Expo West 2023 Recap

By: Bex Team

The whole Bex team took the trip to Anaheim to experience Expo West this year. After three days of being fully snacked and thoroughly inspired, we took off our sneakers, reviewed our findings and jotted down some of our highlights.

Booth Designs

Poppi, Oatly, and Update's Expo West booths.
By Dolan Frick

Expo West was a wild blur! So much to see and take in all at once, but a few of the booths stood out.

Oatly has always had great design and this year’s booth was no exception. This was certainly one of my favorites, with their minimal color usage, eye-catching illustrations, and of course delicious products.

Poppi might just take the cake for most inviting booth. The massive space covered in fuchsia was inviting, but beyond that they crafted their booth space into a chill lounge.

Doing the most with the least in my opinion goes to Update energy drink. This booth stood out to me in an unapologetic way. This simple statement went a long way and made an impact without having to spend the money. Sometimes, less is more.

Packaging Innovations

Chobani, Loop, Rishi, Zevia, and Maiz packaging from Expo West.
By Ian de Lemos

I always arrive at Expo West hungry for good design and tasty snacks. This year was no different.

Zevia hit it out of the park with their refreshing, bold new look. The exaggerated, leafy type, bright colors, and illustrations caught my eye and made me thirsty for more.

Siete surprised me with their new line of chips, “Maiz”. At first, I thought that it was a healthier version of their current line with the simplistic one-color pattern over white. Although I enjoyed the look and feel, I missed the solid logo lock-up on their current line that’s so identifiable on shelf.

Chobani’s Coffee Creamer also refreshed their look by using imagery and positioning their logo loud and proud down the center.

Another brand that made me stop, look, and sip was Loop. By utilizing bright colors and a simple yet witty abstraction of their logo as the main attraction, their packaging felt modern and playful.

Rishi’s new flavors of concentrated teas looked as good as they tasted, enhanced by their classic, beautiful illustrations which felt unique to their other lines yet still well integrated with the rest of the brand.

Several brands grabbed my attention through bold color, impactful vertical logos, and artful illustrations. Thanks to these and many other brands, my hunger was satisfied yet again.

Merchandise

Merchandise collected at Expo West.
By Jacqueline Swanson

As a hoarder of all things free, fun, and well branded, I had a hay-day at Expo West 2023. Highly appreciated were the functional merchandise, like Chameleon’s hat and Sola’s reusable baggie. I struck gold when I snagged Banza’s collapsible water bottle. Lesser Evil came through with the largest variety of well-designed items like stickers, pins, chip clips, bracelets, and coin pouches. Brands upped their tote game this year with varying sizes and materials, color floods, and even printed straps. A few brands turned heads with iridescent bags like Lesser Evil, Perfy, and Wildwonder.

There was however one show-stopping item that stood out above the rest. We spotted it immediately and continued seeing it everywhere for the next two days: Yumi’s large, high-quality, green tote, with big neon type and thick neon straps. The genius marketing tactic had everyone buzzing. I nearly made a man choke when I tapped him to ask where he got his. Before I could even finish the question, he said “row 15” with a noodle halfway down his throat. He knew exactly what I was going to say.

Along with discovering new brands and products, my goal this year was to add to my collection of stuff that I can’t live without, and Expo West 2023 delivered.

Most Trafficked Booths

Rao's, Chobani, and Bob's Red Mill booths at Expo West.
By Mia Ditmanson

What do you get when you combine pizza with a live band and coffee? Expo West’s most highly trafficked booths! Expo had it all, though it was no surprise which booth setups won over the masses. Three of the most trafficked booths were well-known and nationally loved brands.

Rao’s grabbed the attention from event-goers and kept it with their continual serving of fresh, hot pizza slices that many felt out-did the competition. Chobani made a splash (pun intended) by partnering with La Colombe Coffee Roasters this year and had a full-functioning coffee bar with their new creamers on tap. Lastly, crowds flocked to the Bob’s Red Mill’s booth, where they were met with a live band brightening up the event center with upbeat jazz music.

Sustainable Packaging

Grounded's booth and Reel and Tetra Pak's display case at Expo West.
By Michael Thompson

As the left brain to this group, I am usually thinking more about practical production than creative design. 

On that note, my focus at Expo this year was sustainability, and several things caught my eye as we walked through the aisles. 

Reducing food waste through upcycled foods is the main mission of the Upcycled Food Association. Getting certified with this organization and being a part of their Project Drawdown could help fight hunger. We are familiar with the upcycling cause based on our work with Barnana.

Investing in bamboo paper products is another great way to help fight climate change and our impact on the environment. Notably, the folks Bim Bam Boo focus on making their bathroom products from the fast growing bamboo fiber rather than trees. Taking it one step further, Reel ships their tree-free toilet paper product in plastic-free packaging. 

In San Diego, curbside compostability bins are more and more common as we follow the lead of cities like San Francisco and Seattle.

Using plant based compostable trash bags and sandwich bags are a great way to fight the plastic problem plaguing landfills and oceans near you. 

Companies like Matter and HoldOn boast a product line of such products and provide great options for anyone interested in home compostability.

Finally, manufacturers like PactivEvergreen stood out to me with their initiative to have 100% of their products made with recycled, recyclable, or renewable materials by 2030.

Tetrapak, the packaging industry leader, plans to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as well by 2030.

Minimizing carbon footprint is the platform Grounded is based on. This B-Corp packaging company manufactures sustainable pouches, files, and materials for use in the food packaging industry and can be great solutions to combat climate change. 

Overall it is nice to see us making gains to eliminate or at least limit one time use packaging and it will be something I continue to look for in years ahead. 

SD/CA