A rundown of some of this year’s hottest events.

Dreaming of warm sun in the midst of this frigid winter? Turn your dream into reality at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA! From March 4–8, the Anaheim Convention Center is hosting over 60,000 industry professionals and enthusiasts in a newly expanded format. Among these attendees will be over 2,600 exhibitors, including 200 new booths at the nearby Hilton hotel. The event will again be co-located with Engredea.

This year, Expo West has made the experience easier to navigate with its new app, “Natural Products Expo West/ Engredea Mobile.” Compatible with iPhones, iPads and Android, users can plan an agenda, take notes and even get directions to the venues. Take a look at these exciting events that are planned and WholeFoods will see you there at Booth 1810. Stop by for free bags of samples and literature!

Featured Speakers
There’s so much to learn at Expo West. Start with talks given by esteemed featured speakers, included in your basic registration.

David Perlmutter, M.D., author of best-selling Grain Brain, is a board-certified neurologist and fellow of the American College of Nutrition. An innovator in the field of preventative medicine, he advocates the use of a healthy diet and lifestyle to naturally help those with neurological problems such as dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches and depression. He has been published in several medical journals as well as appeared on various television programs. On Friday, March 6 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Perlmutter will be speaking about nutrition and its connection to brain health.

Mark Bittman is a renowned food writer for The New York Times and author of several best-selling cookbooks including How to Cook Everything and Vegan Before 6 P.M. Not only is he a proponent of easily prepared and flavorful “minimalist” dishes, but he is also interested in the negative effects of the modern diet on the environment and our health. Bittman will be the keynote speaker on Saturday, March 7 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.

  Trade Show Hours
Main Show

10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Friday
10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Saturday
10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Sunday

NEXT Pavilion,  Arena,  Arena Lobby
9:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Friday
9:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Saturday
9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sunday

*All New* 200 Exhibits
at Anaheim Hilton (New Products)

9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Friday
9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Saturday

Special Events
Thursday, March 5
Retail Store Tour. Need some retail inspiration? For $60, enjoy a guided tour of specialty stores in Southern California with the best organic goods on the market. (8:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.)   

Organic Farming Research Foundations’ 25th Anniversary Celebration. Join the celebration! For $85 per person, savor a delectable organic feast created by guest chefs to commemorate 25 years of this organic organization’s accomplishments. (11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.)

Fresh Ideas. Looking for organic products? Come enjoy an array of certified organic goods and meet some of the field’s leading producers and manufacturers in a fun, market setting. (12:30–5:30 p.m.)

The Herb Walk. For $60, escape to a stunning 26-acre botanical garden and learn about the Fullerton Arboretum’s more than 4,000 plants from esteemed herbalists. (1:00 to 5:00 p.m.)

The Organic Center’s Annual VIP Dinner. The preeminent networking event, meet other organic enthusiasts at this ticketed celebration. (6:00–10:00 p.m.)

Evenings on the Plaza. Let loose and experience the nightlife! Enjoy food and drink with new friends and coworkers and listen to music played by a different talented band each night. (6:00–8:00 p.m.)

League of Angels. The Vitamin Angels bring undernourished children and mothers vital vitamins and minerals that change their lives. They’ve helped over 30 million children and mothers in almost 45 countries, including the US. Join us in celebrating the lives the Vitamin Angels have impacted at Angel Stadium with fun games and events for $75. (6:30–8:30 p.m.)

Friday, March 6
Early Morning Yoga. Love yoga? Get a relaxed and focused start in the morning with this group yoga session. (Friday, March 6 7:30–9:00 a.m. and Saturday, March 7 7:00–8:30 a.m.)

Boulder Brands Breakfast. Get a great start to your day! Enjoy this complementary breakfast and the newest products from Earth Balance, EVOL, Glutino, and Udi’s. (7:30–10:00 a.m.)

Hall of Legends Award Celebration. You won’t want to miss the Hall of Legends third-annual awarding of those who have made the biggest impacts on the field of natural products. (6:00–7:30 p.m.)

Evenings on the Plaza. Relax again with friends, food and drink, this time with a new musical performance (6:00–8:00 p.m.)

Saturday, March 7
Early Morning Yoga: Enjoy a second morning of relaxing yoga! (7:00–8:30 a.m.)

