Natural Products Expo West drew more that 67,000 industry members March 6–9 to the Anaheim Convention Center in CA, a 5% growth from the previous year. The show floor was larger, too, hosting 2,600+ exhibiting companies and more first-time exhibitors (635 in total) than in 2013.

Noticeable new product trends from the show floor included a continued emphasis on sports nutrition, snack foods (especially popcorn), premium water, non-GMO labeling, nutrition bars, ancient grains and probiotics.

Exhibitors were happy with the turnout. “The key people are here, and we are talking to them,” stated Ken Seguine, vice president of sales and marketing at UAS LifeSciences. “We’re in the process of launching a new brand of probiotics, and we’re using the tradeshow to seal the deal.”

Also weighing in about the quality of the attendees was Joel Warady, chief sales and marketing officer of Enjoy Life Foods. “The show as always is great. Not only do we get a great crowd, but they’re current retailers, distributors, international interest and media. What it really indicates is that consumers are looking for health and wellness products. There’s no better show than Expo West for that,” he stated.

Business was booming for some exhibitors. Mark Kaylor, Ph.D., vice president of education and research at Mushroom Wisdom, noted that orders were up over last year’s show for his company. “Our focus is not so much on how many orders we get, it’s the new accounts that we’re getting. That’s where the real value’s been for us,” said Kaylor.

This was the first Expo West for retailer Audra Savage, owner of Vitamin’s First, Calgary, AB, Canada, a veteran of the Canadian Health Food Association tradeshows. She remarked on the size difference between the shows, adding, “I’m enjoying it more because I’m just getting to look at products versus meeting with reps. I’m having a fantastic time. Everybody’s friendly.” Like many attendees commented, Savage says she was overwhelmed by the amount of food products there were to discover.

For additional Expo West trends coverage, read “Natural Icons,” by Nancy Trent, president of Trent & Company.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, May 2014