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A retailer's guide to Natural Products Expo West 2017A retailer's guide to Natural Products Expo West 2017

We've compiled these tips and frequently asked questions to help you plan your show.

February 24, 2017

9 Min Read
A retailer's guide to Natural Products Expo West 2017

Three thousand-plus exhibitors, 77,000 attendees and a jam-packed education schedule. It's almost time to gather in Anaheim for organic, non-GMO, health and doing business for good. Let Natural Foods Merchandiser help you find your way around with the tips below.

Frequently asked questions

Where do I need my badge at Natural Products Expo West?
To ease traffic going in and out of the exhibit halls, you need to present a badge and ID to enter the Anaheim Convention Center, not the show floor. Look for designated entry doors. Exhibitors and Super Pass holders have separate entrances. You will also need your badge to enter education sessions and on-site events. For badge pickup and registration locations, see the Expo West website.

I’m driving my car to the Anaheim Convention Center. Where is the best place to park?
It will be extremely congested near the convention center and parking will be limited this year because of construction and expanded on-campus activities. To avoid the chaos, we recommend parking for free at nearby Angel Stadium. Free shuttles are available throughout the day from the stadium to the Anaheim Convention Center and back. To take the shuttle from the Convention Center to Angel Stadium, load near Katella Avenue (by the Arena). Bonus: Avoid on-site registration lines by printing your badge at Angel Stadium after you’ve parked.

Related:Q&A: How to be mindful at work—and at Expo West

Can I register additional teammates in Anaheim?
Yes. Full-service registration will be available at the Hilton and education upgrades are available at the Marriott. While this service is available, Expo West organizers recommend registering staff before you arrive at the show to save time and avoid lines. If you do need to register someone on-site, don’t forget to bring valid business proof and identification (details at expowest.com).

How do I navigate the show floor?
The show floor is expansive, so it’s best to plan your route in advance. The Exhibitor List on the Expo West website is helpful, as are show maps available on-site. With all of the new exhibitors, though, you might need reading glasses to navigate by map. For ease, we recommend downloading the Natural Products Expo West/Engredea app for your phone or tablet. With the app, you can access the Exhibitor List, education schedule, events and a navigation tool, all while on the go. Get the app at m.expowest.com.

Is it hard to find places to eat while at Expo West?
There are restaurants nearby (think Cheesecake Factory, Anaheim Brewery, Joe’s Crabshack) but they fill up quickly. If you’re planning a dinner outing or team meal, call ahead and reserve space. If you need a quick bite to eat, the Hilton Food Court across from the convention center might satisfy your need. Pull up your favorite ride sharing app and get a ride to the Anaheim Packing House, 440 S. Anaheim Blvd. The food hall features several restaurants, bars, shopping and live entertainment. Downtown Disney makes for a nice walk or short ride, too.

I brought my children so we could go to amusement parks after the show. What options do I have for child care while I’m at the show?
Children 16 and younger are allowed to attend Natural Products Expo West, but they require a children’s badge and adult supervision. The cost for a badge is $25. If you need child care on-site, this is also available for $25 a day. To register, print badges or check children in to child care, go to the Hilton, Lower Level.

Registration and badge pickup lines have been difficult in the past. Will it be easier this year?
Yes! Lots of new registration areas have been added across the Expo West campus. Three examples are the Arena Box Office, the Hyatt Hotel and Angel Stadium. Additionally, keep an eye out for mobile registration carts. If badge pickup lines get busy, the mobile carts will roll that way to scan confirmation barcodes and print badges.

I love collecting product samples and bringing them home to try. How many am I allowed to take?
Attendees are limited to one sample bag per day. If you find that you’re getting too many samples to fit in one bag, encourage exhibitors to ship samples to you. This way, you don’t have to lug bags of food on the airplane and you’ll make sure to have the exhibitor’s contact information if you plan to place an order post-show. If you still have more than one bag at the end of the day, don’t worry. New Hope Network will donate the food to local food banks and charities, so it will go to a good cause.

What are Expo West essentials?
Water! Business cards. Expo West/Engredea app. Phone charger. Comfortable shoes. Snacks. NFM.

