Summary: There is older inventory on the market so you may see prices vary. Smirk’s  doesn’t expect prices to go lower so it’s a good time to plan for what you’re going to need in the future. 

If coconut sugar, coconut milk or coconut cream are on your list, get the details about securing the best product and savings on the shipping side. 

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