A quick review of Expo events.

Where can you find informative, entertaining seminars partnered with vital networking connections and four days of excitement? Natural Products Expo West, of course!

Entering its 31st year, Expo West will take over the Anaheim Convention Center from March 10 through 13 and is co-located with Nutracon, Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace (March 10, 12:30–5:30 p.m.) and Supply Expo. Tradeshow hours are Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

With engaging sessions on social media, women’s roles in the industry and organic/eco-friendliness, you will have a great time at the 2011 Expo West!

Thursday, March 10
With numerous seminars and events appearing before your very eyes, you’re probably wondering where to start on the first day! For baking fanatics, Expo West’s “Healthy Baking Seminar” will provide in-depth presentations on formulating healthful bakery foods. For an additional fee, this seminar will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and provides attendees with studies, trends and sourcing tips to better their foods. Also, the “Retail Store Tour” is offered from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., which includes a tour of natural products and specialty stores for an extra cost.

If you’d rather stay on site, check out the “How to be an Effective Presenter” session featuring tips on useful methods for effective public speaking (10:00–11:00 a.m.). Also being offered is the “Multichannel Merchant Program*: Website Design and Usability” (10:00–11:15 a.m.). Curious about the up–and–coming term, “locavore”? Attend “The Locavore is Everywhere” session (10:45 a.m.–12:00 p.m.) and learn about the increasingly popular local movement.

Afternoon. Tantalize your tastebuds from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the 14th Annual Organic Farming Research Foundation “Meet and Greet” Organic Benefit Luncheon ($75/person).

Listen to a Google expert discuss why online matters in the “The Zero Moment of Truth: Connecting with Consumers at the Digital Shelf” (11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.). Or, learn how to boost your online traffic and sales with the “Multichannel Merchant Program: Marketing Techniques to Drive Customers to Your Site” from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. You may want to consider sitting in on “What’s Next for Aromatherapy” (11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.), if you want to learn more about the sourcing and science behind this market segment.

Opening speaker, Brendan Synnott, founder and CEO of Revelry Brands, will be presenting from 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. for the Manufacturer Track. On the other end of the spectrum, Tama Weidner, the store director of Paradise Foods, will be the opening speaker for the Retail Track from 12:30 to 1:00 p.m.

Afterward, swing by “Branding & Packaging” (1:00–2:00 p.m.) or learn how to compete and build store loyalty by attending “Innovative Branding and Advertising Techniques for Today’s Retailer” (1:00–2:00 p.m.) for an additional fee.

Next, the “Innovations in Organic Supply and Sourcing” session (1:45–3:15 p.m.) will guide attendees in knowing which questions to ask when researching suppliers and tips for locating the correct paths for organic sourcing. Or, attend an educational session on “Doing Business in China” from 1:15 to 2:45 p.m. Explore options in enhancing your site’s visibility and the three pillars of SEO in the “Multichannel Merchant Program: Search Engine Optimization Strategies” (1:30–2:45 p.m.). And, “Don’t Cell Yourself Short” (1:30–2:30 p.m.), if you want to learn about strategies for trade spending. Consider stopping by the “Responsible Packaging Forum” from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.

Take a breather and enjoy an informative session with herbalist and educator, Trinity Ava, in “DSHEA Awareness in the Natural Products Industry” at 2:00 p.m. Unearth more about the natural products landscape in “Breaking into Natural Product Channels” (2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.). Or, attend the “Store Planning & Development” program and listen to speaker Joe Sosebee of Tree of Life, from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m.

Interested in economics? Attend the “Manufacturing Track: Financing” program (3:15–4:15 p.m.). New to the natural products world of retailing? Don’t miss “Retail Resources” and listen to discussions on fostering meaningful relationships, what you can gain from tradeshows and much more! (3:15–4:15 p.m.).

From 3:00–4:15 p.m., F. Curtis Barry & Company President, Curt Barry, will discuss selling online to consumers, third-party outsourcing options and customer service in his “Fulfilling Direct-to-Customer” program. Do you make or sell organic textiles? In the session, “Policies and Technologies in Organic Textiles” (3:30–5:00 p.m.), speakers will discuss how companies are conquering challenges, future directions in organic textiles and more. Congratulate the winners of the “Responsible Packaging Awards” from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Evening. Attention, entrepreneurs! Learn about the “Top 10 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make and How to Avoid Them,” from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Take an opportunity to apply for a 60-second pitch and compete for a prize while receiving helpful feedback and guidance from knowledgeable entrepreneurs in the “Pseudo Pitch Slam” (5:30–6:00 p.m.). Then, enjoy live entertainment, refreshments and an excellent opportunity to network with peers at the opening reception (6:00–8:00 p.m.).

