Natural Foods Merchandiser

What recession?

More people sold, sampled and schmoozed at this year’s Natural Products Expo West/SupplyExpo than any time in the event’s 29-year history. More than 53,000 industry members packed the Anaheim Convention Center March 5 to 8, up from about 52,000 attendees at Expo West 2008.

“Natural Products Expo West was incredible,” said Stephen Brooks, Co-CEO of Kopali Organics, a Miami-based company that buys from small organic farmers from around the world. “The show floor certainly didn’t look like there’s a recession in this country.”

Brooks and other industry members believe that the in-person opportunities of a trade show proved even more critical this year. “In spite of an uncertain economy, buyers and manufacturers alike knew that Expo West would be the place to grow their businesses," said Adam Andersen, Expo West show manager. "This year’s show demonstrated that natural and organic are as important as ever.”

More than 1,900 exhibiting companies from 28 countries packed 300,000 square feet of the convention center. Of those companies, 484 were new to the show, suggesting innovation and interest in natural and organic products is strong.
Co-located events included the Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace, Healthy Baking Seminar, Nutracon and SupplyExpo, featuring the latest ingredients and manufacturing supplies.

“Products and technologies introduced at SupplyExpo allow manufacturers to get a head start in highly competitive and emerging markets around the world,” said Len Monheit, supply portfolio director with New Hope Natural Media, which sponsored ExpoWest/SupplyExpo.

Last year, Tradeshow Week honored Natural Products Expo West/SupplyExpo as one of the “Top 50 Fastest Growing Shows.” Trade Show Executive gave the event its Gold Standard Award as a “Leader in Green Initiatives.”

Natural Products Expo East will be held in Boston Sept. 23 to 26.

Shara Rutberg
Senior editor
Natural Foods Merchandiser

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