Gaia Herbs had a booth party to show off its new caffeine-free Herbal Energy Plus shots.

Pamela’s Products celebrated its 25th anniversary with a brightly colored topsy-turvy tiered gluten-free cake.

Mineral Fusion had spokesperson and actress Emmanuelle Chriqui at its booth to talk to attendees. WholeFoods had the chance to meet her, and asked her about her favorite Mineral Fusion products. They include the firm’s body washes as well as the eyeliner and nail polishes for their staying power.

NFL quarterback Drew Brees attended Expo West as a spokesperson for So Delicious, and fired passes with small, soft footballs from the second floor of the company’s booth, into the waiting arms of excited passersby.

While listeners enjoyed a Japanese-themed breakfast, Mark J. Kaylor, vice president of education and research at Mushroom Wisdom, gave a presentation titled, “Mushroom Nutriceuticals: Much More Than You Think,” in which he detailed the health benefits of various medicinal mushrooms. He noted that while many focus on the immune support mushrooms can provide, they also offer many other powerful benefits. For example, he described reishi mushroom as a “tonic for the 21st century,” due to its multitude of applications including cardiovascular health.

Wakunaga of America continued its annual tradition of hosting a Japanese dinner, with this year’s event taking place at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel. The company’s director of sales Jay Levy termed this year’s evening a celebration of friendship. Between sets of live music, as in years past, partners and friends of the company spoke about the quality of the people and the research behind Wakunaga’s products.

Nature’s Path hosted a Mexican-style luncheon in honor of its newly added Que Pasa line of stone-ground non-GMO tortillas.

To mark its 40th anniversary, MegaFood chose to recall the time period in which the company was created. The company had a 1970s vibe going on at its booth, with employees wearing psychedelic clothing, 70’s themed decorations and a DJ spinning hit tunes from that era.

National Enzyme Company treated visitors to autographs from Gold Glove winner Ozzie Smith. The baseball legend helped kick off the launch of the company’s BioCore Recovery Acute formula.

The Organic Center named 15 individuals to its new Board of Trustees, and formally introduced them at its fundraiser dinner held March 9 during Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA.

Blauvelt, NY-based American BioSciences gave away two new iPads to lucky booth visitors. The winners were Dr. Jon Montegue of Windsor, CT and John Hides of Classic Sales and Marketing in Palantine, IL.

Marketing firm Integrated Marketing Group (IMG), Salt Lake City, UT, changed its name to BrandHive and introduced a new minimal beehive logo and tagline of “creating healthy buzz.” The company announced this change with a party during Expo West. In addition, BrandHive is expanding its social media presence and PR and art departments with new employees, and increasing their scope of clients within the natural products industry. “It’s not just a name change,” says Jeff Hilton, chief marketing officer of BrandHive. “It’s us trying to be a more full-service resource to our clients.”

After 16 years as IMG, the company decided to take its own advice to clients and change to a more modern aesthetic to keep up with the ever-advancing industry and new media marketing opportunities.

The humor of a branding firm re-branding itself was not lost on the company. “We know we’re good at what we do,” Hilton joked about the transition. “But, when you do it for yourself, it’s a whole different deal.”


Published in WholeFoods Magazine, May 2013