Natural Foods Merchandiser

Natural Products Expo Offers A Rainbow Of Opportunity

Purple, green, blue, gold—attendees at this year's Natural Products Expo, will be seeing colors. It's all part of the new show-within-a show format, one of the many changes to Expo West 2002 in Anaheim, Calif., March 7-10. "The new show format will save buyers valuable time and make their Expo experience more enjoyable," says Brian Henderson, senior VP/trade shows group.

The show-within-a-show concept was created to help shoppers navigate the more than 1,300 exhibitors more efficiently, according to Henderson. The exhibit floor will include seven different product categories, each with a distinct color scheme to help shoppers find the areas they need. For example, the food category will have green signage, carpet and draperies.

Located within the categories are 12 pavilions that highlight certain products. The natural living category features natural living and pet product pavilions. The food category features an organic wine and beer pavilion.

A complementary alternative medicine pavilion will feature yoga demonstrations, massage and Ayurvedic dosha testing. Andrew Work, spokesman from Natural Products Asia, will be at the pavilion to discuss the state of the traditional Chinese medicine industry in Asia. "The CAM pavilion is a great place for attendees to learn more about complementary and alternative practices," Henderson says.

Special plazas throughout the show floor provide exciting new additions to this year's Expo West, according to Henderson. "In the food plaza, there will be cooking demonstrations so shoppers can sample different vendors' foods." In the personal care plaza, attendees can receive makeovers in a spa atmosphere to experience exhibitors' skin care lines firsthand, Henderson says.

Also new this year is the New Hope Natural Media Retail Advisory Board. The 19-member panel consists of experienced natural products retail community members, including executives from Mother's Markets, Tree of Life and Whole Foods.

"We created a Retail Advisory Board to guide our future shows, and their voices will be heard," Henderson says. The board's first meeting on Friday will be a discussion of all aspects of the Natural Products Expo, including policies, procedures and special events. Expo attendees are invited to comment on the show via e-mail ([email protected]).

Thursday, Expo West celebrates Organic Day. Presented by the Organic Farming Research Foundation and Frontier Natural Brands, Los Angeles chefs Donna Prizgintas and Chris Blobaum will prepare an all-organic lunch to be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Attendees can sample fresh organic products, including produce, meat and dairy, and meet the people who grow and produce them at the Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace in the tent outside the Marriott from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. (For more on organic events, see Mark Mulcahy's column.)

Thursday night, attend the Organic Industry Reception, which is co-hosted by the Organic Trade Association and New Hope Natural Media, from 7 to 10 p.m.

Several tours offer conference-goers a change of scenery from the convention center. Attendees on the Herb Discovery Tour, Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., will learn about culinary and medicinal herbs. Also on Thursday is the Natural Products Store Tour. The Delicious Living retail team hosts a tour of some of southern California's best natural products retail stores from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. This year the Organic Farm Tour, hosted by Natural Foods Merchandiser columnist Mark Mulcahy, is on Saturday from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. (For more on the farm tour, see "Expo Retooled To Please Produce Managers.")

As always, Expo offers many opportunities for attendees to take a break from the trade show floor. The Industry Reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday is open to all attendees. As a special treat, Frontier Natural Brands and New Hope are co-sponsoring a performance by the Doobie Brothers and Maceo Parker in the convention center's third-floor ballroom at 8:30 p.m. The popular Club Row Dance party with three music venues is Saturday evening at 9 p.m.

For the first time, Nutracon, the New Hope conference for the functional foods and nutraceuticals industry, will follow Natural Products Expo West at the Anaheim Convention Center. "Expo attendees can turn around and be attendees at Nutracon," says Karen Raterman, VP/content development for New Hope. "We are looking for ways for companies to economize on their budgets and employees' time in the current economy."

Nutracon events begin Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. with the Technology Transfer Showcase. This event brings together buyers and sellers of proprietary and technology-based products. "There will be 15-minute presentations—ideal for companies looking for the next great thing to develop into the next great product," Raterman says.

Don't miss the Nutracon reception, hosted by New Hope, at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. "The reception gives Expo attendees the chance to sit back and relax, have a cocktail and hors d'oeuvres and prepare for the conference," Raterman says. Nutracon takes place from March 10 to 12.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIII/number 3/p. 44, 48

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