Besides the enormous array of innovative products showcased at Natural Products Expo West, the show is an exceptional source of education as well as a time to meet and reconnect with fellow industry professionals. Taking place again at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA from March 8 – 12, Expo West is sure to bring in a huge number of industry professionals and exhibitors. Last year’s show, for example, exceeded 77,000 attendees and over 3,000 exhibiting companies, 600 of which were first-time exhibitors. Here are some select industry events, education sessions and speakers that caught our eye, though be sure to check out the show’s website to see what else is going on and further details. Also, we invite our readers to stop by the WholeFoods’ booth #2011 to say hello and pick up a free tote with some samples and literature.

Keynotes Denise Morrison. As the president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company since August 2011, Morrison has done a great deal to move the company in a direction that aligns more closely to the principles of our industry, most notably, the advocacy of transparency by stating on product labels the Campbell products­­ that contain genetically modified organisms. Before joining Campbell Soup Company, she was the executive vice president and general manager of Kraft Foods’ Snacks and Confections divisions and before that has held senior leadership roles at Nabisco, Nestle and Pepsi-Cola. Morrison was named to President Barack Obama’s Export Council in 2012, appointed co-chair of the Consumer Goods Forum in 2015 and serves on the organization’s board. She is a founding member of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, an initiative of manufacturers and retailers to combat obesity in the marketplace, workplace and schools. (Friday, March 10, Marriott, Marquis Ballroom South/Central, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)

Doug Rauch. Co-CEO, Conscious Capitalism, Inc. as well as founder & president of Daily Table, Rauch has spent 31 years with Trader Joe’s Company, the last 14 years of which he was President, helping grow the business from a  small, nine-store chain in Southern California, to a nationally acclaimed retailer that sets a major example. His non-profit Daily Table, is an innovative retail solution meant to tackle issues of hunger and obesity by utilizing the excess, high quality, nutritious food that would otherwise be wasted. Daily Table offers nutritious grab-n-go meals and groceries at affordable prices to the food-insecure (of which there are 49 million Americans) in our inner cities with dignity and economic sustainability. You will be able to learn a great deal from him. (Saturday, March 11, Marriott, Marquis Ballroom South/Central, 9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.)

Book Signing

Meet the much-loved leader of Bragg Live Health Products, Patricia Bragg, N.D., Ph.D., on Friday, March 10, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the WholeFoods Magazine booth (#2011). Bragg will be signing and distributing copies of the Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar book for free.
*Denotes that education session requires Super Pass. Upgrading to a Super Pass opens the door to a great deal of insightful sessions with some of the most informed and influential speakers in the industry.

Thursday, March 9 Early Morning Yoga. Expo days are long, so start the day off right and get centered and rejuvenated before embarking on the show floor. Sponsored by Honest Tea. (Grand Plaza Mainstage, 7:30 a.m.– 9:00 a.m.)

Retail Store Tour.  This guided tour of some of Southern California’s best natural products retailers is a great way to find inspiration and learn new tricks of the trade that may improve one’s business. While this is not free, it may very well be worth every penny. The tour will set you back $75 if you purchase ahead of time and $95 on sight. (Meet at the Hilton at the outside bus loading zone, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.)

Local Community Retail Summit*. This three-hour retail-specific education session is sure to be enlightening with a fast-paced agenda filled with presentations, networking, an executive roundtable as well as a keynote from Michelle Poler, founder of Hello Fears. (Marriott, Grand Ballroom J/K, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)

Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace. Sponsored by Clover Stornetta Farms, this is an opportunity to network, meet the leading producers and manufacturers of organic food and enjoy some of the products they have to offer. (Marriott, Big White Tent, 12:30 p.m – 5:30 p.m.)

Global Export Series: U.S. Organic Market Briefing. Monique Marez, director of international trade of the Organic Trade Association will provide an overview of the U.S. organic market, including industry size, trending consumer categories, resources for international buyers as well as industry stats and consumer insights. (Convention Center, Room 204C, 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.)