Friday, March 11
Indulge in “A Better Breakfast” from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., where a delectable morning meal will be sponsored by Cascadian Farms, Muir Glen Organic and Earth Balance. After satisfying your hunger, listen to keynote speaker and Pachamama Alliance and the Soul of Money Institute founder, Lynne Twist, as she discusses her understanding of people’s relationship to money (8:00–9:15 a.m.).

Early risers can also learn about “Your Store & the Diabetes Epidemic” (8:30–9:30 a.m.) in a session presented by Lily of the Desert. Other morning exhibitor presentations will be hosted by Sigma-tau HealthScience (9:00–10:00 a.m.) and by Naturex (10:00–11:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.).

Become informed about the “Future of Wellness” from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Learn how to cater to customers in the session, “Gluten-Free on the Menu: Expanding Your Customer Base and Uncovering Opportunities” (9:30–10:45 a.m.). Back by popular demand, discover the latest research from professionals in “Marketing to Hispanic and Latino Populations” (9:30–10:45 a.m.).

From 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., come to the exciting “Claim-A-Palooza on the Show Floor!” and get answers to all your legal questions about making claims. Also at 10:00, learn about “Natural, Safe and Effective Pain Relief,” presented by Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D.

Learn key facts about current science, safety concerns and regulatory affairs involving GMOs in the “Food Safety Track: GMO Update” from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Curious about the recent explosion of eco-labels on common household products? Hear about what these labels mean and how consumers are interpreting them in “Cleaning up the Confusion; Eco-labels on Natural and Organic Household Products” from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Get a handle on the hottest issues in the industry in “NewHope360 & Nutrition Business Journal: State of the Industry” from 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Wondering what GMPs mean for your business? Then, be sure to visit “Quality Management & Current GMP Issues” presented by NSF (11:45 a.m.–1:15 p.m.).

Afternoon. If safety issues are a concern, listen to “Adulterated Supplements” (12:15–1:15 p.m.) and/or “Designating a Food Safety Manager” (1:30–2:30 p.m.) to find out about having a qualified team member oversee food safety risks at your business.

For the marketing minded, speakers will discuss how to properly utilize social media such as Twitter and Facebook to benefit your company from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. in “Social Media 101: How To’s and Tips for Beginners.” Or, attend “Learning from Failure: Reigniting Innovation in the Healthy Products Market” from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

The 1:00 time slot is also full of choices. Featured speaker Alex Bogusky of Fearless Cottage will present a lecture; best-selling author John Gray, Ph.D., will speak about “Hormonal Balance: Key to Life, Love, Energy”; and there will be a two-hour sustainability seminar. Or, learn about top tips in “Ingredient Adulteration—Implications for Suppliers” (1:30–2:30 p.m.) or about astaxanthin and spirulina in a session hosted by Nutrex-Hawaii (2:00–3:00 p.m.).
Following from 2:45 to 4:00 p.m., speakers will enlighten attendees with expert insight on what’s driving market demand and why in “Food Safety Track: Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly in the Media.” Listen to Jeff Dunn, president and CEO of Bolthouse Farms share important information from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. in “Marketing Healthy Foods.” Numerous customers these days look to load applications onto their phones. Find out how and why smartphone applications can help your business in “Marketing Track: Retail Mobile Apps” (2:45–4:00 p.m.). And, don’t forget the 3:00–4:00 p.m. session on “Bridging the Gap Between Suppliers and Retailers.”

Wondering what natural and organic foods moms are into these days? Discover the latest trends in “Marketing Track: Marketing to Moms” (4:15–5:15 p.m.). And if you market supplements to males, consider learning about Tesofen in a session from Gencor Nutrients.

Close your educational program with one of two timely regulatory sessions, both running from 4:15 to 5:15/5:30 p.m. Block out time for either “Food Safety Track: Food Safety Bill Update” or “GMO and Political Challenge to Organic for 2011 and Beyond.”

Evening. This evening will be packed with entertaining and delectable fun! Be excited for the “Friday Night Reception” from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Anaheim Convention Center Mix Lounge packed with fun and opportunities to meet more industry colleagues. Following is The Organic Center’s 8th Annual VIP Dinner where a fabulous organic meal will be served. There will be a plethora of speakers and networking chances from 6:30 to 9:30 (tickets cost $175). Ladies, check out the Women in Naturals networking event (6:00–7:30 p.m.). And, dance the night away to the melodic tunes of the band Motet as they perform live (9:00 p.m.–12:00 a.m.).

