Baltimore Draws 25,000 Attendees to Natural Products Expo East
For its 30th show, New Hope Natural Media’s Natural Products Expo East show not only attracted 25,000 attendees to the Baltimore (Md.) Convention Center, but also 1,363 exhibiting companies, representing the natural, organic and healthy living marketplace.
The show, held Sept. 16-19, was collocated with Biofach America - All Things Organic, NPA East, and the Harvest Festival.
“Each year, our mission is to build the growth potential for the attendees and exhibitors of Expo East, though we never lose sight of the tandem goal to create a stronger community between our industry and Baltimore itself,” said Adam Andersen, managing director for Natural Products Expos.
He added, “This year, we launched a unique community concept, the first Farm-to-Market tour, which visited nearby farms and the retail stores they serve, all within a drive of the city center; the added experience of this connection far surpassed our expectations.”
The show also had the debut of more than 400 new brands that utilized Expo East as a launch pad into the marketplace.
Healthy food and beverage trends on the showfloor included: floral ingredients; upcycled food and packaging waste; “Pegan” products (a paleo and vegan mashup containing no dairy, grains or animal ingredients); enhanced waters, such as watermelon, alkaline, aloe, coconut, maple, probiotic-packed; and cashews as the new almonds.
“What excites me most about coming to Expo East is the opportunity to see new and upcoming companies,” said Rhonda Penecale, Bunn’s Natural Foods.
She added, “It's a great avenue to meet the people behind the brands, make new connections, and see old industry friends. I am reminded how truly fortunate we are to have so much abundance and variety in one location.”
Entrepreneurs had the opportunity to participate in the Natural Products Business School, a full day of learning and networking that provided in-depth solutions to common business challenges and accelerate growth potential.
The morning started with a keynote address from Josh Tetrick of Hampton Creek, who spoke about finding the ingredients that we used 100 years ago and how we can use food as the platform to have impact. “Good people will do good; just make it easy for them,” Josh Tetrick said.
The Natural Products Business School Pitch-Slam competition winner was Heavenly Organics, based in Fairfield, Iowa; for their sustainably harvested honey and support of local farmers.
The conference program was headlined by keynote speakers: Dylan Ratigan, a sustainability entrepreneur and former MSNBC host; Joel Salatin, a third generation farmer; and Michele Simon, a public health lawyer. The education sessions were broken into six themes: Natural in the Media, Ingredient Reform, “Future of” Series, Non-GMO Series, Trends & Growth Series, and Conscious Leadership.
Natural Products Expo West 2016 will return March 9-13 to the Anaheim Convention Center. Natural Products Expo East 2016 is scheduled to take place Sept. 21-24 next year at the Baltimore Convention Center.