Map and plan your weekend. Study the conference schedule and get to know your way around, so you don’t waste time getting lost on your way to sessions. There’s a lot on the agenda and you want to soak up as much of Expo West as you can—both at the regular sessions and at the extras, including the Organic Farming Research Foundations’ 25th anniversary celebration, which features a first-rate organic feast that will help benefit Deep Roots and New Shoots at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday in the Grand Plaza. Cost is $85.
Aim to learn—and sell! The Natural Products Business School Investment Summit (7 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, $295 for exhibitors, $395 for nonexhibitors) brings together the leading natural products investors and offers brands an opportunity to pitch them. Twenty brands get to present, receive feedback and, quite possibly, connect with the investor they’ve been waiting for. The top three companies identified during the event will move on to the open-to-all, not-to-miss Pitch Slam Competition from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday in Marriott Platinum Ballroom 1-3. Good luck!
Expo West 2015 appearance:
Visit expowest.com for the complete schedule and to sign up for register-only events.
Step into other people's shoes. Get to know your various niche markets—and potential markets—better. Learn about the rising power of millennials’ values (9 a.m. Friday, Marriott, Orange County Ballroom 1), the supplement market that boomers are building (2 p.m. Friday, Marriott, Platinum Ballroom 2) and the ethics of marketing to children (noon Saturday, Marriott, Orange County Ballroom 1).
Stop and smell the…botanical herbs. Spend the afternoon with the American Herbal Products Association walking through the Fullerton Arboretum’s 26-acre botanical garden. You’ll learn about the herbs growing there, the healing powers they have and why more and more consumers are taking an interest in them. Meet at the Anaheim Hilton at 1 p.m. on Thursday; $60. Be sure to register in advance to guarantee your spot.
Create a media strategy. With a couple of sessions dedicated to smarter navigation of today’s media environment (9 a.m. Thursday, Marriott Grand Ballroom F; 3 p.m. Thursday, Marriott Grand Ballroom F; 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Marriott Grand Ballroom F), it would be a shame to leave Expo West without some insight and direction in mind of how to read—and participate in—news coverage of the industry.
Mark Bittman Keynote. Don’t miss hearing the insights that renowned New York Times food writer has to share at 9 a.m. Saturday in Marriott Platinum Ballroom 5/6.
Tour some of the country’s best retail stores for natural products. Start your Thursday morning by hopping on a bus (buses leave at 8 a.m. from outside the Anaheim Hilton) for a guided tour of some of Southern California’s hottest specialty stores. Industry experts will be along for the ride to provide advice for running a successful retail operation. Cost is $60; advance registration suggested to secure a spot on the bus.
Fresh Ideas Organic Expo. Network and meet the leading organic producers and manufacturers under the white tent outside of the Marriott. You’ll find brands large and small, and some special products that won’t be on the show floor, so don’t miss it. This show is only open from 12:30 to 5 p.m. on Thursday.
Healthy immune boost. For your clients, customer base or even for yourself, check out the various sessions on some of the latest superfoods and health food science, from organics (4:30 a.m. Thursday, Marriott Grand Ballroom G/H) to mushrooms (10:30 a.m. Saturday, Marriott Platinum Ballroom 5/6) to hemp seeds (1 p.m. Friday, Marriott Platinum Ballroom 3).