Top Trends From Expo East 2016

Hello, we’re back from Expo East in Baltimore where we had access to 1,900+ exhibits in the organic and natural space. Retailers, manufacturers, health professionals and brokers gathered in Anaheim for Expo West in the spring and Baltimore for Expo East in the fall to review the latest trends in the natural and organic industry.

We are excited to bring you a recap of our take on the top trends and innovations coming out of the Expo East show and would like to hear your input as well.

Cold Brew Coffee On Draft
Is it a Guinness? An English stout?
No, silly, it’s cold brew coffee and it’s delicious. Cold brew coffee is first air-roasted in small batches and then brewed in cold water for a coffee that is lower in acid, thus less bitter than warm-brewed coffee. Whether it’s in a can like the La Colombe lattes we sampled or on draft like the Chameleon draft, the WC&Co. team enjoyed this latest coffee trend.

Fermenting—Yummy Bacteria!
Fermenting foods is one of the oldest artisanal food processes around. Now we know that the fermenting process has probiotic benefits that are great for your gut! WC&Co.’s favorite brands were Jacob’s Raw and Cleveland Kraut’s. Both brands have also been experimenting with different flavor combinations that will make you crave putting Kraut on everything you eat. Try the Curry Kraut or the Whiskey Dill Kraut by Cleveland Kraut. You can thank us later.


On-The-Go Nut Butters
Nut Butters, like Almond, Pecan and Cashew are the perfect protein snack and the packages are  beginning to accommodate a busy ‘on-the-go’ lifestyle. Check out Justin’s Banana Chips with a side of Maple Almond Butter or Pretzels to dip into Honey Peanut Butter next time you get hunger  pangs at 3 pm. Nut Butter has created new flavored nut butters such as Pecan Pie Almond Butter or Blueberry Cinnamon Bun Cashew Butter. Bye-bye ol’ Peanut Butter! There are new flavors in town.

Bone Broth – The New Superfood
Bone broth is the latest product that claims multiple benefits, such as healing your gut, protecting joints, looking younger, sleeping better and immune support. The bones contain gelatin and collagen and the broth is made from grass-fed, humanely raised animals. Our two favorites were Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein, which came in powder packets that you can enjoy in hot water. The other was Bonafide Bone Broth.
Just pour & heat!

Quirky Jerky
We are in the middle of a jerky renaissance. No longer is jerky only available at 7-Elevens and gas stations. Artisanal snack meat brands are being sold at health food stores across the nation. One of our favorite brands is Krave jerky. Krave has successfully married high quality ingredients and premium flavors. Lorissa’s Kitchen launched its Korean BBQ flavor and we are total fans. Lightlife is in on the game with a plant protein jerky.

And That’s Just A Nibble!

For a downloadable PDF version of this report, please click here to download and share!

For more information from Expo East, or to connect to hear our POV on how these insights could transform your brand, contact Wendy Church.

Wendy Church
Director, Creative Services



TRANOÏ, which means “between us” in Italian, is an artistic platform that gathers and curates the very best of avant-garde and progressive designers as well as contemporary and leading brands, and puts them in the hands of the most influential players in the fashion industry.


The tote and program from the show.

From the Tranoï Site: Four times a year during Paris Fashion Week, and twice a year during New York Market Week, the TRANOÏ fashion trade show takes place in prestigious venues and establishes a relationship between creativity and business.

The prestigious venue for this year’s TRANOÏ NY event was The Tunnel, located in Chelsea on 11th Avenue. My companion for the show was friend and professional perfumer, Sherri Sebastian, of Sebastian Signs. Sherri was to participate in a panel discussion about trends on Saturday so she set off to gather what information she could from all of the latest items on display.


Rich and Sherri


Vendors, Buyers and Groupies

We walked the floor, Sherri with an eye on trends while I considered the packaging. Below are some photos from the event.