Redeem Your Health; Discover Key Missing Elements in
Modern & Alternative Medicine, sponsored by Mushroom Wisdom.
Enjoy an authentic Japanese breakfast and learn from Mark Kaylor, Ph.D. (Sheraton Hotel, 8:00 a.m.)

Women in Naturals Networking Event Sponsored by Reserveage: Want to hear from women in the natural products industry? Women and men alike are invited to come and hear keynote speaker Rachel Hofstetter, author of Cooking Up a Business, and to meet other dynamic women in the field. (5:30–7:00 p.m.)

Evenings on the Plaza. In case you couldn’t get enough of the beautiful California night sky, here’s another chance to socialize with your peers and enjoy even more great music under the stars. (6:00–8:00 p.m.)

Paid Education
There’s a ton to learn at Expo West; here’s just a taste of the education available in the Marriott with an upgraded badge and an additional cost.

Thursday March 5
Supermarket News at Expo West: Driving Health and Wellness at Supermarkets in 2015: Hear from several experts in various fields about in-store merchandising, trends in wellness retail, and how natural brands can grow within a budding supermarket. (8:30 a.m.–12:45 p.m.)

Organic Series: The State of Organic at USDA: Come listen to Miles McEvoy, the deputy administrator for the USDA’s National Organic Program, speak about organic standards and the measures the USDA is taking to aid organic agriculture. (9:00–10:00 a.m.)

Special Diets: Vegan Market Research and Brand Positioning: Learn about this growing trend and what you can do to appeal to vegan consumers. (12:00–1:00 p.m.)

Natural in the Media: The Assault on Organics: Friends of the Earth’s Kari Hamerschlag and Stacy Malkan the co-founder of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics will discuss how brands may knowingly mislead consumers about their products with the use of the word natural and the detrimental effects to the organic products market. (1:30–2:30 p.m.)

Special Diets: Gluten-Free Labeling 101- How the FDA Rule Affects You and Your Customers: Members of Celiac awareness groups and a registered dietician will reveal the importance of labeling gluten-free products for both the consumer and your reputation as well as new FDA regulations. (3:00–4:00 p.m.)

Export Series: International E-commerce Guidance and Best Practices: Learn from Carrie Brooks, the Senior International Trade Specialist at the U.S. Department of Commerce, how to create a Web site for your product that will garner international attention.  (3:30–4:30 p.m.)

Friday March 6
Non-GMO Series: GMO Myth Busting—An Advocate’s Toolkit for Separating Fact from Fiction: Are GMOs really necessary to produce enough food? Do they reduce agriculture’s impact on the environment? Learn the truth about GMOs as Andrew Kimbrell reveals the biggest lies that the biotech industry tells. (9:00–10:00 a.m.)

The Future of: Nanos, Natural, and the Direction of Other No-Nonsense Claims in Cosmetics: Come learn about the use of the word “natural” in the context of cosmetics, and other false claims that some beauty products may make. (12:30–1:30 p.m.)

Super Session: Food Access & the Role of the Natural Foods Industry: Join Co-Ceo of Whole Foods Market, Walter Robb, in a discussion about the inaccessibility of healthy food in the hopes that industry leaders will aid this effort. (1:30–3:00 p.m.)

Non-GMO Series: Organic and Non-GMO- Can We Get Along?: If you have concerns that non-GMO products are beginning to outsell certified organic products, come listen to this panel of experts who will suggest an approach that can reconcile both markets. (3:00–4:00 p.m.)

The Future & the State of the Industry: Get ahead of the competition by learning which types of products, ingredients and trends are the most sought after in the rapidly growing natural goods industry. (3:00–4:00 p.m.)

Non-GMO Series: Featured Speaker—Mark Crumpacker, CMO of Chipotle: You won’t want to miss Mark Crumpacker speaking about Chipotle’s position on GMOs and the actions they are taking against them. (5:30–6:30 p.m.)

Saturday, March 7
Digital Strategies: Marketing Your Natural Product with Instagram: Learn the best way to promote your natural product to millions of users online with one of the most popular social media apps available: Instagram. (8:00–9:00 a.m.)

Natural in Advertising—Natural Personal Care’s Fresh New Look: With the changing demographics of consumers of natural wellness products, you won’t want to miss this presentation by marketers about how to market your product to the male and tween populations. (10:30–11:30 a.m.)

