Baltimore, MD—This year’s Natural Products Expo East 2014 promises to draw in professionals from all sectors of the natural products industry.

Scheduled at the Baltimore Convention Center from September 17—September 20, the convention serves as a great opportunity for retailers to both learn about larger trends going on within the industry and gain knowledge on how to better their own businesses. Last year’s Expo East boasted over 24,000 attendees from 95 countries. Over 1,200 companies will be exhibiting at this year’s convention, allowing attendees to learn more about their visions and products.

Doug Tompkins, founder of the Foundation for Deep Ecology, will be this year’s keynote speaker. Tompkins also founded The North Face in 1964 and is a co-founder of the Espirit clothing company. The keynote address will be held on September 19th, following a healthy free breakfast sponsored by Earth Balance, Evol, Glutino, and Udi’s.

Several informative workshops and panels will be available covering topics of prime interest for natural products retailers. For those with businesses just starting out or looking to get started, the NEXT Accelerator Entrepreneur Workshop will provide insight into valuable topics like Manufacturing/Operations and Retail Sales/Distribution. The session will also have a keynote speech from Jeff Church, CEO and co-founder of Suja Juice. Attending the session will cost $295 for attendees and $195 for exhibitors.

Another can’t-miss program is the Retailer Workshop on September 17th, where several speakers will be covering important topics such as how to gauge what your customer wants, how to deal with competition, as well as several digitally oriented presentations; such as building a company website, E-commerce and how to utilize social media effectively. Attending the Retailer Workshop costs $125 or 95$ for NPA East members. In addition, there will be a wealth of free educational sessions on September 18th and 19th spanning topics from future growth opportunities for the industry to effectively charting consumer trends.

There will also be plenty of opportunities for attendees to have fun while they work on improving their businesses at several events.  One popular event is the Harvest Festival on September 17th, combining the atmosphere of an outdoor farmer’s market with the networking power of an industry trade show. Other events include the kickoff Thursday Evening Celebration, sponsored by Hugo Naturals, the Women in Naturals networking event on September 19th, sponsored by Reserveage Organics and featuring speaker Chef Ann Cooper as well as the Friday Evening Celebration on the 19th, sponsored by KeHe. All of these events are free for attendees.

New to this year’s Friday Evening celebration will be the inaugural Expo East Retailer of the Year award ceremony. This event honors retailers nominated in the categories of Community Engagement, Innovation, Best New Store, and Sustainability.

NPA Honors WholeFoods Founder, Columnist
Two members of the WholeFoods family will be honored during Expo East with awards from the Natural Products Association. Howard Wainer, founder and president of Wainer Finest Communications, Inc. (publisher of WholeFoods Magazine), will receive the esteemed President’s Award for his lifelong contributions to the industry. And, Jay Jacobowitz, WholeFoods merchandising editor and founder and president of Retail Insights, will receive the Industry Champion Award for his contributions to the industry above and beyond commercial success.

Full coverage of all award winners will appear in a future issue.


Published in WholeFoods Magazine, September 2014