One curiosity was the infusing of artifacts. Fragrances were a good part of the show and so perfumes were in abundance. But fragrances don’t always have to be housed in a perfume bottle, they can be absorbed into objects. Rather than have a jar of aromatic crystals in your home, perhaps a sculptural display would suffice.



A drop of fragrance with one of these and you have a conversational scent pieces.

Having gathered her thoughts, Sherri shared her opinion with the Trend Panel on Saturday. Overall, she thought the show was lovely, understated and elegant. There were highly curated collections of the hottest luxury must-haves. There were many heavy oud inspired notes – oud is the synthetic version of agarwood. Sherri spoke about how the trend will be towards more muted and resinous woody notes. Florals will become greener. The Rose trend will migrate towards violets and other vintage floral notes. The Trend panel agreed with her insights, adding that oud could become a new fragrance category.


On the packaging side, there was a lot of black.


…and more black, which is to be expected in the luxury market.


If black wasn’t dark enough for you, one of the fragrances had ingredients such as gun powder, blood and brandy. But some still appreciate color,  especially gold.




In the end, all was pretty and elegant. But in a market where you can sample the scent before the purchase, packaging will take a back seat. You may be drawn to the display because of design but if it’s not what you want, you’re not going to make a purchase.

Just like consumer goods, you can wrap a chicken dinner in the best packaging in the world but if the customer wants steak, you’re not going to sell your chicken. I’m not sure that adding gunpowder, blood and brandy is going to help in that market.


What’s In Vogue?


What’s in vogue right now? What stays in vogue? How and why do fashionable things become unfashionable? What was once popular becomes passé, you feel like you can’t wear a garment you once loved because now, it’s different. It’s old. It’s no longer in. Like fonts, trends and fashions come and go and though you may like Serifs and Leg Warmers, you don’t use or wear them anymore.


What is it about our sense of taste that discards what once was for the latest what is? Only to look back at what once was ten years later and loving it again for its retro look.

For example, the icons on iPhones used to be dimensional. When they hit the scene, everyone dimensionalized their logos, following the trend, with swoops of highlights and drop shadows. Then, with an update to Mac’s operating system, all icons went flat. Suddenly, that was cool and in vogue. The pendulum swings. Will the next generation be Wowed when dimensional icons start showing up on their smart phones?


Retrospectives can give us a condensed view of what’s been, so we may compare and contrast trends, determine what was a fad and discover what has become classic. 100 Years of British Vogue was celebrated in Trafalgar Square at the National Portrait Gallery. The exhibit closed at the end of May.


To see how the world turns, the exhibit is experienced in reverse chronological order, so you get to travel through time from 2016 to 1916 . A selection of photos from the exhibit can be found here:

Keeping on the trend, Vogue featured Bo Gilbert, their first 100 year old model, in their May issue.


For a quick review of what was fashionable in the hair and makeup field, you can check out this video, “100 Years of Beauty in 1 Minute.”

Of course, the times we live in can greatly affect what’s fashionable. San Serif fonts have been all the rage as of late, but now, Serif fonts are poised for a comeback. Is this due to all our mobile devices having higher resolution that can now handle serifs? As opposed to early versions of our devices where clarity was an important ally against frustration.

To see what’s in fashion in fonts, you can always check MyFonts best sellers.

To see what’s in fashion now, you can check out this slideshow of Vogue’s Met Gala:

Following what’s in vogue, The Met has extended its Manus x Machina Fashion in an Age of Technolog exhibition through September 5th.


From The Met’s web site: Over 120 pieces of haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion are yours to discover in Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. The exhibition explores the creative process and unravels how designers are reconciling the handmade with the machine-made in fashion. Galleries will focus on embroidery, feather work, artificial flowers, and pleating alongside innovative processes such as 3D printing, computer modeling, and more.

Fashions may come and go but Clothing and Writing are here to stay, they may just take different styles to get their point across.


