BALTIMORE -- More than 3,000 executives from dietary supplement, food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies took advantage of the new opportunities presented by the first SupplySide East show at the Baltimore Convention Center May 5-7. The show featured a larger exhibit hall, expanded education program, and a host of affiliated events and meetings.
"Baltimore is an excellent venue and presents the needed opportunity to grow this event," said Jim Roza, director of quality assurance with NOW Foods. "There is an expanded array of vendors and a number of executives mentioned the outstanding quality of the education program."
The move to Baltimore resulted in a 16% growth in exhibition space, from 327 booths in 2003 to 379 booths at the 2004 event. Exhibitors reported excellent contacts with both new and existing customers.
"This was a strong show and we met quality contacts," said Tom McMahon, sales manager for nutrition with Lonza. "It is always a great opportunity to conduct business face to face with current and new clients."
"I was able to meet the one customer who I had never been able to meet before, and that was the icing on the cake," said Don Stanek, sales director for Linnea Inc.
"It has been a banner day," commented Neil Sullivan, sales and marketing manager at Kyowa Hakko following the close of the exhibition hall on Thursday.
In addition to exhibiting, suppliers took advantage of a variety of new opportunities afforded by the move to Baltimore. Plentiful meeting rooms allowed more companies to present product-specific VendorWorks education sessions. In all, attendees were able to choose from 21 company-sponsored sessions, up from 13 at the previous year's event.
"Cognis' VendorWorks presentation on cholesterol-lowering ingredients was one of our most successful seminars to date," reported Kathleen Moran, global market segment manager for dietary supplements at Cognis Nutrition & Health. "We had an overwhelming number of attendees asking for a copy of our presentation that included Vegapure(R) vegetable sterol esters. Based on the feedback we received, the information helped customers and prospects better understand how to position their products to consumers. They were most interested our comparison matrix that included safety, efficacy and allowable claims."
Suppliers also found unique means of entertaining and networking with key clients and prospects. Pharmline and Pronova co-sponsored a private suite at nearby Camden Yard during the Wednesday night Baltimore Oriole versus Chicago White Sox game. More than 50 leading executives from the industry enjoyed an evening of food, drink and America's pastime.
The larger venue supported an aggressive expansion of the SupplySide East education program from two days to three days, and from 10 sessions to 18 session and two Featured Speakers. The SupplySide East program was also developed with the assistance of a formal Scientific Advisory Board for the first time. The board included representatives from Access Business Group, AHPA, CRN, and General Nutrition Centers. The program was co-sponsored by Essentially Pure Ingredients and Virgo Publishing.
On Wednesday, attendees heard from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a Featured Speaker presentation by David Elder, director of the Office of Enforcement within the FDA's Office of Regulatory Affairs. Elder reported on FDA enforcement actions, said that the agency will continue to focus on safety issues, and said that the agency is not "looking for any changes to DSHEA or to reopen" it.
Thursday's Featured Speaker, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, captivated the audience with a blend of business philosophy, personal anecdotes and motivational appeals. Johnson is spokesperson for ImmunEnhancer, an immune-support ingredient from Essentially Pure Ingredients. He also expressed his strong belief in the importance of dietary supplements to public health and encouraged the industry to reach out to the public to improve health. Johnson surprised everyone when he asked audience members to pass their business cards to the aisle for a drawing. After Essentially Pure Ingredients president Elliott Balbert selected three cards, Johnson called them to the front for their "prize." The winners were shocked to learn they would be flown to Los Angeles with three friends to have dinner with Johnson and watch a Lakers game from his courtside seats. Johnson then selected a fourth person to enjoy the same thrill. The winners were:
-- Connie S. Losito, C.P.M., director of purchasing, Solgar
-- Matthew K. James, vice president, sales and marketing, Purity Life Health Products Limited
-- Panna Chaudhari, Ph.D., director of technical affairs, Fortitech, Inc.
-- Joseph J. Veilleux, Jr., general manager, EUROMED USA, Inc.
The expanded education program also included the following presentations:
-- Paul Coates, Ph.D., director of the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health shared the ODS' Strategic Plan for 2004-2009.
-- A double session on the development of analytical methods and reference materials featured representatives from ODS, AOAC International, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, FDA's Natural Products Division, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Chromadex and Medallion Labs.
