Nearly 20,000 natural-products retailers, manufacturers, distributors and suppliers convened at the Washington Convention Center for the 18th annual Natural Products Expo East Oct. 3-6. "With a total of 19,842 attendees and more than 1,500 exhibitors, the strong turnout underscored the growth experienced by the natural products industry in the past year," said Brian Henderson, senior vice president of trade shows for New Hope Natural Media, a division of Penton Media.
On-site education was again an important part of the Expo, with more than 45 seminars and workshops offered. Jeremy Rifkin, founder and president of the Foundation on Economic Trends, presented the keynote speech, "Natural Products in the Biotech Century."
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., was among the dignitaries at the annual Spirit of Organic Awards Dinner, co-hosted by New Hope and the Organic Farming Research Foundation. Three of America's outstanding organic farm families were honored at the dinner: Phil and Katherine Foster of San Juan Bautista, Calif.; Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens of Penn Yan, N.Y.; and Tom and Irene Frantzen of Nashua, Iowa. Also, Wild Oats Markets presented an $82,500 check to Bob Scowcroft, executive director of OFRF.
The Taste of Expo was new at this year's show. In the blind taste testing, Pacific Foods was named the best soymilk. Lundberg Family of Farms won both salty snack categories with their new Sea Salt and Sesame & Seaweed Rice Chips. The energy bar tasting was divided into three categories: allGoode Organics won for best fruit-based bar; Crystal Mountain Products won best nut-based bar; and GeniSoy was picked best chocolate-flavored energy bar.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIII/number 11/p. 1