This year I got the chance to attend the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California. Natural Products Expo West is an annual trade show for the natural products industry. More than 56,000 industry professionals attended! Not only is that number a 5 percent increase from the number of attendees during last year’s show, it also sets a record as the largest attendance in Natural Products Expo West history. It’s amazing to see proof that this industry is constantly growing.
This year, the Natural Products Expo West was at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.
As soon as I arrived at the Anaheim Convention Center I was overwhelmed. (I suppose it was silly of me to invision card tables and poster-board.) These companies take their booths seriously! It was awesome to see the amount of effort put into making these great products stand out. However, it wasn’t even the time exhibitors spent on their showcase that overwhelmed me. Almost 2,000 companies showcased their natural products at this event. That's a lot of people! There were so many great things to see, I didn’t even know where to begin! (Or which crowds to fight!)
More than 56,000 industry professionals attended this event.
More than 2,000 companies showcased their products. That's a lot of names!
There were many additional highlights from my trip. Here are just a few:
• I got a chance to talk with Jim May, the ‘father of stevia’ and CEO of Wisdom Natural Brands (the manufacturers of SweetLeaf Sweetener), about stevia. Stevia is an herb that has been sold as a tea, a dietary supplement, and now, as of 2008’s FDA approval, as a sweetener. Stevia sweeteners have taken about 10 percent of the US consumer market for tabletop sugar substitutes, according to a report by the Financial Times. This was clear to see at the expo. Many companies showed off their stevia sweetened products. “This is the ideal sweetener for diabetics,” says May.
• Nearly everywhere I stood inside the convention center, tea was in my line of vision. It was refreshing to take a short respite while sampling some new tea flavors from companies such as Choice Organic Teas, Two Leaves and a Bud, Bigelow Tea, Honest Tea, Good Earth Teas, The Tea Room and many more.
• There were so many great companies, such as Mountain Rose Herbs, Oregon’s Wild Harvest, Gaia Herbs, Frontier Natural Products Coop., that represented the herb world so well. It's so important to understand that herbs play an important role in leading a healthy, eco-friendly life. I was able to meet many of these people who work alongside these wonderful, herbal products.
Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill Nye the Science Guy! (Science Rules!)
The weekend was all a-twitter with the hashtag #expowest. Follow Natural Products Expo West on Twitter or become their fan on Facebook. If this trade show seems like something that would interest you, make sure to attend in 2011.