Natural Products Expo West, the largest natural foods show in the country celebrated its 30th anniversary at the Anaheim Convention Center in California where, a record 56,000 attendees sampled the latest in natural, organic, healthy, eco-friendly and fair trade products. Thirty years ago, the size of the natural products industry was estimated to be $2.4 billion and natural and organic products were sold mostly by independent retailers and co-ops.
These days, consumers can find healthy, environmentally conscious products in most retail channels in North America. According to the Natural Foods Merchandiser’s 2009 Market Overview, the natural products industry is now worth nearly $68 billion.At the 2010 trade show, thousands of booths were set wall-to-wall and floor to ceiling over five massive pavilions exhibiting every kind of food, health and household product imaginable.
“Natural Products Expo West has grown because it is the premiere show in the industry,” said Adam Andersen, the show manager for Natural Products Expo West. “Hundreds of new product introductions at Expo West are proof positive of the strategic value surrounding in-person business events.”
Michael Season, president of Natural Snacks LLC attended the first Expo West as a distributor in 1981, when the show attracted 3,000 attendees, said “This is the most economical way to see a broad spectrum of customers.”
The Natural Living pavilion at Expo West featuring eco-friendly home and lifestyle products has actually doubled in size. “This year’s Natural Products Expo West mirrors major business and consumer shifts to values of health and sustainability,” said Fred Linder, president, New Hope Natural Media, producers of Natural Products Expo West, “The focus on growth of natural products industry evidenced at this trade show, demonstrates the consumer’s desire for products that are healthy and environmentally sound.”
Over 1,700 exhibiting companies showcased products that spanned categories that included natural and specialty foods, organic, health and beauty, supplements, natural living and pet products. This year’s program featured forward-thinking environmentalist, author and founder of 350.org Bill McKibben, the environmental organization dedicated to reducing carbon emissions and Robert Kenner, director of the film Food, Inc.
In keeping with McKibben’s vision for reducing overall CO2 emissions annually, New Hope Natural Media introduced a ‘Show Directory Map’ instead of a printed Buyers’ Guide. This initiative will conserve more than seven million sheets of paper (about 840 trees). All badges were picked up at the show, which reduced CO2 emissions by 4 metric tons. In addition, the producers of Expo West hosted a paperless pressroom and energy-offset program for the venue and travel.
In 2009 Trade Show Executive named Natural Products Expo West as “The Leader in Green Initiatives” for the second year running. For more information: www.expowest.com/green.
Marie Oser is a best-selling author, writer/producer and host of VegTV, Follow Marie on Twitter: http://twitter.com/vegtv
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