NEXT: How to Identify The Next Big Thing in the Natural Products Industry: Find your next big opportunity by joining a group of researchers and analysts and learn a model that can predict the coming trends in natural products. (12:30–1:30 p.m.)

Natural in Advertising: Self-Regulation and Standards for Advertising Natural: Make sure your brand and products are reliable by learning about the amorphous word “natural” and the debate of false-advertising with David Mallen of Loeb & Loeb and BBB’s Rebecca Griffith. (1:30–2:30 p.m.)

Natural in Advertising: Defining Natural: You won’t want to miss this debate about the use of the word “natural” on product labels. John Grubb of the advertising agency the Sterling-Rice Group, Ivan Wasserman of the law firm Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips, and Natural Grocers’ Alan Lewis will each present their field’s opinions and beliefs about natural in advertising. (3:00–4:00 p.m.)


Carlson Laboratories Celebrates #50

Carlson Laboratories is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015 and is marking the occasion at Expo West. The company has planned several events in Anaheim:
• Learn from Alex Richardson, M.D., founder and trustee of FAB Research and a senior research fellow at the University of Oxford, in a sponsored educational session about “Changing Diets, Changing Minds: The Importance of Nutrition for Behavior, Learning and Mood” (1:00–2:00 p.m., March 6)
• Meet Dr. Richardson at the Carlson booth (#1414) from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. for a signing of They Are What You Feed Them.
• Catch up with combined Nordic skier and Olympic gold medalist Bill Demong at the Carlson booth on March 7, 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m.
• Join Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., March 7, 2:00–4:00 p.m. for a signing of From Fatigued to Fantastic in the Carlson booth.
• Meet rower, coach and motivational speaker Susan Francia at the Carlson booth on March 8,10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Sponsored Education
There are so many new health ingredients and trends surfacing every day that companies are providing the opportunity to see these relevant presentations free of charge.

Friday, March 6
Hemp: A Superfood from Seed to Stalk, presented by HempMeds: Hemp is emerging as a promising solution to global issues like illness and even renewable energy. There are so many uses and even more benefits of hemp, such as preventing seizures in children, lowering blood pressure and more. Come hear about hemp and its future from the hemp experts themselves. (1:00–2:00 p.m.)

Youthful Aging: The Huge Boom(er)ing Market of Supplements, hosted by Twinlab: Come learn some of the science behind the “youthful aging” products that Baby Boomers are seeking and learn how to best cater to this market. (2:00–3:00 p.m.)


Sustainable Harmony: The Successful Marriage of Activism, Research and Business Sponsored by: The Antarctic Wildlife Research Fund (AWR): With speakers from the Marine Stewardship Council, Natural Grocers, the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) and more, this session will cover how activism, business and research combine to support sustainability and help retailers connect with shoppers customers on a deeper level. (4:00-6:00 p.m.)

Palm Oil: Back to Basics, presented by Malaysian Palm Oil Council: Join colleagues for a presentation about palm oil, which is filled with antioxidants and has been proven to fight heart disease and high cholesterol. Come learn all of the possibilities for the palm oil market. (4:30–5:30 p.m.)

Saturday, March 7
The Thrill of Krill, presented by: Dr. Goodman and Neptune: Krill oil has shown potential in supporting women’s health, a good mood and joint care, among other conditions. Dive into this lesson about the Deep Sea remedy with Dr. Goodman. (9:30–10:30 a.m.)

Mushrooms for Bees, Trees, People & Planet: Better Living Through Mycology, presented by: Host Defense Organic Mushrooms: Mushrooms are often an overlooked source of nutrients, but their benefits seem limitless. Join us in learning about the fiber, anti-oxidants, and minerals that make mushrooms one of the health ingredients to watch out for. (10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.)

Make sure to check out the presentations sponsored by these companies as well: Carlson Laboratories (Changing Diets, Changing Minds, 1:00–2:00 p.m., Friday), Greenberg Traurig, LLP (Labeling Litigation, 10:30–11:30 a.m. on Saturday), Natural Factors (The Power of Whole Food Nutrition, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., Saturday), Essential Formulas (Patented New Probiotic Powerhouse Proven to Boost Glutathione Levels (1:00–2:00).

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, March 2015