InsightsAdaptogens, cannabidiol and cauliflower – Must-know trends

Adaptogens, cannabidiol and cauliflower – Must-know trends

North America’s $200 billion+ natural products market – the world’s largest and fastest-growing market for natural, organic, premium and better-for-you products – remains a key indicator for what will hit Australian shores next, and stay the distance.

Bob Burke at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California courtesy of Timothy Hogan.

We take a peek into the future with renowned natural products consultant Bob Burke ahead of his trends briefing at this year’s Naturally Good, where he’ll deliver must-know trends and predictions for the year ahead, and his expert view on where the opportunities lie for Australia.

Here’s a snapshot of what to expect:

Cannabidiol (CBD)

Products containing CBD, the chemical compound from the cannabis plant, is far and away the biggest-growing market in this space. Unlike the other compound in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it’s not psychoactive, and is used in products such as creams, balms, ingestible and even pet food treats. It’s said to make you feel relaxed, able to sleep better, and manage anxiety, amongst other things.

Interest has been so strong in the States that major corporations such as Coca Cola are now looking into working with CBD, as they want to be fully ready to launch with something once cannabis is fully decriminalized in the US. It’s hard to know when or if regulatory rules will be lifted in Australia, but if they are, expect to see an explosion of such products.

Editor’s note: In Australia, CBD is only available with a prescription from an approved prescriber, or for approved medical research. It’s prohibited in Australia for topical, cosmetic or nutritional purposes, and this isn’t expected to change anytime soon. Hear from the expert panel at this year’s Naturally Good – The Future of Hemp: Beyond the Hype on Monday 2 June. See the full program here.


Adaptogenic substances are used in herbal medicine for the claimed stabilization of physiological processes and promotion of homeostasis. We are now seeing this as a component in beverages such as coffee mixes and mushroom teas.

Oat milk

Plant milk continues to be big and currently the star is oat milk. At the recent Expo West conference in Anaheim – the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products expo – oat milk was huge. Free from allergens associated with nuts, and with its ability to produce “foam” for coffee, people are said to be gravitating towards its more neutral flavor over the traditional soy milk leader.


Forget kale, cauliflower is this year’s new superfood. High in fibre, vitamins B and C, carotenoids (antioxidants) and glucosinolates, packaged cauliflower products grew in the US by 71 per cent last year. Items such as cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower rice and pickled cauliflower are flying off shelves.

Gut health related produce and products

There’s been a lot of noise about the benefits of having good gut health, so products containing probiotics and prebiotics such as yoghurts are on trend as are things like lacto fermented vegies, kimchi and sour kraut.

Meat substitutes

While vegan burgers have been around a long time, companies are taking it to a whole new level due to advances in production creating incredibly authentic tasting products. Impossible Foods, which created the much-hyped Impossible Burger, have learned to extract heme from plants mimicking the blood in meat products. Recently LA-based Beyond Meat, which was the first plant-based burger made from pea protein isolates and coconut oil, to be sold in the meat section of US grocery stores was valued at a staggering $3.8 billion. That just shows the massive potential for growth in this space.

Keto related produce and products

This year it’s been all about the ketogenic (or keto) diet – a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet which forces the body to achieve ketosis – the burning of fats rather than carbohydrates. Keto bread and keto butter which contain ingredients such as almond butter and coconut butter have done well, although it’s still too early to see whether it will last beyond the fad phase.

Sparkling water

Americans just love sparkling or carbonated water – last year sales topped $49 million. Now we’re seeing things like brands like BOS creating unsweetened sparkling iced teas in blueberry, white peach and pineapple. Meanwhile LA’s SZENT has taken it up a notch with scented water – each bottle has a patented scent ring that is infused with oils.

Cider vinegar

Cider vinegar is thought to have various health benefits such as killing bacteria, lowering blood sugar levels and lowering cholesterol. It used to be a bit of a folkloric thing, but now a lot of businesses are producing versions which are a lot more palatable, which the market is really responding to.

Bone broth

As part of the paleo kick, bone broth is still a popular product. Said to boost immunity and fight inflammation, concentrates and stocks have become very readily accessible in supermarkets including ones in Australia, and I think will continue to sell well.

Naturally Good is on from 2-3 June at the ICC Sydney. For information and to register click here. Trends from the US is on Monday 3 June at 2pm. See the full program here.

Lisa Crawford Jones is an award winning journalist, editor of What's New in Healthy Products and content manager to Naturally Good. She's a health content specialist with two decades’ experience spanning senior positions in public health policy; media, communications and advertising; and both consumer and trade markets for healthy packaged goods.

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