Imbibe Can Support Your Plant-based, Upcycled & Frozen Dessert Product Development – Expo West 2022 Trends Part 2

 In Blog, Food & Beverage Trends

Expo West 2022 kicked off with a jam-packed week of new products and cutting-edge ingredients in the natural and organic space. Global trends have been heavily influenced by the past two years, with the proliferation of functional ingredients and diverse flavors, as seen throughout the show floor in Anaheim. Among a sea of faux meat options and simplified Nutrition Fact Panels (NFPs), were some compelling products that married novel and nostalgic flavors and ingredients to tell their story. Here are three significant trends that were most prominent at the show and that we expect to shine throughout new product development for years to come: 

Powered by Plants

Traditionally, energy drinks are thought to be loaded with unhealthy amounts of caffeine and/or sugar, so differentiation in this category comes through when products include different sources for energy boosts that are not as conventional. Oca featured its newest flavor, Prickly Pear and Lime, making it the fourth SKU in the line of carbonated energy drinks, powered by cassava root. Courtesy of FitAid, an upcoming release of the Energy + Sports Recovery line uses green tea as well as BCAAs, turmeric, electrolytes, and more, to offer stacked functionality. Many brands are showing interest in fortifying their products with functionals, including Machu Picchu. Just launched at the beginning of this year, the energy drink brand promotes maca and B vitamins to support stamina, as well as caffeine from green coffee to their classic, zero sugar, and energy seltzer lines.

Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle

expo west 2 2Upcycled ingredients are the new wave for brands that are embracing and weaving sustainability into their narrative and operations. The upcycled ingredient market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5% from 2019 to 2029 (Future Market Insights, 2021). Brands that mentioned upcycled ingredients in their marketing claim that this is an impactful way to reduce food waste and increase revenue streams for farmers. On top of energy and immune support, Riff boasts that the cascara used in its line of functional beverages is upcycled, which would traditionally be discarded in the coffee harvesting process. Super Frau made the goal to upcycle 10 million pounds of whey every year with its small portfolio of functional beverages. Upcycled ingredient use was also prominent outside of beverages, like in the chocolate bars debuted by The Supplant Co., which are sweetened with sugars from fiber, produced using usually unwanted parts of crops such as stems, straw, and cobs. We expect innovation in the upcycled food
movement to keep moving forward and be even more prevalent at
future exhibitions.

Frozen Goes Furtherexpo west 2 3

The protein-rich and better-for-you frozen dessert space has been seeing a lot of movement in the last few years, but new products with additional functional claims and new formats have joined the ranks. Revolution Gelato showcased its new shareable size of its dairy free gelato pies. Perfect Day’s plant-based whey protein was also seen in The Urgent Company’s frozen dessert line, Brave Robot, which just surpassed one million pints sold at the end of 2021. The animal-free imitation ice cream, has just announced an expansion with three new flavors. Vegan versions of the Japanese dessert mochi has also been growing in popularity. Buono’s coconut milk-based Mochi Ice range of flavors includes Strawberry, Vanilla, Chocolate, Green Tea, and Durian, and is soon to launch in the US. In addition to options from vegan whey protein to other spoonable sweets made from chickpeas, avocado, and oat milk, innovation in this cold category is hot.

All of the innovation that we observed at Expo West 2022 has us excited to keep working on products that are bound to shake up the industry. If you’re looking to launch the next product that will help unlock innovation and push the food and beverage industry forward, email us at, to request ingredient samples, learn more about our proprietary ingredients, or bring your next concept to life with our team of savvy product developers, taste modulation scientists, and flavorists.