The 35th annual Natural Products Expo West, the world's largest natural, organic and healthy products event, took place March 4 to 8 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. The event grew 7.2 percent, bringing together an inspired community of more than 71,000 industry members, more than 2,700 exhibiting companies and 634 first-time exhibitors. The event is produced by New Hope Natural Media.
Co-located with Natural Products Expo West was Engredea, the event to source new ingredients, packaging, technologies, equipment, and services for cutting-edge products, and the Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace, an innovative outdoor event that combines a traditional farmers’ market feel with the business-building power of a trade show.
Due to demand, New Hope expanded the event’s exhibit space to encompass the entire Anaheim Convention Center campus. In addition to traditional exhibit halls, new exhibitors showcased new products at the Hilton Hotel Anaheim, which also offered an extra day of exhibits on March 5. NEXT Forecast estimates the industry natural and organic products industry will grow to $252 billion by 2019.
Firsttime exhibitor Keith Mullin, founder of Zippy’s based in La Jolla, Calif., said, “We launched a new product at Natural Products Expo up in the new products area at the Hilton. We had some really high-quality conversations with retailers and received great feedback about how they perceived our product and how we can expand and grow with their companies.”
Beth and Amy Soergel of Naturally Soergel’s based in Wexford, Pa., said, “Thanks so much for having us; we had a really great time at Expo West. We love the new changes this year! Loved the Thursday hot products at the Hilton, loved seeing all of the new things coming out and are excited to come back next year! See you in September for Expo East!”
Matt Stearn, project and social media manager of derma e, based in Simi Valley, Calif., commented, “As a company that has been coming for over 30 years, we have to say that this is our best Expo West ever! Everybody has been so awesome and we are ecstatic about the audience that we saw this year.”
This year the conference program was extended to four days of robust education. The program offered a full docket of education topics as well as keynote presentations from Mark Bittman, food journalist at The New York Times, regular guest on “The Today Show” and author of the How to Cook Everything series and VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00, as well as Dr. David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, ABIHM, board-certified neurologist, fellow of the American College of Nutrition and New York Times best-selling author of Grain Brain.
New Hope’s team of editors and analysts identified the five macro trends influencing the marketplace:
- Transparency advancements: Consumers are increasingly demanding to know what is in their food, and brands are responding by using technology and other innovations to provide greater transparency and traceability for their products.
- Ancient Wisdom Gets Wiser: Brands continue to innovate by producing simple, delicious products that take minimally processing to new levels and contain short lists of nutrient-dense ingredients.
- Paleo 2.0: Paleo-positioned products were even more prevalent. The newest Paleo offerings are popping up in every product category, from English muffins to chocolate.
- Packaging Innovated: From edible cups to packages featuring famous cookbook authors, the packaging innovations made advancements in sustainability, consumer education and shelf stability.
- Protein Invasion: Responding to consumers' insatiable hunger for protein, natural and organic brands are packing new offerings with protein in every conceivable form.
"Advancements in transparency, clean product development and sustainable packaging created a rich environment of inspiring product innovation at this year's Expo West," said Carlotta Mast, executive director of content and insights at New Hope Natural Media.
Many companies were recognized with awards at Natural Products Expo West.
The official Natural Products Expo West “Best of West: Press Award” went to Justin’s Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Runner-ups include Noosa Yoghurt LLC’s Vanilla Yoghurt and Brandstorm Inc.’s Dark Chocolate Covered Chia Seeds
The winner of the NEXT Accelerator Natural Products Business School Pitch Slam was Loliware.
Expo West and eTown hosted a sold out benefit for Just Label It to help fight for federal mandatory GMO labeling. The evening of musical entertainment and interviews included performances by Ziggy Marley and Aimee Mann.
Natural Products Expo East 2015 will return to the Baltimore Convention Center, Sept. 16 to 19, 2015, in Baltimore. Natural Products Expo West 2016 is scheduled to take place March 11 to 13, 2016, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif.
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