Conkle, Kremer & Engel attorneys Heather Laird and Desiree Ho attended the Natural Products Expo West in March 2018, where they encountered product trends emphasizing simple recognizable ingredient formulations, and business trends emphasizing strong women’s influences in ownership and management. Demonstrating the growing consumer interest in natural and organic products, attendance at this year’s Expo was reported to be the largest ever, exceeding 85,000 visitors to more than 3,500 exhibitors. CK&E attorneys visited clients’ exhibit booths and met with entrepreneurs in the beauty, food, and beverage industries to help them strengthen their brands, navigate regulatory and labeling issues, and grow their business.
Exhibitors showed strong cross-cultural influences, with many products and flavors from around the world, all emphasizing the trend toward fewer and more recognizable ingredients in simple formulations. Businesses clearly demonstrated they are responding and catering to the adventurous interests and palates of health-conscious, worldly, and informed consumers. Countless product lines were customized for consumers committed to paleo, vegan, and gluten-free diets. Another popular trend is toward products and businesses that are dedicated to championing charitable causes, so consumers can use their purchases to support causes they are passionate about and can feel loyal to brands that are as committed as they are.
Mirroring recent cultural trends, women-owned and managed businesses were very notable throughout the Expo. Many entrepreneurs proudly advertised their Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certifications. The WBENC certification “validates that the business is 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman or women.”
In the beauty arena, there were a refreshing number of brands actively encouraging women to maintain an open dialogue with the product manufacturer to address issues they regularly face. The trend of businesses expending great effort to establish dialogue and long-term relationships with their consumers through social media and direct contacts has become clear. These overlapping trends resulted in prominent presentation of many products “made for women, by women,” ranging from beautifully packaged feminine hygiene products to natural pre-natal and post-natal products promoted as safe for use by pregnant women and around infants.
CK&E attorneys provide full service to businesses in the beauty, food, and beverage industries. They regularly attend important trade shows to help their clients stay abreast of trends, new regulations, and developments in the law and the marketplace affecting these industries.