How important is it to know what is in your food? Clean labels make it possible to know exactly what goes into the food we consume. SupplySide West provided valuable insights into the world of natural and clean-label ingredients. Come along as we take you through our discoveries at this Las Vegas-based show.

1. SupplySide West is the place to be.

With more than 20,000 attendees this year and 1,200 exhibitors, this was the place to get clued in on food science and strategy. While the numbers sound large, they are even more impressive when you consider the show had a 17 percent increase in attendance in 2016. This tells us that both businesses and consumers are more interested in natural products than ever. Mercer Foods attends the show because we want to be at the heart of the groundswell of innovative clean-label products.

2. Clean-label ingredients and nutraceuticals are booming.

The show had exhibitors from more than 60 countries. Representatives from Latin America, Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, the U.S., and Canada were in attendance. This made for a few animated discussions in a multitude of languages on the show floor. The common thread? A positive dedication to natural and clean-label products. More than 10,000 different clean-label and natural ingredients were showcased.

No matter where you looked, clean-label ingredients and nutraceuticals were showing off as well as having third-party documentation substantiating their claims. Organic, Fair Trade, non-GMO, Kosher — everyone was there. Third-party lab testing is no longer an option, as consumers are starting to expect it.

3. It’s not all business all the time.

While the show was a big chance for networking and discovering exciting new business opportunities, there were plenty of educational opportunities as well. Keynote speakers, panel discussions, workshops, training in good manufacturing practices, a clean label summit, plus workshops led by the American Herbal Products Association were just a few breakout options. There’s a lot to learn about natural and clean-label products, and it was good to see the industry learning together.

4. Natural products have a healthy mix of big and small companies.

A multitude of stakeholders had products on display, big and small. Multibillion-dollar companies like ADM, Cargill, Glanbia, and Kerry Group were there, showcasing the clean-label portions of their portfolio. Additionally, smaller established independent companies were exhibiting, as well as new startups trying to bring the latest in innovation.

5. It was Vegas, but no Elvis in sight.

This was a little disappointing. We were expecting at least one Elvis.

Mercer’s commitment to creating the highest quality freeze-dried products is informed by careful processes and keeping up with industry innovation. If you’d like to find out more about our products, get in touch with us, or ask questions on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.