-- A double session on the "State of the Industry" moderated by Marc Ullman of Ullman, Shapiro and Ullman and a panel that included Michael McGuffin, president of AHPA; David Seckman, executive director and CEO of NNFA; and Annette Dickinson, president of CRN. The panel addressed the ephedra ban, pending GMPs, threats to DSHEA, potential changes to nutrition labeling, Adverse Event Reporting, and other issues.
-- Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council, discussed the top 10 safety issues in herbal medicine and the misinformation that is often found in the media related to these issues.
-- The issue of dietary supplements that contain substances banned by professional and amateur sports organizations was address by a panel that included Kathy Pompliano, manager of new business development for NSF International; Amanda Gwinnup, nutrition manager and research coordinator for Athlete's Performance; and Douglas Rollins, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and pharmacology at the University of Utah and the medical director of doping control at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
-- Mary Mulry, Ph.D., senior director of product development and standards for Wild Oats Markets discussed how this leading retail chain ensures that the products on their shelves deserve to be there.
A complete listing of sessions and speakers is available at www.supplysideshow.com.
The keynote address by America's best known political couple, Mary Matalin and James Carville, was co-sponsored by Unigen Pharmaceuticals and Virgo Publishing and delivered a combination of political humor, insight and opinion. With the presidential election already heating up, Matalin and Carville delivered their unique perspectives on what to expect in the coming months.
SupplySide East offered a broad selection of networking opportunities as well, beginning with the Sixth Annual SupplySide East Golf Classic co-sponsored by Marco HI-TECH and Virgo Publishing. Nearly 120 golfers played the scramble event at Woodlands Golf Course.Carolyn Micheli with Watson Foods, Dave Huesgen and Dave Barnes with Reliv International, and Craig Fish with Degussa Food Ingredients were the winning foursome with a score of 59.
Thursday evening's Opening Reception, co-sponsored by DSM and Natural Health Science, attracted more than 800 guests to enjoy a live band, food and drink, and networking. "The Opening Reception is always a fun time that gives the opportunity to network with the people you haven't had a chance to meet yet on the show floor," said Lynda Doyle, director of marketing with DSM. The show concluded with the traditional Appreciation Party held on the show floor and co-sponsored by BASF, DNP, Fortitech and NSF International.
Total attendance at SupplySide East came in at just over 3,000 which was essentially even with the previous year's total attendance. The show producer considered this a strong showing for the first year in a new location. Exhibit hall traffic on the final day of the show was slower than on day one, and the show producer attributed that to a couple of key logistical issues. First, companies that had many people drive over to the show for a day in New Jersey sent just their key personnel to Baltimore, so a higher percentage of the attendees were actual decision makers. Second, the afternoon show hours on the final day caused many attendees to consolidate their meetings and floor time into the first day to reduce travel time and expense.
"We learned a lot from the first show in Baltimore, and we have several strategies to further develop the show in the future," said Peggy Jackson, director of publishing at Virgo Publishing. "Our mission is to improve the event every year, and the move to Baltimore is an important part of that strategy. We appreciate the support of all of the companies who believe in us, and we remain committed to delivering the best event for suppliers and manufacturers."
The larger venue also enabled the show producer to accommodate a variety of related meetings and events that were not possible in prior years. This included several task group and expert review panel meetings conducted by AOAC related to the development of validated analytical testing methods, AHPA committee meetings, an NNFA GMP training session, and others.
"Certainly people come to trade shows to do business, and SupplySide East delivered in that area once again," said Jon Benninger, director of business development for show producer Virgo Publishing. "Trade shows are also the place where people and organizations come together to address important industry challenges and opportunities, and the new venue allowed SupplySide East to support these efforts that will pay dividends for the entire industry."
Another example of this was the Thursday evening fundraising dinner to benefit the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA). The event attracted approximately 70 industry leaders and raised about $50,000 for the industry-wide public education and communications effort.
SupplySide East is produce by Virgo Publishing Inc., producer of Natural Products Industry INSIDER magazine and HSR: Health Supplement Retailer magazine. SupplySide West 2004 is set for Sept. 29 - Oct. 1 at the Sands Convention Center and Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Additional information about SupplySide is available at www.supplysideshow.com or by calling (800) 454-5760.