Herb Walk. Brought to you by the American Herbal Products Association, the Herb Walk is a visit to the Fullerton Arboretum where you will get a guided tour of its 26-acre botanical garden located on the campus of California State University. The Herb Walk will cost you $70. (Meet at the Hilton at the Outside Bus Loading Zone, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.) Natural Products Business School Pitch-Slam Finals and Party. Hang out with your peers, hear unique product pitches while also learning how to make a good pitch. (Marriott, Grand Ballroom F, 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.)

Thursday Evening on the Plaza Sponsored by: Black Forest Organic. Decompress from a long day in the cool California night air.  (Grand Plaza Main Stage, 6:00 p.m.– 8:00 p.m.)

League of Angels. Enjoy complimentary drinks and appetizers, live entertainment from a Peruvian dance group, and a keynote speech by president and founder, Howard Schiffer at the 7th Annual League of Angels to benefit Vitamin Angels. Attendees will also be able to support the organization through on-site fundraising opportunities including hitting in the official Anaheim Angels batting cages, taking photos on the field, joining behind-the-scenes tours of the stadium and purchasing items sourced from around the world. The cost is $75 with pre-registration and $100 at the door. (Angel Stadium, Anaheim, CA, Thursday, March 9, 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.)

Friday, March 10 Early Morning Yoga. Sponsored by Maple Hill. (Grand Plaza Mainstage, 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.)

Boulder Brands Breakfast. Fuel up for an eventful day and get to know your peers. This free breakfast is open to all attendees and offers a great deal of gluten-free and vegan options. Sponsored by Boulder Brands, which includes the likes of EVOL Foods, Earth Balance, Glutino Food Group and Udi’s Gluten Free. (Marriott Big White Tent, 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.)

The Healthy Heroes: How Millennial Moms Are Changing the Food Industry*. Learn why you should connect with the Millennial moms in your community. Presented by Katherine Wintsch, founder and CEO of The Mom Complex. (Marriott, Grand Ballroom G/H, 8:15 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.)

Climate Workshop: Why Plant Based Foods Are Good for Your Business & the Planet. A presentation by Michelle Simon, JD, MPH, executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association. (Marriott, Grand Ballroom J/K, 10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.)
Stop by Tea Tree Therapy, Inc.’s booth 3605 and say congrats on 20 years in the industry!The Political Outlook for Organic. What can we expect from the new administration when it comes to the USDA organic standard? Current and former politicians provide their insights. (Marriott, Grand Ballroom F, 10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.)

Organic Innovation Conversations*. Thought-leaders, entrepreneurs and trend spotters in a fast-paced session of mini-presentations discuss what’s next in organic, a major bright spot in our industry. (Grand Ballroom F, 12:45 p.m.  – 2:00 p.m.)

The State of the Industry: How We Will Fuel Growth & Change the World. In a data-driven session, researchers from New Hope Network and Natural Marketing Institute will track the macro forces and product trends as well as underlying consumer attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that are creating sales growth in the industry. Besides developing understand of the forces creating growth, the session will also raise awareness of the industry’s biggest challenges and how to face them. (Marriott, Marquis Ballroom South/Central, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.)

The Organic Center Presents: Translating Organic’s Benefits to Consumers*. Better understand the wealth of evidence confirming the superiority of organic agriculture to our health and the environment and learn to break it down in ways that helps you make your case to shoppers. Sponsored by Clif  Bar & Company. (Marriott, Grand Ballroom F, 2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.)

Emerging Clinical Insights into Mitochondria and Their Central Role in Women’s Health! Sponsored by Natural Factors and presented by Gaetano Morello, ND, this valuable education session will help you better serve your female customers. (Marriott, Marquis Ballroom Northwest, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.)

The Cannabis Disruption: Bringing Hemp Back. Cannabis is a category of great controversy, but also public interest. Sponsored by CV Sciences, you will learn the value of hemp derived cannabinoids for the marketplace and your customers. (Marriott, Marquis Ballroom Northeast, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.)