EntranceThe 2016 Summer Fancy Food Show took place at the end of June in NYC, so our team headed across town to scope out the latest in food trends and innovation. Over the course of two days, we sampled our way through the exhibition halls hosting over 2,550 companies from over 50 countries.

Here are a few brands that struck our fancy:

ShrubVinegar & Juice Infusions

American Roland Brands new line of fruit juices with vinegar can be used as a mixer that adds a tart and slightly sweet flavor to drinks and food. They are called SHRUB and come in Honey Ginger, Peach, Cranberry, and Fig flavors. Our team used the Fig SHRUB to make Figgy Old Fashions. They were perfect!

CentoItaly’s Past is Present

Every savvy chef uses Cento brands and products. From the fresh Anna pastas to the Cento San Marzano tomatoes, the full line of products transports you to the Italian countryside. These quality products are now available in an Organic line.

SivieroIce Cream Porn

The appetite appeal in the ice cream & gelato category was mind-blowing. Clear packaging that displays the frozen delicacy is currently on shelf but we were truly impressed by the sexiness of Siviero Maria ice cream. How could you resist? Peel pack the top, grab a spoon and dig in.

ArtisansTotally Cheesy

Cheese wheels, sliced cheese, cubed cheese, soft cheese and hard were on display from every country. We enjoyed cheese from France, Italy, & Spain, but our favorite was from the U.S.A. Simply Artisan knocked it out of the park by combining flavor and functionality. The feta on watermelon was sublime.

Lidia.jpgCelebrity Chefs

We were surprised to see so many chef branded products. From sauces and dips to frozen foods, many chefs are bringing their secret recipes to your home cooking. We were especially honored to have met Lydia Bastianich. Her show, restaurants, and products exude authenticity and taste. We’ve crowned her the Italian Julia Child.


For more information from the Summer Fancy Food Show, or to connect to hear our POV on how these insights could transform your brand, contact Wendy Church at




LuxePack arrived at Pier 92 in NYC this year and Wallace Church & Co. was there. Our observations
are below.

Sig9image by Signature9

Make The Usual Unusual
If you look in anybody’s bathroom drawers or cabinets you’ll probably find glass bottles, plastic bottles
and tubes of potions and lotions. They are hidden away for a reason. Most of them add clutter and are
not particularly pretty to look at; they are strictly functional. Many manufacturers are now looking to
turn these functional and common products into unusual aesthetics. Signature9 now offers nail polish
with a whopping eight-inch spike. It’s certainly worthy of its own shelf outside of the bathroom, perhaps
on the fireplace mantel?

Display Your Bottom
Bottle corks, stoppers, labels, and outer packaging are all used as a canvas for designers to bring a brand
to life. Just when you thought the area was maxed out, one manufacturer, Estal, has expanded the
canvas by making the bottle bottoms bigger. They’ve labeled this process DobleAlto. This creates a
pedestal that can be transformed by embossing or engraving. The product can now sit on visual base
like a throne. Speaking of thrones, did you see the latest (5/15/16) Game of Thrones episode? OMG!

Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize
Continuing with the Game of Thrones reference, it seems that all perfume and spirits bottles must be
dressed for the occasion. Ornate daggers, leather bodices, razor blades and the finest jewels can now
adorn any bottle according to Bernardo Manufacturing. We were slayed by these items above.

Sporting Wood
Beautifully handcrafted wood adds a level of earthy sophistication and a tactile experience to stoppers,
cosmetic trays and outer packaging. We especially admire the use of ash and oak. The artisan level of
detail adds to the warmth and welcoming usability.

Bring your own bag/box. Bags and boxes for outer packaging were everywhere at Luxe. Luckily, we
didn’t have to bring our own — Invercote! Bags were supplied to attendees by Iggesund.

What differentiated one manufacturer from another was either design, texture or both. Bold colors,
unusual structures, and leather paper caught our eye. The use of bags with flashing lights blurred the
line between what is Luxe and what is tacky. The jury is out. Thoughts?

