Baltimore, MD—Fresh partnerships and new business opportunities will mark Natural Products Expo East 2011, to be held here September 21–24. Coming home to the Baltimore Convention Center after a three-year run in Boston, this year’s show features over 1,300 exhibitors and should see a boost in attendance as well. “All of the clients both on the attendee and exhibitor side are really excited about this relocation. Baltimore allows us to have a greater sense of community,” says Erica Stone, show director for Natural Products Expo East.

Nearly 300 first-time exhibitors will be present at the show, according to Stone, and several unique events and promotions are set to be rolled out. New non-profit partnerships include Farm Aid, which will be the focus of a community celebration and benefit with a farm-to-table theme. Returning events include a Vitamin Angels benefit and an Organic Trade Association dinner gala.

“We’ve actually expanded our Host a Buyer program, where we’re hosting up to 200 buyers from a variety of channels and categories, from different types of retail establishments,” says Stone. Another program will serve to promote order writing on the show floor. Called “The 25% Club,” participants in the program will offer discounts of that much or more to buyers on the show floor, and receive a diverse incentive package of in-show marketing and cost benefits in return.

Featured speakers at this year’s expo include author Daniel H. Pink on Friday, September 23, and environmentalist, producer and author Laurie David on Saturday. Pink will deliver his techniques for motivating yourself and your staff, and David will shed light on her work to spread awareness of global warming. Techno music artist Moby is scheduled to perform as part of the evening entertainment on Thursday, according to Stone. The expo is co-located with the Healthy Baking Seminar and The Organic Summit, both held on Wednesday, September 21.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, September 2011