Expo West unveils cutting-edge alternative protein innovations

Explore how alt proteins are showing up at the food industry’s biggest week of the year.
A plate of rice, broccoli, and meati cutlets.  image courtsey of meati foods.

Insider tips for maximizing your Expo West experience

Every March, thousands of exhibiting food companies and tens of thousands of registered attendees descend upon Southern California for one of the largest industry trade shows — Natural Products Expo West.

Companies from around the world come to Expo West to debut their latest and greatest products with the hopes of getting the attention of retail and foodservice buyers. They spend months preparing to ensure they have compelling branding, appealing booths, and thousands of samples available to serve hungry attendees. A successful showing can mean positive press and media attention, lucrative business deals, and an expanded retail or foodservice footprint. 

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To make sure you can taste all the alt protein products offered at Expo West, our team combed through the thousands of exhibitors to find ones serving alt protein products. We placed them all in one handy guide arranged by booth location and product type.

The sheer size of the show is one of the most notable aspects of Expo West. Thousands of booths are spread out over multiple convention halls and floors. Attendees buzz with excitement as they scout out the latest food trends and most delicious new products. Many people carry large bags to scoop up extra samples to bring home. With all the commotion, it can be challenging to navigate the crowds and find the products you want to try.

This year, we counted 120 companies* with alt protein products coming to Expo West. There are a lot of products and innovations to be excited about in 2024.

Trends and themes we’re excited to see at Expo West

Alt proteins at the breakfast table

Start your mornings off strong with these protein-filled products at Expo West. A range of new breakfast products — from eggs and bacon to yogurt and coffee creamer — will be available at Expo West this year.

Eggs: For years, plant-based eggs have primarily been available as a scramble. It looks like this is changing with the debut of Yo-egg’s impressive plant-based egg that can be served sunny-side up, poached, or as a patty. The egg has a distinct egg white and runny yolk, greatly expanding the range of culinary applications available. Fans of scrambled eggs are also still in luck as Acremade will also be at Expo West with a plant-based egg scramble made from yellow peas.

Creamer: According to our research, plant-based creamer has experienced three consecutive years of strong dollar and unit growth. At least six companies will be serving plant-based creamers this year with several unique ingredients to highlight – from Milkadamia’s macadamia nut creamer to a pecan creamer from THIS PKN.

Bacon: Bacon lovers will also find a lot to be excited about. Several companies are offering bacon products made from novel ingredients. Umaro will be serving their unique bacon which is crafted from red seaweed, while MyForest Foods is offering bacon made with oyster mushroom mycelium. Prime Roots will also be at Expo West with a koji-based bacon.

Fungi is having a moment

MyForest Foods and Prime Roots aren’t the only companies serving up fungi-based products. Meati is back again with carne asada and chicken made from their mycelium, which they call “mushroom root”. Fans of mushrooms can also check out Shroomeats burgers and meatballs. 

Plus, several types of mushroom jerky will also be available from Pan’s. And jerky fanatics are in luck as at least three other plant-based jerky options will be at Expo West.

Animal-free proteins

Expo West attendees will have several opportunities to try animal-free proteins. These proteins are essentially identical to proteins found in animals but are made by microbes via fermentation. 

Those looking for innovations in the milk category can stop by Strive Nutrition and Bored Cow. Both companies will be sampling milk and dairy products made with animal-free whey protein created via precision fermentation. Vivici will also be making its Expo West debut with its newly launched animal-free dairy protein.

Motif Foodworks, the creator of HEMAMI, will also showcase an animal-free myoglobin protein. Myoglobin is typically found in the muscle tissue of animals and the animal-free version provides a meaty taste to alt protein products. Impossible Foods will also be at Expo West this year with their burger that has a distinct savory and meaty flavor due to the inclusion of animal-free heme protein.


Alternative protein products are more environmentally friendly than their animal-based counterparts. Compared with conventional meat, plant-based meat causes up to 98% less emissions.

Expo West attendees can rest assured knowing all the plant-based options they are trying are good for the planet. However, we’re also noticing more and more companies going a step further by incorporating upcycled proteins into their formulations. Unlimeat, for example, uses upcycled plant proteins that would otherwise go to waste to create a variety of Korean cuisine-influenced meats. Evergrain is also at Expo West with an upcycled barley protein.


Of course, it’s not just end-products that are important. The ingredients behind them are equally as critical.

At least 35 companies offering ingredients for alt proteins will be at Expo West. We’ve noticed multiple pea protein suppliers like Puris and Ingredion. Miyoshi Oil & Fat is offering a plant-based fat designed to replicate the experience of animal-based fat. 

To find more innovative alt protein ingredients, IFT Suppliers Night Expo will be held on March 12 at the Hyatt Regency Orange County. Register to meet 600+ ingredient and service suppliers in the food industry. I will be at the Suppliers Night Expo and can’t wait to see the next-generation ingredients on display.

Meet us at Expo West

We’re heading to Expo West for the fifth time to taste new products and cultivate greater connections across the food industry. We’re also hosting two panels to share the latest news, data, and insights from the alt protein industry.

  • State of Plant-based Panel, Friday, March 15, 10-10:45 a.m. PT in Grand Ballroom E: GFI research analyst Ben Pierce will present consumer insights followed by a fireside chat with other industry experts. The session will provide a comprehensive overview of the plant-based food sector including new consumer insights and growth development strategies.
  • State of Alternative Proteins Panel, Friday, March 15, 11-11:45 a.m. PT in Grand Ballroom E: GFI corporate engagement lead — retail and foodservice, Marika Azoff, and startup innovation lead Audrey Spence will host a panel exploring the current state of alternative proteins across the globe. This session will cover the latest insights on market trends, consumer sentiment, and more followed by an in-depth discussion with industry specialists.

We would love to hear from you at these sessions or email us to set up a meeting.

Download our free alternative protein guide to expo west

Unlock the ultimate alt protein experience at Expo West

Our curated guide will help make sure you don’t miss a single alt protein innovation at Expo West. We’ve meticulously identified exhibitors featuring alt protein products, arranging them by booth location and product type.

*This list was created by compiling all exhibitor tags related to alternative proteins and cross-referencing with GFI’s alternative protein company database to filter for companies creating products that contain direct replacements for animal products (meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy). We also sent a bulletin to GFI’s newsletter list. Companies focused on inherently plant-based foods, such as chickpeas and kale, are not included. If we missed you, we’re very sorry. Please email corporate@gfi.org so we know you’re there and can send people your way!

Header and feature image courtesy of Meati Foods.