Las Vegas, NV—From June 10 to 12, natural products industry members had their pick of events to attend at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Co-located at this venue were the 73rd annual Natural MarketPlace (the Natural Products Association Tradeshow), the World Tea Expo and the first NutriCosmetic Summit. The three events also plan to co-locate next year from June 23 to 25, 2011. (View the entire WholeFoods photo album from the event here.)

Though the Natural MarketPlace show floor was smaller than in year’s past, many exhibiting companies felt that the event offered a good opportunity to meet one-on-one with retailers. First time exhibiting company Botanical Wisdom indicated the event was “was an extremely productive show for us,” according to Jostin Munar, head of public relations. Commenting on the show’s size, he stated “It was a welcome change of pace and place being at a smaller show without the hustle

WholeFoods Publisher Heather Wainer gives the 2010 Retailer of the Year Award to New Seasons Market. Helen Neville, New Seasons’ director of marketing, accepts the award on the store’s behalf.

and bustle of the public that traditionally accompanies public show. At this show, we had the opportunity to really spend time with our guests while they were at our booth. Giving the attendees a great time at the show and our booth is just as important as us having a good showing.”


Dan Chapman, founder and CEO of Redd Remedies, also enjoyed Natural MarketPlace. “The NPA show was very productive for Redd Remedies,” he stated. “It was a great place for us to spend more time with our retail partners, especially in comparison with other shows, where we may only have been lucky enough to have 60 seconds with the retail partners. This is a very important way for us to continue building relationships.”

2010 World Tea Expo had a 68% increase in attendance over the 2009 show.

Also commenting on the quality of the attendees and retailer meetings was, Tamer Elsafy, CEO of Flexcin International. Elsafy stated, "We were pleased that most of the attendees we had the opportunity interact with were independents, since that is our main focus."

When asked about trends on the show floor, Munar noted three items when it came to attendees and their needs: beauty, women’s health, and symptom specific. “Many of the attendees were looking to all-natural beauty products. It seems that the next big beauty product is being sought for in the all-natural industry. Women’s health was the next trend that we saw. Women are turning more to alternative medicines for the womanly needs. The third trend that attendees seem to be following were symptom specific supplements. Questions for joint health support and cardiovascular supplements were the most popular. We believe that there is an overwhelming demand for these products due to the trends that we saw at Natural Marketplace 2010.”

Elsafy remarked on increased interest in pet products: "Based on my conversations with retailers at the show, I truly feel that more merchants are interested in adding all-natural pet supplements like FlexPet with CM8 to their extensive lists of human products. They recognize the benefits of adding pet supplements to their mix of healthy offerings since consumer spending on pet products continues to rise. The overall market for pet spending is expected to jump to $70 billion in 2014, up from roughly $53 billion today. It only makes sense for health product retailers to add all-natural pet products and supplements to their menu of offerings to take advantage of this continued increase in pet spending."

The Saturday morning SuperSession featured senator Orin Hatch, who gave a spirited talk about the industry’s current critics and allies in Congress. His top suggestion for the industry was to get involved politically and make its voice known through lobbying. “An honest and open relationship with Congress will go a long way,” he stated.

For a wrap-up of this year’s education events at Natural MarketPlace, click here.

On the lower level of the convention center, the World Tea Expo 31,000-ft2 floor buzzed with enthusiasm. According to show organizers the floor hosted 200 companies and had more than 4,700 tea industry attendees, plus 1,100 visitors from Natural MarketPlace. This equated to a 68% increase in attendance for the show. One of the new features at this year’s Tea Expo was the Tea Infusion Challenge, a brewing competition to “determine the best infusionist, a tea professional that has comprehensive product knowledge, brewing skills and innate talent to express a tea’s characteristics and intended cup.”

Each year, the Natural Products Association honors those who have made significant contributions to the natural products industry. At Natural MarketPlace, this year’s awards went to Connie M. Weaver, Ph.D., of Purdue University (Burton Kallman Scientific Award); Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., of Metagenics (President’s Award); Denis Hayes of the Bullitt Foundation (Rachel Carson Environmental Award); Robert Bonakdar, M.D., of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, Mary Hardy, M.D., of the Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, David Geffen School of Medicine, and author, physician and radio personality Jan McBarron, M.D. (Natural Products Association Clinician Award); Central Co-op's Madison Market Natural Foods in Seattle, WA, MOM's Organic Market of Rockville, MD,  and Native Sun Natural Foods Market of Jacksonville, FL (Socially Responsible Retailer Award).

