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Editorial: Natural Products Industry on the Move – to Boston

Industry is on the move. This time it’s literal. Later this week thousands will descend on Boston for Natural Products Expo East, an event that officially kicks of the fall show schedule and provides an opportunity for industry to gather, socialize, remember, commiserate and so much more. This is the second year for the event in Boston at an airy convention center in one of North America’s coolest cities.

I’m excited this year. Well, actually, I’m always excited, as I truly love these events. Whether it’s the show floor, the education (and this year we’ve got a great Supply education program), the city, the special activities or the combination of all the above, the natural products industry is comprised of many thousands of passionate individuals who thoroughly enjoy getting together to celebrate the sector.

This is not Expo West. It’s an event with a totally unique character and attitude, and as it turns out, over 90% of Expo East attendees do not even go to Expo West. This means a unique audience is available for exhibitors, there is not the absolute crush of activities of a ‘West’, so a more intimate environment is definitely created. Considering the attitudes and mission of one of our culture’s most fun industries, this year’s Expo East will be pretty much alight with ‘issues’. There are a couple events to definitely take in, including the Celebration of Angels event at the Convention Center Friday at 6PM.

This has been a tough year though. And the challenges will not be lost on either exhibitors or attendees. I suspect that those in Boston will spend more time celebrating who is there rather than lamenting those that are not. And if things hold from previous events this year, there will be a singular focus on the part of buyers on getting the deal done. After all, everyone is in ROI and justification mode at all events and with all expenses, and you know that there will be deals and dealing done this week in Boston. And of course, expect those present to steal the march on those taking a pass, as smart companies continue to use these tough times to get a head-start in the marketplace. And with regulatory enforcement, pending legislative activity, media coverage and health care re-invention all topics of concern, if not outright alarm, the dialogue in Boston will be animated, provocative, and of course, typically passionate.

So for those of you making the trek, I look forward to seeing you from Wednesday on. For those of you taking a pass, you will be missed, and you will be missing….part of what makes this industry special …in good times and bad.

See you in Boston!

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