Mushroom mania, products for women’s health, and lots of dietary fiber were among the high-profile trends in the spotlight at Natural Products Expo West. All suggest some market opportunities with significant potential.

Women’s Health

In an “Opportunities in Women’s Health” educational session, the consensus was that women’s health is a market that has not been addressed well until now. Many women still aren’t getting the nutrients they need (dietary fiber being one), and women have changing nutrient needs depending on life stage and age.

Many dietary supplements showcased at the Expo addressed some of these areas and highlighted ingredients that could be considered for food and beverage products targeted to women. Supplements from Make Time Wellness use MCT oil, omega-3s, acetyl-L-carnitine, and curcumin to support women’s brain health. Mixhers are powdered supplements in stick packs that can be mixed with water. They target women’s specific health and wellness issues like PMS, libido, and menopause. In addition to vitamins and minerals, the supplements contain a variety of botanical ingredients, including black cohosh, maca, pomegranate extract, fenugreek extract, milk thistle root extract, dong quai root extract, and chaste tree berry extract. Hot Flash Tea from Tea Botanics includes gamma-aminobutyric acid, oolong tea, wild yam root, echinacea, and black cohosh.

Dietary Fiber

“Fiber is the new protein,” said Julie Gordon White, founder and CEO, MenoWell, in the women’s health education session. Fiber isn’t just for women though. More than 90% of Americans fall short of recommended dietary fiber intakes. Suppliers demonstrated the variety of products that can be fortified with dietary fiber. Maple-flavored waffles made with HealthSense high-fiber wheat flour (Bay State Milling) provide a good source of prebiotic fiber. COMET showcased its prebiotic dietary fiber, Arrabina, in chocolate, hibiscus iced tea, and cold brew.

Brightseed announced the launch last month, in partnership with Manitoba Harvest, of an organic Bioactive Fiber product formulated with Brightseed Bio Gut, a novel hemp fiber ingredient with two unique bioactives, NCT and NFT, which show promise in supporting healthy gut barrier function.


Using various mushrooms as ingredients to tap into their traditional medicinal properties is not new. However, the amount of mushroom ingredients, foods, and beverages at the show was indicative of their growing appeal.

“Mushrooms can be a whole category, like botanicals,” noted Julie Daoust, chief science officer, M2 Ingredients. The company sells 10 species of mushrooms, including lion’s mane, turkey tail, chaga, and reishi. Each species has its own distinct qualities and applications for daily health, sports performance, recovery, and wellness.

“It’s interesting to see the increase in research and science of mushrooms,” observed Christopher Hobbs, a mycologist and herbalist, in an educational session on mushrooms. He noted that mushrooms rival animal products for their nutritional content (B vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, protein, fatty acids, and prebiotic fiber).

Exhibitors highlighted a variety of innovative products containing mushrooms. Windy City Mushroom demonstrated the use of mushrooms as a meatless meal option with its cooked Fungitarian Meatless Oyster Mushroom Mix in flavors like Asian Zing, Marinara, Tinga, and BBQ. Wise Bar makes functional mushroom bars with 3,000 mg adaptogens, including lion’s mane, reishi, and turkey tail. Melting Forest featured beverages like Mango Guava Mushroom Energy Drink with cordyceps and lion’s mane mushroom ingredients.


With its clean label and natural, holistic appeal, honey was a standout ingredient at the Expo. Beekeeper Coffee offered cold brew coffee and lattes, all with a drop of honey. Sana Honey featured its unique Honey Spoons, which can be eaten as a snack, drizzled on foods, or mixed in a beverage. With honey as the main ingredient, the supplements come fortified with ginseng, ginkgo, and rosemary (Energy); lemon, ginger, and echinacea (Immunity); or lavender, valerian, and passionflower (Sleep Well). Hive2O served up its Hard Honey Beverage in flavors like Ginger Mule, Atomic Berry, Hoppy Penelope, and PB&J. The company also featured its nonalcoholic honey wine, hops, ginger beer, and sour.

Nonalcoholic Beverages

Nonalcoholic beer and mocktails are still growing in popularity, fueled mostly by interest from millennials and Gen Z consumers. In addition to tasting like beer and cocktails, these beverages also offer flavor profiles to excite consumers. Mockly offers “booze-free cocktails,” including Eye Opener, a tangerine basil elixir, and Love Bite, a pomegranate ginger tonic. Wilderton showcased nonalcoholic Botanical Spirits like Bittersweet Aperitivo (grapefruit, orange blossom, and aromatic herbs), Lustre (orange, tarragon, and lavender), and Earthen (white peppercorn, pine-smoked tea, and cardamom). An event at Bravus Brewing Co. featured nonalcoholic options like Blood Orange IPA, Peanut Butter Dark, and Raspberry Gose.ft

About the Author

Linda Ohr
Linda Milo Ohr is a food scientist and writer based in Highlands Ranch, Colo. ([email protected]).