One company, Rishi Tea, said the 2010 World Tea Expo was a “huge success” for the organic, Fair Trade tea manufacturer. “Our booth was filled all three days of the show with genuinely interested people, tasting tea and asking great tea questions,” stated Ghazal Sheei, the firm’s marketing director.

According to Sheei, this year’s expo had some positive changes: “There were more tea education seminars, marketing opportunities, new exhibitors and tea retailers/buyers this year. The specialty tea industry is rapidly growing and that was very visible at this year’s World Tea Expo.”

Prominent product trends on the tea floor, stated Sheei, included single-origin teas, wellness teas and increased interest from buyers in harvesting and processing methods. WF


Online Exclusive:
Select Educational Wrap-Up

During “The Inside Tract to Digestive Health” on Friday, June 11, keynote speaker Gerard E. Mullin, M.D. discussed the “digestive disease epidemic,” the rise of “fatty liver,” which affects an estimated one-third of the population, and ways the natural products industry can help. Mullin noted how 64% of consumers say clinical research affects whether they believe supplement claims, noting that for focus needs to be placed on clinical trials to instill consumers with more confidence in practitioners and products. In addition, Mullin described how our emotions and psychological distress can lead to digestive upset—we have as many neurons in our gut as in our brain!

At its annual business meeting, the Natural Products Association swore in several new members. They included: Jane Drinkwalter, Vitamer Laboratories; Harvey Kamil, NBTY, Inc.; John Haydock, Burt’s Bees; Carilyn Anderson, Carlson Labs; Peter Zambetti, Capsugel; Jon Fiume, Ritzman Natural Health Pharmacy; Tom Sokoloff, Paradise Health Foods; and Richard League, Mothers Cupboard Natural Foods. Jeff Wright, owner of Wright’s Nutrients, was announced as president-elect of the association.

Also on Friday, “Top 10 Way to Make Your Natural Retail Business Prosper” with David Williams, vice president of Retail Solutions at Living Naturally, discussed some important retail tips. Highlighted points include:
* Don’t let deals dictate you business
* Use targeted advertising
* Know your customers, don’t just recognize them
* Special orders are great for boosting store loyalty
* Technology can improve your time management

Michael Murray, title, discussed “What Drug Companies Won’t Tell You and Your Doctors Don’t Know” In this second part based on his book, Murray touched on the points of disease management versus true healthcare, the focus on profits versus better medicine and the use of false or misleading data in many medical journals. Dr. Murray also noted that he has a “bone to pick” with Sally Field about the highly advertised drug Boniva, which is prescribed based on the inaccurate “T-score” of bone density rather than the more accurate “Z-score.”

EuroPharma’s Terry Lemerond offered insight into “Exciting Herbs of the Century.” His key pick? Curcumin, which has much research support for its anti-inflammation benefits which range from asthma to joint health support.

Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) with WholeFoods publisher Heather Wainer and the Senator at his Saturday morning SuperSession.

The Saturday morning SuperSession featured senator Orin Hatch, who gave a spirited talk about the industry’s current critics and allies in Congress. His top suggestion for the industry was to get involved politically and make its voice known through lobbying. “An honest and open relationship with Congress will go a long way,” he stated. He offered five suggestions for how to lobby successfully:
1. Know your facts.
2. Go with a group of about 10 people (since it’s harder for senators to turn away a large group).
3. Don’t take more than 15 minutes.
4. Leave literature highlighting your key arguments.
5. If your representative isn’t available, meet with his/her top staffers.

Also on Saturday, Stuart Tomc, national educator for Nordic Naturals, led the discussion “The Norweigan Legacy of Omega-3s: From Pioneer to Perfection.” While the benefits of fish oil are widely known, Tomc delved into the timely issue of sustainability. According to Tomc, only 2.3% of the total food supply comes from the sea—only 1% of this is used to make fish oil, while the rest is used to make fish meal to feed the stock of land animals that humans eat. He also noted that, according to the Institute of Marine Research, the catch rule has increased in the Norwegian region because fish stocks are actually going up. He also addressed Peruvian waters, in which sardines and anchovies are often fished. If the presence of juvenile fish exceeds 10%, all fishing stops to allow the fish to repopulate.

Photos by Katie Agin

Published in WholeFoods Magazine August 2010 (published ahead of print on June 26, 2010)