And so it begins - the annual trek to Anaheim - A flurry of activities including meetings and presentations intended to cement existing relationships, build new ones and to enable companies to stay (at least) a step ahead of the competition.
Over the past several years, this multiple event under one roof has become an even larger focal point, one which unofficially marks the beginning of the industry year.
A mere few years ago, weak ingredient supply presence meant that appreciation of ingredient innovation was not part of the event, despite the presentation of the annual NutrAward celebrating innovative evidence-based health and nutrition ingredient and technology products. (http://www.npicenter.com/anm/anmviewer.asp?a=17926&z=37) That has now resolved into SupplyExpo, arguably one of the most vibrant ingredient events in North America, with its co-location with the main Expo West show hall and with Nutracon across the street, an ideal recipe for developers and formulators to take the next several steps in product development as they start their ‘industry year’.
What does the year really have in store? Predictions call for more of the same year-over-year growth and overall growth figures ranging from 6 to 10 percent. We’ll get an unofficial answer ‘on the floor’ once industry gathers under one roof, later this week.
I’ve said before that in our experience, 2006 was perhaps best described as ‘the year of wait and see’, with new product introductions at a lower level than in previous years, as companies waited for existing products to grow in channel sales and took a slow pragmatic approach to new opportunities. Part of the caution was probably attributed to regulatory and market uncertainty, but as no new guidance was really forthcoming in 2006, we’re now prepared, as an entire market, to watch new relationships and product developments return to the pace of years previous. Also, there is no way a growing market (albeit slow growth) can see two such years of uncertainty, so we would expect to see the entire show floor, especially the Supply Expo environment, quite active.
The last few years, it has been a challenge to appreciate the entirety of Natural Products Expo West. The luxury of leisurely walking the entire show floor has long been lost, and as activity in the SupplyExpo Hall has picked up, it has become more demanding and concentrated as the location for meetings and critical interactions. Having said that, there is a certain satisfaction that comes with operating at the frantic pace that the event itself demands.
Since one person cannot appreciate the entirety of the goings on in Anaheim, as we attempt to do our show recap, we would very much appreciate your assistance in the ‘What’s New, What’s Hot’ arena as you wander the hall and presentations. Please send any comments and submissions to [email protected] with Expo West in the subject line.