10 Mission-Driven Food and Beverage Brands at Expo West

See 10 of the top mission-driven brands at Expo West 2024 that stood out for more than just taste.

Impossible burger at Expo West

Expo West, a natural products trade show that takes place annually in Anaheim, brings togethers crowds of supermarket buyers, suppliers, consultants, media, and more — enough to fill a football stadium.

But out of the approximately 3,000 exhibitors, some managed to make more of a name for themselves than others.

As a corporate sustainability writer, I had my eye particularly on brands that promoted more than just flavor. Here are 10 of the top mission-driven food and beverage brands, in alphabetical order, that stood out at Expo West.

And if you're a subscriber, you can also read three bonus marketing tips at the end on how to stand out at Expo West.

1) Atlantic Sea Farms

Kelp might not sound like the most appealing food to everyone, but Atlantic Sea Farms does a great job incorporating this superfood into a wide range of products, such as smoothies and burgers.

This woman-run business works with farmers to grow kelp, a climate-friendly plant, in the Gulf of Maine.

“By farming seaweed in their off-season from fishing, these families are leading the fight against climate change and building a more resilient food future for all of us, all while protecting their livelihoods and improving ocean health,” the company explains.

2) Fire Department Coffee

This veteran-owned company, founded by a firefighter, serves up delicious coffee and gives back to firefighters and other first responders who get sick or injured on the job.

For example, the company gives back $2 from each bag of coffee ordered through its Fire Department Coffee Club to the Fire Department Coffee Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

Fire Department Coffee also has sustainability minded practices, like using upcycled plant-based protein in its instant coffee protein powder. I wasn’t expecting instant coffee to taste so good, especially with protein added, but it was fantastic.

3) Impossible Foods

Expo West isn’t just about emerging, unheralded brands. Some bigger players, like Impossible Foods, also attend. But that doesn’t mean they should be overlooked in Expo West roundups.

Impossible’s plant-based chicken & waffles was one of the best things I tasted at the conference, and the brand is on a mission to help consumers lower their environmental footprints through dietary changes.

For one, Impossible Beef has 91% less emissions than animal beef, according to a lifecycle analysis the company worked on with third-party consultants.

4) Lattini

You might think the plant-based milk category has been solved, with almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, and many other varieties hitting the market and making their way into the mainstream. But some plant-based milks still have issues like high water inputs.

Lattini was created to solve some of these environmental challenges, while creating a healthy, tasty product. Their sunflower milk, created from organic sunflower seeds, is one of the best plant-based milks I’ve tasted — all while having significantly lower carbon emissions and water usage than almond milk, according to Lattini

5) New Breed

New Breed is a black- and women-owned brand that provides more than just delicious plant-based meats, with minimal, easy-to-understand ingredients.

New Breed is also embarking on what it calls “Plants on a Mission.”That means that in addition to focusing on sustainability, the brand’s “primary focus is helping our communities improve their lives through healthier eating and education.”

6) Pescavore

While I can’t speak to the taste, given my fish allergy and plant-based preferences, I did notice Pescavore’s sustainability-minded branding. The Santa Cruz, California-based, black-owned company sources and processes its fish within the US, with a mission based around wild-caught, responsible sourcing off the California coast.

This local commitment can have benefits like reducing emissions that can otherwise come from importing fish, as well as stricter standards around fishing practices compared to some unregulated areas, the company explains.


SIMPLi sells pantry staples like quinoa and chickpeas, but with a focus on sustainable sourcing directly from farmers, in areas such as co-founder Sarela Herrada’s native Peru.

Many of SIMPLi’s products are Regenerative Organic Certified, and the brand also helps farmers achieve that certification when possible. “By learning from Indigenous communities around the world and restoring these ancient methods of farming, we are not merely solving the issues of today—we are regenerating full ecosystems and fostering a better future for the next generation,” the company says.

8) The Ugly Co.

Too often, fruit gets wasted and causes an unnecessary climate impact simply because of its appearance. But The Ugly Co. is working to help change that by saving “ugly” fruit and turning it into dried snacks.

The brand has a mission to prevent 12 million pounds of food waste “by changing people's perception of Ugly one pack at a time,” the brand says. On a broader scale, the company has a vision to “achieve zero food waste at farms globally.”

9) WhatIF Foods

WhatIF Foods turns a relatively unknown legume — at least to Americans — into plant-based milk and noodles. The star of their brand is the bambara groundnut, also known as a bamnut.

“We’re harvesting a largely forgotten plant, a hero crop, with regenerative super powers,” the brand claims. “It’s a thing of beauty because it’s better for our soils, our bodies and all our futures.”

10) 12 Tides

To round out this list of mission-driven brands at Expo West 2024, 12 Tides is another brand tapping into the power of seaweed, and they do so by creating organic kelp-based chips.

The certified B Corp brand not only helps support ocean health via kelp farming, but the company also has important sustainability practices in place, like using compostable packaging.

Plus, 12 Tides donates 1% of sales to ocean restoration projects.

Bonus for Subscribers: 3 Ways to Improve Your Marketing at Expo West

At a massive trade show like Expo West, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.

How can your plant milk stand out when every seed, grain, and nut known to humans is also on display? How can your vitamins and supplements be memorable when it’s hard to demonstrate the potential benefits with just one sample? And how can you turn all this foot traffic into something of value for your brand?

Consider the following trade show marketing tips that I saw work well at Expo West:

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