Natural Products Expo West is always a staggering experience, in several ways. The sheer scale of it is obvious, but there is a sensory overload that I imagine few trade shows in any industry can match. And I mean that in good way.
Walking the floor provides a seemingly endless parade of some of the most striking packaging and unusual flavors on the market. My eyes ached and my tastebuds were shot after just the first few hours. But the experience is most memorable because of the dozens of fascinating founders’ stories that we heard. The passion for problem solving and focused opportunism that drive innovation across so many established and emerging food categories is inspiring.
Less inspiring but no less satisfying was the obligatory stop at In-N-Out. What trip to California is complete without it? And after so many cricket-protein chips and bone broth sips, a greasy double-double and chocolate shake is the ultimate cleanse.