Natural Foods Merchandiser

Store of the Future at Expo West

Progressive retailing and manufacturing materials will be on display at this year's Natural Products Expo West, March 6 to 9, in Anaheim, Calif. A "Store of the Future" will be built inside Hall B of the Anaheim Convention Center, and the new Global Supply Marketplace will take over Hall A during Expo West's four days of exhibits, seminars and events.

An estimated 30,000 natural products industry members are expected to attend this year's show, and New Hope Natural Media, the show's producer, is planning to provide attendees with new interactive experiences and more focused networking space.

"The Store of the Future integrates every area of our show floor into one retail environment," says Sandy Voss, New Hope's exhibit sales and services director. "The goal is to make it as interactive as possible and to take the learning out of the classroom and onto the show floor."

Members of the store's design team will lead tours through the 2,000-square-foot space, says Voss, which includes a personal wellness area, reference section, kitchen "demo" counter, check-out stand and the newest point-of-sale and product-ordering technologies.

Retailers will be able to consult with designers about the eco-friendly materials on display and then go to an information counter to learn why the flooring, for example, is a better "green building" alternative for their new or remodeled stores.

A Green Building Pavilion will complement the Store of the Future at Expo West 2003. "The pavilion will demonstrate products and services that embody energy efficiency, balance with natural resources, and intelligent, sustainable designs," says Bud Wilson, a consultant to New Hope who is directing the sustainable-building initiative.

The new Green Building Pavilion will promote the mainstream use of earth-friendly products that are now considered "alternative."
Earth-friendly lighting, flooring, interior and exterior building materials, and nontoxic finishing materials will be showcased in the pavilion. Architects, builders, retailers and publishers who take part in ecologically responsible building projects will display their goods and services at the show.

Wilson says the objective of the Green Building Pavilion is threefold:

  • To establish business-to-business relationships that will promote the mainstream use of earth-friendly products that are now considered "alternative;"

  • To assist with the "greening" of the retail, manufacturing and distribution sectors of the natural products industry;

  • To demonstrate the interrelated nature of all economic activity in order to accelerate the transformation to a healthy, sustainable economy.

For attendees interested in the body care side of the natural products industry, a Personal Care Spa will be set up in Hall B to provide spa-like treatments and product demonstrations. Five stations will feature manicures, pedicures, facials, makeovers and relaxation sessions. Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

On Thursday, March 6, the Global Supply Marketplace will open its doors to Nutracon and SupplyExpo attendees. Nutracon is an annual conference tailored to executives, product formulators and brand managers who develop and market dietary supplements, functional foods and nutraceutical ingredients. This year's conference will feature more than 40 speakers and 35 hours of seminars on topics ranging from obesity and diet to financial strategies and marketing trends.

Accompanying Nutracon is SupplyExpo, a hall within Expo West that focuses on the supply side of the industry, including raw ingredient suppliers, equipment manufacturers and analytical laboratories. SupplyExpo will give manufacturers a look at innovative functional foods, nutraceuticals and production technologies.

"We listened to our customers, and the result is the next evolution of Natural Products Expos, where all aspects of the value chain are addressed in a more appropriate way," says Rob Lutz, show director for Global Supply Marketplace. "Nutracon's high-level education conference combined with a supply-specific tradeshow provides finished-good manufacturers with all of the information and sourcing opportunities they need to create successful new product strategies."

Manufacturers who are expanding their brands or ingredient sourcing internationally will have opportunities in Asia and Europe in 2003, according to Lutz. Global Supply Marketplace will become a pavilion within Natural Products Expo Asia and Natural Products Expo Europe this year.

Steve Taormina is a freelance writer and Web site designer in Nederland, Colo.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIV/number 2/p. 18, 24

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