It's time for buyers and manufacturers to meet in Las Vegas for the industry's longest-running trade show, the National Nutritional Foods Association's MarketPlace. The NNFA expects 500 exhibitors at the show, which will be held June 27-29 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
"Because attendee and exhibitor responses to last year's show were extremely positive, and preliminary numbers for this year's show are encouraging, we're anticipating another very successful event," says David Seckman, NNFA's executive director and chief executive officer. "We've expanded the original show floor to accommodate the growing number of exhibitors and are providing even more special events and valuable educational seminars for attendees than ever."
The opening keynote on Friday at 4:45 p.m., "Challenges, Solutions, and Inspirations," will be presented by Michael Murray, N.D. Murray will provide a critical look at issues shaping consumer attitudes and guidance about how retailers can grow business.
The keynote address, "The Natural Products Industry: Not Politics As Usual," will be delivered by two former Lifetime Achievement and Congressional Champion award winners, Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R- Utah, at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, June 28. As chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform, Burton is seeking fair treatment of dietary supplements and more research and understanding of alternative medicine. Hatch, a longtime supporter of the natural products industry, helped author the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act.
"We look forward to having two such prominent legislators speak at NNFA MarketPlace," Seckman says. "Both Congressman Burton and Sen. Hatch are strong industry champions of industry issues."
On Friday at noon, Hyla Cass, M.D., will discuss which vitamins, minerals and herbs can restore chemical balance in "Natural Highs: Enhance Your Mood and Energy, Naturally." In "Identifying Opportunities with Today's Natural Products Consumer" on Saturday at 8 a.m., Managing Partner Steve French of The Natural Marketing Institute will show how to capitalize on strategic shifts and interest in healthy, natural and sustainable goods and services, and how to evaluate consumer attitudes, product usage patterns and lifestyle factors.
Also on Saturday at 8 a.m., Jay Jacobowitz, president of Retail Insights, will examine "Why and How Independent Natural Retailers Will Continue to Succeed." In "Business Valuation/Sales of Business" on Friday at 1:45 p.m., Certified Public Accountant Allen Oppenheimer will show how to get the most from the sale of a business. For a complete list of educational seminars, see page 69.
Of course, there's also plenty of fun slated for MarketPlace. Be prepared Saturday afternoon for the popular People's Choice Awards, a blind taste competition where retailers sample natural foods from various categories and vote for their favorites. On Saturday and Sunday, attendees can watch Oregon-based chef and cooking instructor John Koch prepare dishes made from ingredients provided by show exhibitors. Also, registered retail attendees will have a chance to win prizes, including $10,000 in cash.
New at MarketPlace is the Natural Products Quality Assurance Foundation Golf Tournament at the Desert Pines Golf Course. The tournament will feature a four-person scramble format, and prizes will be awarded to the first place team, as well as for men's and women's drives closest to the pin, and men's and women's longest drives.
A separate registration fee is required. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit NPQAF.