Las Vegas, NV—The Natural Products Association (NPA) MarketPlace show, held here June 23-24 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, presented attendees with an opportunity to celebrate the history and current mission of the NPA while discovering industry trends and making connections on the show floor. Co-located with World Tea Expo and the second annual NutriCosmetic Summit, keynote speakers at NPA MarketPlace included Tieraona Lowdog, MD and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA). This was the show’s 74th year in existence, and it saw nearly 5,000 attendees and 250 exhibitors.

Lowdog’s speech on integrative medicine and the future of the U.S. healthcare system was met with a standing ovation. “We’re not addressing a lot of the underlying problems that are affecting the health of children and adults in the United States,” she said in her speech. Preceding the annual NPA business meeting and awards ceremony was Senator Harkin’s address. The Senator thanked the NPA for its efforts on behalf of the natural products industry, and spoke about the efforts of the dietary supplements caucus to educate lawmakers in congress. Senator Harkin stated, “My message to congress is simple: cut the red tape, remove the road blocks, and let these people do their good work to keep people healthy.”

The NPA business meeting saw former president of NPA Pat Sardell detail the 75 year history of the association, as well as the current advocacy efforts being undertaken. New NPA officers for 2011 were sworn in, including new president-elect Jeffrey Wright. The NPA awards honored industry champions such as Vitamin Angels founder Howard Schiffer and industry lawyer and advocate Marc S. Ullman. At the conclusion of those awards, WholeFoods Magazine’s 2011 Retailer of the Year honor was given to Natur-Tyme. The Syracuse retail store’s owner Wendy Meyerson and her husband Andy Fox were present to accept the award.

Educational seminars at the show included “Clinically Proven Natural Brain Enhancers” with Parris M. Kidd, Ph.D., presented by Doctor’s Best, where Kidd taught attendees how to recognize the real benefits of brain support nutrients like SAMe and astaxanthin. “State of the Industry” highlighted the advocacy efforts NPA is planning currently, such as those involving the newly released New Dietary Ingredient guidance and concerns over GMP inspections.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, August 2011 (online 7/1/11)