A convention floor—especially one as teeming with activity as that of Natural Products Expo East—can be an overwhelming place. This year?s Expo will feature more than 1,100 exhibitors, hundreds of new products and more free samples than you?ll know what to do with. But there?s no need to feel lost out there. Just follow the ?Hot Trends? icons all weekend, and you won?t miss a thing.
?The categories we?ve highlighted for the Hot Trends icons are the ones that will bring new consumers into the naturals market,? says Jennifer Shumar, Expo?s attendee marketing director. ?Attendees will be able to easily seek out the companies that are producing these marquee-type products as they go through the show.?
The trends featured at Expo East 2005 will be Essential Fatty Acids, Sustainability, Special Diet, Grab ?n? Go and Kids. Each category has its own easily identifiable icon that will be posted at exhibitor booths, seminars, events and in the New Products Showcase. Icons will also identify related companies, seminars and events in the official show directory. Attendees can pick up a guide to the ?Hot Trends? at exhibitor locators throughout the show.
The EFA category is rapidly expanding, with fish oils and flaxseed oils gaining wider acceptance from consumers. ?We?ve seen a growing interest in EFAs for a long time,? Shumar says. ?In that category, attendees will be able to see EFAs as ingredients in other products as well as standalone products.? Sustainability is a trend that crosses all categories. Many exhibitors at Expo East make a point of using ecologically sound, economically viable and socially just and humane business practices. ?It?s a wonderful part of the industry and it?s the defining philosophy for a lot of the companies exhibiting,? Shumar says.
The Special Diet category will focus on three different types of consumers: those who choose a special diet (such as low-carb, low fat or vegan alternatives), those who require a special diet because of religion (such as kosher products) and those whose special diet is medically necessary (such as diabetic-friendly products or allergen-free products).
The Grab ?n? Go trend has been prevalent in mainstream grocery stores for years, but is just starting to make headway in the naturals industry. ?People just don?t have a lot of time these days,? Shumar said. ?But a lot of healthy and natural premade items are becoming available.?
Finally, the Kids category will give attendees a chance to zero in on the best kid-specific natural products. In addition to exhibitors? products, a seminar held Saturday at 1 p.m. will focus on childhood obesity.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 8/p. 12