Anaheim, CA—The 33rd annual Natural Products Expo West drew record numbers, said show organizers, with a crowd of 63,000+ industry members and 2,428 exhibiting companies. Held at the Anaheim Convention Center, March 7–10, 2013, the event showcased numerous new product launches, educational seminars and networking events.

“This show is delightful,” said retailer J. Morgan Shuster, vice president of Health Essentials Colorado, Centennial, CO. “And it can be a little overwhelming…It’s amazing how well-executed it is.” He and his wife, Theresa Shuster, vice president, have been coming for 15 years and feel that Expo West is one of the most important events of the year for the industry. “If you’re in the natural products industry, you really should plan to come to this.”

“I’ve been grazing all day,” said Theresa. She pointed out the use of grains and soy as meat substitutes and how many times, she couldn’t tell the difference. “I think that on the whole, everything that I’ve tasted has done a very good job.”

Most companies showcased new products, hoping to spread the word about their lastest innovations. “It has been an incredible show,” says Janie Hoffman, founder of Mamma Chia. “This is the second time we’ve done Expo West and the response has just been through the roof.” Mamma Chia introduced a new, squeezable chia drink, Chia Squeeze, chosen as one of New Hope’s NEXTY nominees. “Our Chia Squeeze has been so well received by everyone! We could not be happier.”

Other companies saw Expo West as a chance to network as well as show off their new products. “We’re meeting customers of ours, as well as meeting a lot of new vendors,” says Timothy Bundy, regional sales manager at Hope Hummus. Throughout the show, Bundy passed out single-serve packets of Original and Spicy Avocado hummus to those passing by. “We’re really excited to get them into as many people’s hands as we can, and the show’s been great to do that.”

One of the biggest developments at Expo West 2013 was the announcement from WholeFoods Market that the retailer would start requiring labeling of products containing genetically modified organisms  (GMOs) by 2018.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, May 2013