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What Is the State of the Nutrition Industry? Find Out at the 2010 Expo West

In a little over a week, nutrition industry executives from all over the world will be gathering in Anaheim, California, for the 2010 Nutracon Conference and Natural Products Expo West tradeshow. The Nutrition Business Journal team will be there to meet with industry participants, peruse the massive tradeshow floor, and bone up on the latest issues and trends shaping the global nutrition industry during the Nutracon and Expo West education sessions. We’ll also be presenting our annual NBJ State of the Industry session, during which we will share some of NBJ’s proprietary market data and get down to the "nitty gritty" with a panel of experts about some of the key strategic issues affecting dietary supplements, natural & organic products, and functional foods and beverages. Details about the session are below. We hope to see you there!

NBJ State of the Industry

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Friday, March 12, Room 204AB

We’re changing things up a bit for this year’s NBJ State of the Industry presentation, which has become a must-attend education session for many industry executives at Expo West. NBJ Publisher and Editorial Director Patrick Rea will open the presentation with an analysis of how sales of dietary supplements, natural & organic products, and functional foods and beverages fared in 2009 and what we are expecting for 2010. Then, I and Nancy Coulter-Parker, editor in chief of Delicious Living magazine, will interview a panel of industry experts about key issues affecting supplements, natural & organic, and functional products.

On the panel will be:

• Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods

• Todd Norton, chief operating officer at A.M. Todd Botanical Therapeutics

• Laura Batcha, chief of policy and external relations at the Organic Trade Association

• Mark Fergusson, CEO and chief financial officer at Down to Earth, Hawaii’s only vegetarian natural & organic food store chain

The questions we will be posing to our panelists (and the audience) include:

• Since the election of Barack Obama, the FDA and FTC have stepped up their enforcement of the label claims being used by food and beverage companies. Is this ultimately a good thing for the functional food and beverage industry? What are you expecting in 2010?

• If passed, what ramifications would McCain’s Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010 bring about for the industry and consumers? Would the bill do what is needed to weed out the bad players?

• In a statement defending his bill, McCain Dietary Supplement has said that, despite what opponents of his proposed legislation are claiming, “If you take a vitamin now, this bill will in no way restrict your ability to take that vitamin.” Is this true?

• McCain’s bill would require retailers to obtain written evidence from supplement manufacturers documenting that products are registered and adhere to all new FDA requirements. Would such a rule affect a retailer’s ability to offer a wide variety of legitimate supplements?

• The functional food and beverage industry continues to grow at a healthy pace, with new food and beverage products being launched every week. The problem is, however, that some companies will put just a small amount of a functional ingredient into a product just so that they can charge a price premium and promote the ingredient on the product’s packaging and label. How big of a problem is this for the functional food and beverage industry? Is “pixie dust” dosing a common practice? What are the ramifications for the functional food and beverage industry? What’s the solution?

• What really happened to organic during the recession? How did organic sales fare compared to natural sales in 2009, and what is expected for 2010? In what ways were consumers able to save money and still buy organic?

• In 2009, several organic companies introduced a “natural” product or dropped their organic content all together. Do you believe there was a large scale shift from organic to natural, or were these isolated examples?

• Even if only a few companies moved from organic to natural, how do these actions impact consumer perception of the value of organic compared to natural? Some organic companies I’ve spoken with have said consumers are so confused that they believe, in some instances, that natural is actually superior to organic. What are your thoughts on this?

• Does having multiple standards and certifications for natural & organic personal care result in too much consumer confusion?

Is there a question or issue you would like to hear NBJ and our panel of experts address during the State of the Industry presentation? If so, e-mail the question to [email protected]

Related NBJ links:

Global Supplement & Nutrition Industry Report 2010

February 2010: Functional Food and Beverage Issue

Organic Is Not Immune to Recessionary Woes

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