Hall of Legends Awards Celebration. Celebrate some of the industry’s most influential trail blazing people as they are honored for their accomplishments. (Marriott, Marquis Ballroom South/Central, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.) Friday Evening on the Plaza: Sponsored by Obrigad. Decompress from a long day in the cool California night air.  (Grand Plaza Main Stage, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.)

Saturday, March 11 Saturday Early Morning Yoga. Start the day off right and get centered and rejuvenated before embarking on the show floor. Sponsored by Kashi. (Grand Plaza Main Stage, 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.)

Mushroom Wisdom’s Annual Japanese Breakfast. Enjoy an authentic Japanese meal and listen to a presentation by guest speaker Mark J. Kaylor, Ph.D., CN titled “Mushrooms, There’s More to the Story Than You Think.” (Sheraton Park Hotel Anaheim, Plaza Ballroom, 8:00 a.m.)

The OMG of Omega-3: Emerging Trends, Innovation and Insights to Fuel Growth. One of the most important categories in the natural products market, omega-3s continue to change as manufacturers innovate and researchers learn more about their benefits. Make sure your knowledge of omega-3s and the market is current. Sponsored by DSM. (Marriott, Marquis Ballroom Northwest, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.)

Supplements Today: Why the Future Looks Bright. The supplement market has its ups and downs, but as of now, things are looking good. This session which includes proprietary data from New Hope Network’s Nutrition Business Journal that reveal the 2016 sales numbers for the industry and what supplement makers can expect through the end of the decade. A variety of speakers will unpack their own insights such as trends, the demand for transparency and the shifting regulatory climate. (Marriott, Marquis Ballroom South/Central, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) Speakers include: • Thomas Aarts, founder & principal, NCN & Nutrition Business Journal • Rick Polito, editor in chief, Nutrition Business Journal, New Hope Network • William Hood, managing director, Houlihan Lokey • Steve Mister, president & CEO, Council for Responsible Nutrition

Exhibitor Presented Seminar: Presented by Dr. Bronner’s. This seminar is a panel discussion called “Eating Animals” that explores the realities of contemporary animal agriculture. The discussion will not only cover the moral objections of eating meat and the conditions animals are subjected to for meeting this carnivorous demand, but also the practical issues of human health and environmental sustainability. The panel will be moderated by Leah Garcés, the director of compassion in World Farming USA and panelists include: • David Bronner, cosmic engagement officer (CEO) of Dr. Bronner’s • Aaron Gross, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Farm Forward • Michele Simon, executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association (Marriott, Marquis Ballroom Northeast, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)

Build Your Culture; Grow Your People; Advance Your Business*. The natural products industry is one of principle and in many ways has a distinct culture. But how can you cultivate culture in your business so that your employees will be encouraged to and be capable of playing an active role in the growth of your company and your brand? (Marriott, Grand Ballroom G/H, 12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.)

What’s NEXT? The Trends, Products and Early Adopters Driving Industry Innovation. Get a jump on the hottest trends and innovative products that will be coming out the Expo West. (Marriott, Marquis Ballroom South/Central, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.)

Women in Naturals Networking Event. This event is open to all who want to honor the contributions and continued efforts of women in the natural products industry. Network with your peers and develop new relationships. (Hilton, Sunset Deck, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.) 10th Anniversary Celebration of Aker BioMarine’s Superba Krill Oil Brand. Enjoy cocktails, appetizers and a champagne toast, to celebrate the ten years Aker BioMarine has been innovating and driving the omega-3 category forward with its Superba Krill Oil. There will be fun activities and some special guest speakers. RSVP by contacting (Hilton, Avalon Ballroom, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.)

Saturday Evening on the Plaza: Sponsored by Clif Bar and Company. Decompress from a long day in the cool California night air.  (Grand Plaza Main Stage, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.)

Sunday, March 12 Saturday Early Morning Yoga. Sponsored by Evolve. (Grand Plaza Main Stage, 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.) WF