Attendees Came Early and Often to Natural Products Expo West
Natural Products Expo West was held once again, drawing more than 80,000 attendees to nearly 500,000 square feet of exhibit floor space, March 8-12 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
While there was great activity on the main floor, approximately 20 percent of the show’s exhibitors, found in the Marriott and Hilton, opened a day ahead.
Many attendees took the advantage of this staggered floor opening by coming early to the show and packing into these areas to see new exhibitors and new products.
And pack in they did – in many instances, the aisle traffic made moving a tricky endeavor but the exhibits made it well worth fighting the crowd density.
“We have seen so many entrepreneurial companies and young companies who are bringing truly sophisticated products,” said Adam Andersen, managing director of New Hope Network, which owns and operates the show.
He continued, “There are several great new products at the show this year. Because we opened different exhibit spaces in stages again this year, we also wanted to have some events early on to provide additional engagement early in the show. Something we moved earlier in the program was the Business School, helping new brands learn how to engage and find success in their organizations. We sold out this year, so moving the session early clearly worked for our attendees and exhibitors.”
Networking and exploring the new industry trends were on the minds of many attendees, including first-time attendee Dante Vargas of General Mills.
“I came early to the show to learn about new trends in natural products and am so glad to be attending,” Vargas said.
He added, “There are so many new products and it has been great to speak to both exhibitors and fellow attendees on these new products.”
The 500 new exhibitors in the hotel spaces also were happy with the traffic and engagement.
“We had heard of all the great engagement happening at Natural Products Expo West, so we decided to have a booth,” said Iris Kim, marketing and sales director at Nuts About You.
She continued, “The traffic and feedback we have gotten has been amazing, and we are only on day one. We are getting great contacts, meeting with distributors and retailers on our products, and receiving excellent feedback from attendees and distributors. I am confident we will see even more traffic as the show progresses.”
Many exhibitors used the hotel option to launch new products.
Christy Hierholzer, CEO and Founder of Nat-A-Tat-2, wanted to use Natural Products Expo West as the conference for the official launch of their tattoo care line.
“We have exhibited at Natural Products Expo East for four years, and we decided to exhibit at Expo West for this product launch,” she said.
Hierholzer added, “It has been such a great experience and the reception and activity we have gotten in our booth has been exceptional. We cannot wait to see how the traffic picks up once the main exhibit floor has opened.”
Several exhibitors wanted to use Natural Products Expo West to get feedback on their new products as well as find contacts for exploring growth potential.
This was the case for Meli’s Monster Cookies, and co-owner Melissa Blue knew Expo West was the place to be.
“For our products, we knew we wanted to show here but were not sure how the attendee traffic and response would be to our product,” Blue explained.
She added, “We have been almost overwhelmed with the response we have gotten and the number of attendees that are talking to us. It has far exceeded what we thought possible. This was the right choice for us.”
There were several macro trends that were on display with the new products: a focus on trust and transparency, which has become more prevalent with the millennial influence, makes sure product ingredients are defined, including their source; flavor profiles are now bringing in fresh ingredients such as coconut, and global flavor fusion is inspiring unique combinations of flavor palettes.
“The macro trends have been great to see with the new products, and have brought such interesting product launches to the show floor, and we have seen an uptick in the entries for the new product showcase,” Andersen said.
He added, “This great array of new trends has helped our attendees see what is on the horizon for natural products.”
Andersen said he also is excited for next year and the additional floor space for the show.
“With our growth rates, the convention center expansion has come at a great time for our show,” he said. “We are thrilled to have additional space for our exhibitors, attendees, and show events in Anaheim.”
The 2018 Natural Products Expo West will return March 9-11 to the newly expanded Anaheim Convention Center.