Top Trends From Expo West 2016


We’re Back from Anaheim, CA, where we were part of the record-breaking 77,000 industry members that attended the 2016 Natural Products Expo West show. Inside the Anaheim Convention Center, the popularity of organic and “natural” foods came to life with more than 3,000 exhibitors. Our first stop was to hang out and visit our partners including Nature’s Path, Taste of Nature, Ciao Bella, Burt’s Bees, Nestlé, and Rishi Tea.

ClientsIII Continue reading

Artificial Intelligence – The Ultimate Design Partner?


Considering the Future with Stan Church-

With so much talk about the impact technology will have on…well, on everything, there are some who believe that designers’ jobs are in jeopardy. The popular thinking is that artificial intelligence (AI) will develop to a point in the near future which computers will be capable of designing, of being creative.

What exactly is creativity? Simply put, it is the ability to make new things or think of new ideas which involve the use of imagination. So the question is: can we really develop computers that have the ability to imagine…to form a picture that has not been seen or experienced?

There is no doubt that computers will be able to draw from unprecedented amounts of data and inputs, giving them the ability to solve problems and eliminate constraints that typically inhibit creativity, invention and innovation. But will they ultimately be able to internalize and interpret the nuances of language, non-verbal communication and emotional responses?

Let’s go back in history a bit. When desktop publishing emerged in the 1980’s it eliminated many jobs within the design world and provided tools that enabled one designer to do an entire design project from start to finish, at a significantly reduced cost. Design firms had to scramble to rethink their business models and designers had to reinvent themselves. But what it also did was eliminate all the non-creative parts of the design process, freeing up designers to spend more of their time being creative.

Fast forward to 2020 when artificial intelligence will be commonplace. Computers will have the ability to process almost endless amounts of information, search limitless databases of colors, typography, shapes, images, textures, etc., freeing up the designer to spend more time being creative. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate collaborative partner? Or Shani, CEO of Adgorithms, a leader in Digital Marketing Software Powered by Artificial Intelligence, wrote in Wired magazine that, “As easy as it is for machine-learning technology to self-improve, what it lacks is intuition. There’s a gut instinct that can’t be replicated via algorithms, making humans an important piece of the puzzle. The best way forward is for humans and machines to live harmoniously, leaning on one another’s strengths.”

Designers will always have value but in order to stay valuable to non-designers, they will constantly need to be on the leading edge of technology, using AI as the ultimate partner. The strength of human designers will be in their ability to interpret feedback from human clients, understanding the nuances and providing the finesse, while their AI partners data mine creative resources to make them both look like the creative stars they are or will be.

related articles:
Google’s AI vs Go board game grandmaster: Round 1 goes to the bot



Au Naturel…

Suitcase_yellowWe’re heading to Natural Products Expo West 2016, one of the world’s largest natural products expos. Wendy Church and I, (Lainie Zwecher) are excited to attend. It’s a great place to gain category insights, identify trends, and admire all types of branding and packaging design. The conference is in sunny Anaheim, CA, so hopefully, we will have time to absorb some Vitamin-D by the pool.

One area that we are eager to learn more about is that the FDA has recently started to solicit definitions for the claim “Natural.”
What is Natural????  There is NO official definition for the marketplace so any brand can essentially claim to be “Natural” or “All Natural.”
Now, the name of the conference has “Natural” in it!  Can they use that word once the FDA confirms a definition? The result will impact claims on packaging and affect brand design aesthetics. For starters, we wonder if there will be less front pack claims and more farm to table imagery?
We’ll see what develops in that arena but until then, we’re looking forward to what’s rolling out and who’s returning. We’ll visit the booths of our friends from Taste of Nature, Ciao Bella and Nature’s Path while developing new contacts.
We’ll follow up with a report from the field while we’re absorbing our Vitamin D and much earned pool time!
See you there?