LAS VEGAS--More than 5,000 executives from dietary supplement, food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies gathered Oct. 1 to 3 for the 7th Annual SupplySide West trade show and conference at The Venetian and The Sands Expo.
"Virgo knows how to do a show right," said Karl Riedel, president of M.K. Health, a division of Nutraceutical Corp. "There were several elements to making it successful, such as including the NIH [National Institutes of Health] educational component, and targeting the audience who should be here. This show saves me a week of man hours in the office because all the contacts I need to meet with are here."
The SupplySide West exhibit hall consisted of 456 companies occupying 628 booths. The show was up in attendance from 4,784 participants last year, a growth of 7 percent.
"We're thrilled with this show," said Barry Kaufman, senior product manager for BASF. "All the customers we're looking for are here."
Other exhibitors agreed with the assessment. "This is the industry show we wouldn't miss," said Amy Cone, director of marketing with Kemin Foods. "It is the place to get business done."
To start off the show, Virgo hosted the 7th Annual SupplySide West Golf Classic, sponsored by Pharmachem Laboratories. More than 260 golfers participated in the event at Stallion Mountain Country Club, taking up two courses.
Networking opportunities abounded off the show floor. More than 500 executives from all over the world gathered for Virgo's International Welcome Reception. On Thursday, the Opening Reception--sponsored by ADM Natural Health & Nutrition, Degussa Food Ingredients, Natural Health Science and Roche Vitamins--attracted around 3,000 people for an evening of excellent food, drink and entertainment. The closing Appreciation Party, sponsored by BASF, B&D Nutritional Ingredients and NSF International, was held on the show floor at the end of the day Friday and saw industry members enjoying a hosted bar and buffet.
The Education Sessions, sponsored by Cognis Nutrition & Health, took place over three days this year. The early start paid off and the well-attended sessions offered the chance for attendees to dialogue with researchers presenting studies funded by NIH. The Wednesday sessions included presentations from all six NIH-funded Dietary Supplement Research Centers, and were capped off with an hour-and-a-half seminar on developing and validating analytical methods, presented by AOAC, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA). The timely discussion was packed with industry members, who participated in the discussion of how the pending federal good manufacturing practices (GMPs) will step up the need for uniform analytical standards.
"The best measurement of success is how your customers evaluate your work. In this case, we scored high based on the 'thank you's', packed attendance at the sessions and overwhelming positive feedback from our customers," said Paul Allen, group vice president, Cognis Nutrition & Health. "When we approached Virgo last year about raising the bar on the level of education and science presented at SupplySide, we all realized that adding an extra day of sessions was a gamble--even by Vegas standards--and we couldn't be more delighted with the results."
The remaining two days of educational seminars touched on everything from how to negotiate and advertise to having health claims comply with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the new European standards. "The educational seminars at this show were excellent," said Sandy Hawken, supply chain coordinator with Jamieson Labs. "The negotiation seminar gave me extra insight into business tactics, which I could put to use on the show floor. Being here was an valuable investment for our business."
Education of another sort was the focus of this year's keynote presentation, sponsored by Unigen Pharmaceuticals, Natural Products Industry INSIDER and HSR: Health Supplement Retailer magazines. Earvin "Magic" Johnson entertained a 1,500-person crowd with tales of his 12 years in professional basketball and his equally lengthy career as a businessman. "If you don't dream it, you can't become it," he said, further encouraging industry members to visualize success and then lead by example. Johnson also thanked the industry for its work in developing products to support health for people with HIV, and encouraged industry members to empower members of their organization to reach out to urban communities. "Everyone wants to increase market share, and the black and Latino markets are where the growth will come from," he said. "We must take the message of nutrition to the masses."
SupplySide West participants also learned about legislative threats to the industry during an emergency meeting Thursday evening. Industry members heard updates and calls to action from Joe Bresse, vice president of product development and industry relations at GNC; David Seckman, executive director of NNFA; Michael McGuffin, president of AHPA and others. The group also urged industry members to attend the "Rally on Capitol Hill" Oct. 21 in Washington, D.C., sponsored by Virgo Publishing. Additional information and the registration form for the free lobbying event are available at www.dietarysupplementday.com .
"This year's SupplySide West was a phenomenal success," said Peggy Jackson, director of publishing for Virgo's Health & Nutrition Division. "From the enhanced educational program to the full aisles on the show floor, leading executives gathered in Las Vegas to conduct business and grow the industry. We continue to raise the bar on the industry's top executive-level show."
SupplySide West 2004 is scheduled for Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 at The Venetian and The Sands Expo in Las Vegas. SupplySide East 2004 is scheduled for May 5 to 7 at the Baltimore Convention Center. Information about the events is available at www.supplysideshow.com , or by calling Virgo Publishing at (480) 990-1101. Information about exhibiting or sponsoring is available from Todd Willis at ext. 1171, and information about attending is available from Marsha Henderson at ext. 1629.
SupplySide is produced by Phoenix-based Virgo Publishing Inc., publisher of Natural Products Industry INSIDER and HSR: Health Supplement Retailer.