Is there anything new for Expo West 2017 I should know about?
The Hot Products show floors have expanded to include both the Hilton and Marriott this year. The exhibits will open a day before others and run March 10-12. If you see an “H” listed as a booth location, it means the exhibitor can be found in the Hilton; and “M” refers to the Marriott. The Super Pass is also returning. Even if you’ve already purchased a badge, you can log in to your registration account and upgrade your badge to get access to things like education sessions and a VIP Lounge with an electronics charging station.

Plan to's

Plan to stay organized at Expo West
If you’re looking for the best way to plan your expo schedule, then head over to your phone’s app store to download the official Natural Products Expo West app. If you’re an iPhone user, open up the app store and type "natural products expo" into the search bar located at the top of your screen. Second, click "get," then "install" and then type in your iTunes password to download the app. The next step is to open up the app. Once the app is opened, press "continue" to enable notifications, then “enable services” in order to get full use of the app. When that is done, sign in with your badge number and ZIP code (or use the app as a guest by pressing "continues as guest"). The Expo West app allows users to create their own schedule of events, view a map of Expo West, check out a list of exhibitors and so much more. If you’ve followed all the previously mentioned steps, you are all set to explore the app and create your ideal expo schedule.

Plan to get your groove on
Kat Myers and the Buzzards: A mix between rock and roll and the blues, Kat Myers and the Buzzards is a band right out of the classic rock archives. This performance on Thursday evening is sure to set the stage for a weekend full of good vibes. This trio uses its minimalistic setup to immerse fans in some feel-good music that is guaranteed to get you dancing. Be sure not to miss them on the Grand Plaza Main Stage on Thursday, March 9, from 6 to 8 p.m.

See-I: Washington, D.C., natives and brothers Zeebo and Rootz Steele have been sharing their influential reggae music with the world since the 1980s, and now they are bringing their talents to Expo West. Unwind with See-I Friday night, March 10, as the Southern California sun sets on a full day of Expo West. You can be sure that there will be lots of dancing and fun at this event on the Grand Plaza. Show your best moves from 6 to 8 p.m.

The Funky Meters: What started out as a friendly jam at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1989 turned out to be the grounds for the formation of the band The Funky Meters. Their music can be described as a combination of funk, blues and dance grooves with a hint of rock and roll—a combination that’s sure to get you on your feet dancing the night away. Be sure not to miss The Funky Meters from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, at the Grand Plaza Main Stage.

Plan to watch this
Climate Day at Expo West is sure to be jam-packed full of big thinking and tough conversations as thought leaders give keynotes about climate change, networking with other professionals concerned about climate change takes place and attendees take part in the climate awards ceremony.

Be sure, though, to stick around (or join in) as the day caps off with a film screening of Kiss the Ground. Two acclaimed documentary film production companies have partnered with the nonprofit Kiss the Ground to share the story of Earth’s foundation—soil. The film preview and question-and-answer session take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March, 8, in Marriott Ballroom E.

Plan to take time to breathe
Don’t stress out at Expo West—recharge and unwind with early morning yoga under the beautiful California sun. Held on the Grand Plaza Main Stage, you won’t want to miss out on this opportunity to stretch your muscles and clear your mind. Awake and find your bliss from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings (March 9, 10, 11 and 12).

Plan to sustain yourself
Sorry, samples will not sustain you for all of the networking, learning and product perusing you will do at Expo West. So to offer a little more sustenance on the Anaheim Convention Center campus (and the added bonus of being out under the California sun), The Park debuts this year in the Sheraton Parking lot behind the Hilton. Here you will find food trucks open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Natural brand trucks include: Nature’s Bakery, Nadamoo, Hippeas, Chefs Cut Jerky, Sundown Naturals and Vital Proteins.

Chobani, Vega, 4th and Heart, and Enjoy Life Foods will park alongside four Orange County-area food trucks to serve show attendees in the Grand Plaza. In the Convention Center, concession stands offer varied menus, including organic options, in the hall B/C breezeway and in halls A-D. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Across the plaza, the Hilton has a small food court including Sbarro, Baja Fresh Express, Just Grillin’ and Submarina. And both the Marriott and Hilton have Starbucks outlets with small grab-and-go offerings. Prepare for long lines.

Plan to focus on organic
Grow your organic offerings easily by strolling the Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace. This single-afternoon event features solely organic products. Find unique exhibitors that will only appear at this event among others who will appear on show floors later. Join in under the big white tent next to the Marriott from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 9.

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