Saturday, March 12
Embrace your inner early-bird with a yoga session from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Keynote speaker Bridget Brennan, a leader in developing business strategies that appeal to women, will present strategies for engaging the world’s most powerful consumers (9:00–10:15 a.m.). Then, listen to magazine columnist and author, Mika E Belicove and others discuss tactics in engaging customers on new levels in “Beyond Social Media: 101—Advanced Tips, Tricks, Strategies and Warnings” (10:30–11:45 a.m.). You have several options at 10:30, so choose wisely. Other concurrent sessions include “How to Flourish in a Food Desert: Retail Success Stories,” “State of the Industry Address,” and “Drug Muggers: Using Supplements as Your Solution to Side Effects” (by Essential Formulas).

There’s also two exhibitor-sponsored early morning sessions. Stop in at a Sabinsa Corp. presentation from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on “NutriCosmetic Benefits of Healthful Curcuminoids and Beyond.” Or, learn about “Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle with Raw Vegetable Juice” from Tribest Corp. The following hour (11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.), other exhibitors take the stage with these sessions: “Clinically Proven Natural Brain Enhancers” by Doctor’s Best, “Fruitflow: A Natural Solution for Healthy Blood Flow” by DSM, and “The Challenge to Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days” by Almased.

Upgrade your badge to attend the “Quality Management & Current GMP Issues, Presented by UNPA” which is a certificate course in quality management and current GMP issues over the lunch hour from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. What’s the new gold? Find out in “Water is the New Gold” and see what you can do to reduce waste, cost and pollution while conserving water (11:45 a.m.–1:00 p.m.).

Afternoon. Looking for the next hot item for your store’s shelves? Don’t miss Michael T. Murray, N.D., in “Identifying Today’s ‘Nutrients’ as Tomorrow’s Best-Sellers” (12:00–1:00 p.m.).

Wondering about the latest in organic personal care conversation? Swing by the “Organic Personal Care: Beyond Personal Preference” and have your questions answered (12:00–1:00 p.m.). Also at that time is an update on “The New Gluten-Free Era.”

If you are interested in eco-friendly packaging, attend the “Sustainable Packaging” session (12:30–1:30 p.m.) or consider learning about fish oil from Nordic Naturals in “Fish, Omega-3 and Human Health” (12:30–1:00 p.m.).  Entertain your taste buds with sustainable brewing and spirit-making in “Green Beer & Spirits: Not Just for St. Patrick's Day Anymore” (1:15–2:15 p.m.). Other afternoon sessions include “Biochemistry of Beauty” (1:00–2:00 p.m.), “Fast Food Free” (1:30–2:30 p.m.), “Ingredient Supplier Qualification and GMP Compliance: Launch of a Voluntary Supplier Qualification Guideline” (1:30–2:30 p.m.).

Retailers, don’t miss important advice from 2:00 to 3:15 p.m. in “How to Handle PR after a Recall or an Outbreak.” And if you use Facebook in your business, carve out some time for “Facebook Marketing in a Box” (2:00–3:00 p.m.). From 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., don’t miss “The Top 10 things Your Dr. Doesn’t Tell You about Enzymes” by National Enzyme Company. There’s also an interesting session from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on calcium: “Forget Everything You Think You Know about Calcium.”

If you are looking to save energy, check out the “Green Sourcing for Retailers” from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. If you’re concerned about memory and attention support, learn from Kyowa Hakko about the new science behind “Cognizin Citicoline” (3:00–4:00 p.m.). During the same time slot is “Food Intolerance Alert!” from Enzymedica.

Trying to balance out your life? From 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., try out the “Life/Work Balance: Are You Biting Off More Than You Can Chew?” Explore options in the big boom of sustainable foods in “Sustainable Seafood” (4:00–5:15 p.m.)

Evening. Enjoy an enticing evening of entertainment and organic wine and beer tasting at the “8th Annual Organic Wine & Beer Festival” (6:00–9:00 p.m.) for an additional fee. And don’t forget to stop in at the Supply Network Community Appreciation hour (5:00–6:00 p.m.) in the supplier aisles of the show floor.

Sunday, March 13
The final day! Learn about “Breaking Supply Issues” (10:00–11:30 a.m.) and then “Quality Control & Current GMP Issues Presented by the American Botanical Council” (11:45 a.m.–1:15 p.m.). Later that day, attend “Social Media in 2011: What We Need to Know & What We Need to Forget” (1:30–2:30 p.m.) and wrap up your Expo West adventure with “Social Media Classroom: Hands on Q&A” (3:00–4:00 p.m.). Before heading home, stop in at the ice cream social (3:00–4:00 p.m.) in Social Networking Booth 147. WF

*Sessions in the Multichannel Merchant Program require an additional fee to attend.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, March 2011