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18th Annual Natural Products Expo East Draws Nearly 20,000 To Washington Convention Center

Over 1,500 Exhibits Showcase the Industry’s Latest Product Introductions

Nearly 20,000 natural products retailers, manufacturers and members of the press convened at the Washington Convention Center October 3-6 for the 18th annual Natural Products Expo East, the $34 billion natural products industry’s premier trade show. A total of 1,573 exhibits from 21 countries showcased products ranging from organic fettuccini to chemical-free hair color.

“With 19,842 attendees from 63 countries this year, the strong turnout underscored the growth experienced by the natural products industry in the past year,” said Fred Linder, president of show producer New Hope Natural Media, a division of Penton Media, Inc. “National awareness of the importance of healthy living and preventative medicine has increased, in part because baby boomers are reaching retirement age---and media attention has fueled sales in many areas.”

“A Natural Living category was featured at the show for the first time this year, with exhibits ranging from organic clothing and shoes to organic gardening products, cleaning products and home furnishings,” said Brian Henderson, vice president, trade shows, for New Hope Natural Media. “ Specialty foods, including organic food products, was particularly strong---it’s an area seeing a lot of growth. And dietary supplements had a huge presence at the show.”

“What I like about Expo East is the opportunity to meet with customers we don't get to see often enough," said Paul Romanos, Trade Show Manager, Tom's of Maine, a manufacturer of natural care products. "The ability to sample our new products and talk with people about our company and its values and corporate destiny is very valuable to us. It's also helpful to see what is taking place in the industry."

"We felt that the show had a tremendous amount of energy and was one of our best shows yet, “ said David Karr, co-founder of Guayaki Sustainable Rainforest Products. ““We were certainly impressed with the high number of retailers that came by our booth and took the time and energy to learn more about our products."

Buyers attending the show this year included mainstream retailers such as Costco and GNC. National grocery buyers were represented by chains such as Safeway, Kroger, and King Sooper's. The majority of the attendees were from independent retail stores and chains such as Whole Foods and Wild Oats.

"From a retailer's perspective, Natural Products Expo East is an incredibly informative and educational show," said Sonja Tuitele, Director of Corporate Communications for Wild Oats Markets, Inc., one of the nation's largest natural and organic foods retailers. "It allows us to stay on the cutting edge of new products and important issues facing our business. It also provides the opportunity to strengthen important relationships with our key manufacturing partners all in one place."

"It was a great show for Whole Foods Market. We were able to network and make great contact with our vendors,” said Betsy Foster, vice president of purchasing for Whole Foods Market. “ We had a lot of floor time where we spent a lot of time reviewing new products that we have not seen before."

The On-Site Educational Conference offered more than 45 seminars and workshops led by authorities such as Thomas Perls, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School (“Living to 100: Lessons in Living to your Maximum Potential at any Age”), “Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., director of the Annapolis Research Center for Effective Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia Therapies (“Nutritional Support for Chronic Fatigue”) and Lisa Nachtigall, MD, Director, Women’s Endocrine Center, Saint Elizabeth Medical Center, Boston, MA (“HRT- What Now?”).

The Keynote Speech was presented on Oct. 4th by economics expert Jeremy Rifkin, founder/president of The Foundation on Economic Trends, whose presentation was entitled “Natural Products in the Biotech Century.” Other highlights of the show included the Spirit of Organics Awards Dinner co-hosted by New Hope Natural Media and the Organic Farming Research Foundation on October 3rd. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was among the dignitaries honoring three of America’s most outstanding organic farm families at the sold-out event, which was held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Next year, Natural Products Expo East will be held September 4-7 at the new Washington Convention Center, which opens in May.

New Hope Natural Media’s Trade Show Division also produces Natural Products Expo West, which will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center Friday, March 7 through Sunday, March 9, 2003. The on-site Educational Conference will begin on Thursday, March 6 and continue through March 9. In addition, the 4th annual Natural Products Expo Europe will be held June 4-5, 2003 in Amsterdam at the RAI International Exhibition & Conference Centre, and the 2nd annual Natural Products Expo Asia will take place June 18-20, 2003 at the Hong Kong Convention Centre.

Manufacturers, retailers or media who are interested in participating in Expo West 2003, Expo Europe or Expo Asia should contact the Expo Registration Department at Toll Free U.S. 1 (866) 458-4935, International +1(303)390-1776 or e-mail them at [email protected] .

New Hope Natural Media is a division of Penton Media, Inc. (NYSE: PME), a leading diversified business media company that produces market-focused magazines, Web sites, trade shows, and conferences. Penton serves the natural products/food/retail; technology; manufacturing; design/engineering; supply chain/aviation; government/compliance; mechanical systems/construction; and leisure/hospitality markets. For more information, visit

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