Many Hail NNFA MarketPlace 2003 As Best Ever
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (July 11, 2003) — The National Nutritional Foods Association’s annual convention and trade show, NNFA MarketPlace, held June 27 – 29 in Las Vegas, Nev., once again attracted more exhibitors and buyers over the previous year in what many called the association’s best show ever. NNFA’s 66th annual event drew a total of 6,759 exhibitors, retailers, media and others, an eight percent increase over 2002 totals.
“It’s great that we’ve been able to grow the show for the last two years,” said David Seckman, NNFA’s executive director and CEO. “However, we’ve done that by placing our emphasis not on simply making the show bigger, but making it better. We’ve created a welcoming environment where qualified buyers can really connect with exhibitors and where all attendees can find educational offerings targeted to their needs. And, very importantly, we’ve also made our show a place where attendees can learn about and take action on issues critical to our future as an industry.”
Although the show’s official theme was “Enrich Your Business, Enrich Your World,” attendees heard a recurring and consistent message throughout regarding harmful legislative and regulatory challenges, particularly to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), and the need for immediate action. Several hundred attendees answered the call to action, which came from keynote speakers Sen. Orrin Hatch, Rep. Dan Burton and others, and visited the advocacy center in the “NNFA Central” booth. There, attendees could immediately send letters to their legislators online or obtain consumer education advocacy kits to use in their stores.
“The timing of this show provided us with an ideal forum to not only get the word out to retailers and suppliers about impending issues that will ultimately affect their ability to do business, but to provide an outlet for them to take action and arm them with the materials they need to combat industry threats,” said Seckman.
Even as they responded to the industry’s political threat, attendees and exhibitors alike reported an overwhelmingly positive experience. Buyers browsed busy aisles and visited 550 booths showcasing products from more than 400 companies exhibiting dietary supplements, natural foods, health and beauty aids and more. Educational sessions, which began on Friday, June 27, were nearly all packed, many requiring last-minute additional seating to accommodate crowds.
Highlighting the show was a passionate keynote address from congressional leaders Hatch and Burton, who applauded the industry’s advocacy efforts and emphasized the importance of protecting DSHEA. Hatch emphasized the need to push the Food and Drug Administration to implement the nine-year-old law and Burton warned that restrictive regulations currently being proposed could put many in the industry out of business. Both encouraged proactive education of new members of Congress and consumers.
And the Winners Are…
On Saturday morning, before the main Keynote Address, the first annual Socially Responsible Retailer awards were presented to Betsy Billingslea of Betsy’s Health Foods, Houston, Texas, and Eve Prang Plews of Full Spectrum Health, Sarasota, Fla. The new Socially Responsible Retailer Award (SRRA) recognizes NNFA member companies that excel in integrating social responsibility in multiple aspects of their businesses including volunteerism, education, employee empowerment, environment and health.
Other award winners at NNFA MarketPlace 2003 included: Loren Israelsen (President’s Award), Frances Moore Lappé (Rachel Carson Environmental Award), and Dr. Walter Willett (Burton Kallman Scientific Award). Recipients of the newly established NNFA Clinician Award were Drs. Alan Gaby, John Lee, and Shari Lieberman. The NNFA Clinician Award is given to licensed healthcare practitioners whose work exemplifies the best standards and dedication to responsible holistic, non-invasive and integrative/complementary/alternative-medicine modalities. Winners of the NNFA Crusader Awards were Max Huberman, John Mackey, Joseph Pizzorno, Travis Tabor, and the late Dr. Robert Atkins.
Recognizing the best booths on the show floor, awards were presented to the following exhibitors:
• United Natural Foods, Inc. – Best Theme
• Soft Gel Technologies – Best Multiple Booth
• Way Out Wax – Best Single Booth
• Capsugel and Basic Research – Best Island Booth (Tie)
• American Health – Best Display of Product
The popular People’s Choice Awards, where retailers sample and rate exhibitor foods in a blind taste test, went to the following:
• Cereals: Kashi Organic Promise Autumn Wheat (Kashi Company)
• Cold Beverages (Nutritional): Essn Fuji Apple (Skylar Haley)
• Condiments: Sun Butter (SunGold Foods)
• Confections: Dark on Dark Classic Truffle (Queen Bee Gardens)
• Energy Bars: Meso-Tech Triple Layer Wild Berry Crisp (MuscleTech Research and Development)
• Pasta Sauces: Mom’s Garlic & Basil Spaghetti Sauce (Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods, Inc.)
• Salsa: Das Peach Haus Peach Salsa (Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods, Inc.)
Stowe Passes the Torch
At Sunday’s Annual Business Meeting and Breakfast, president-elect Bennett, owner of Harvest Moon Natural Foods in Olathe, Kan., officially began his two-year term as president of NNFA. Former NNFA president Mark Stowe will remain on the board as past president until 2004 when a new president-elect will be announced.
Also at the annual meeting, new members of the national board were announced. New retailer directors were Carol DeLa Rosa of Honey Bee Natural Foods in Brownwood, Texas; Jim Lewis of Sunseed Natural Foods, Inc. in Westbend, Wis.; Marianne Morgan of Health Habit in San Andreas, Calif.; and Jim Smith of Apple-A-Day Health World in Gadsden, Ala. New supply directors were Ryan Drexler of Country Life/Desert Essence in Hauppage, N.Y. and David Heilman of General Nutrition Corp. in Pittsburg, Pa. Re-elected to the board were Gary Barrows of Bluebonnet Nutrition in Sugar Land, Texas; Gary Hume of Nutraceutical Corporation in Park City, Utah; Scott Presnall of Advantage Sales and Marketing in Irvine, Calif.; and Debra Short of Debra’s…Naturally in Shawnee, Okla.
A New Location for NNFA 2004
For the past several years NNFA’s annual trade show and convention have been held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. In 2004 the show will move to a new location in Las Vegas, the Sands Expo and Convention Center, adjoining the Venetian Hotel, July 16-18.
“From an attendee and exhibitor perspective, changing to a new location in 2004 will put us in a more desirable area within Las Vegas,” said Seckman. “It will also allow us to offer more nearby hotel choices that will fit a wider variety of tastes and budgets.”
The National Nutritional Foods Association (www.nnfa.org) is the nation’s largest and oldest non-profit organization dedicated to the natural products industry. NNFA represents more than 5,000 retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products including foods, dietary supplements, and health and beauty aids. NNFA has offices in Newport Beach, Calif. and Washington, D.C., in addition to seven regional offices throughout the United States and is governed by a 22-member board of directors representing all industry segments.
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