Buyers and suppliers will come together this month at the National Nutritional Foods Association's 65th annual trade show and convention, MarketPlace 2002. The natural products industry's longest-running show will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from June 7-9. MarketPlace 2002 offers retailers the opportunity to check out the newest products from more than 500 exhibitors. Learn about the latest industry trends, legislative developments and marketing ideas in the education seminars and network with industry colleagues during social events.
Retailers returning to MarketPlace will notice a few changes this year. "We surveyed retailers and discovered that they're most often available to go to shows on weekends so they're not away from their businesses for too long," says David Seckman, NNFA executive director. The NNFA responded to retailers' requests by condensing exhibit days from three days to two weekend days. "With a three-day show rather than a four-day show, attendees will spend less time away from their stores and less money on travel expenses," Seckman says. This change reflects the show's theme, "Let's Get Down to Business." Also, all natural products retailers will be admitted to the show floor free of charge.
The education program begins on Friday, June 7, and continues through Sunday, June 9, and it also offers retailers something new for 2002. The educational sessions, which have previously been held at the Hilton, will now take place in the convention center, often in rooms adjacent to the show floor. "By having show-related events and education in one place, we've eliminated the time spent by attendees going back and forth between the Hilton and the exhibit floor," Seckman says.
The seminar schedule also reflects retailer demand for discussions about business improvement, nutrition and dietary supplements and new trends. Some educational topics to note include: "Increasing Profits Through Health and Beauty Aid Sales," with Jay Jacobowitz; "Back to the Future: Nutritional Foods in the 21st Century," with Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D.; "Operating a Successful Natural Products Store," with Danny Wells; "Good Manufacturing Practices: Preparing for Certification," led by Phil Harvey, Ph.D.; and "21st Century Supplements," with Earl Mindell, Ph.D.
On Saturday, June 8, at 9:15 a.m., industry champions Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, will deliver the keynote address, "The Natural Products Industry: Inside the Beltway and Beyond."
"We are extremely fortunate to have two such distinguished legislators speak at NNFA MarketPlace," Seckman says. "Both Sen. Harkin and Rep. Kucinich work tirelessly in Washington to champion the issues important to our industry. Their presentations will bring to light how increased success in the market is tied to success in Washington."
Retailers can have some fun on the show floor by participating in the People's Choice Awards, a competition in which retailers sample natural foods and then vote for the tastiest. Attendees also can enter contests that offer the chance to win up to $10,000 in cash prizes. And there's a rumor that Elvis might be in the building.
For more information on NNFA MarketPlace 2002, go to www.nnfa.org/tradeshow.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIII/number 6/p. 56