After taking two years off because of the pandemic, the Natural Products Expo West show returned with a big splash. A massive in-person event took place in Anaheim, California this year, with more than 2,700 companies showing up and exhibiting a wide range of organic food and beverage products.
Expo West prides itself on being the largest event for the natural products industry, and it regularly features some of the latest cutting-edge innovations that are being sold by emerging and established brands. Here are some highlights from the 2022 trade show.
Expo West AttendanceThe show runners for Expo West anticipated a turnout of between 55,000 and 60,000 people. A press release from the show revealed that Expo West show runners were right on track with their predictions — the final turnout for the event was over 57,000.
The show featured a variety of big-name brands, including the following:
- Cambridge Naturals
- Earth Fare
- Healthy Edge
- Jimbo’s Naturally
- Natural Grocers
- PCC Markets
- Whole Foods Market
Plenty of other small and emerging brands made appearances, too, and introduced a wide range of products to natural products enthusiasts from across the globe. One small business that was particularly impressed with Expo West was Pure Wild Co., an Ojai, California-based wellness company that sells products made with marine collagen.
The founder of Pure Wild Co., Cindy Convery, said that attending Expo West for the first time was a “big eye-opener.” She explained that she felt welcome as a new brand and “supported by the natural foods community,” and she and her team also found “excellent suppliers and copackers” to partner with in the future.
Turnip Truck, a Nashville-based retailer, also called Expo West the “best crash course ever” on the natural foods industry.
Health and SafetyNow and in the future, events that host large groups and offer free samples will need to go above and beyond to make health and safety a priority. The following are some specific protocols that Expo West implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infections:
- Despite the State of California lifting mask mandates, mask requirements for all participants while indoors at the Anaheim Convention Center (ACC) and the Marriott and Hilton hotels were in place (enforcement on the other hand…)
- Required proof of vaccination OR a negative COVID-19 test for all participants
- Enhanced cleaning and hygiene protocols and processing, including frequent sanitizing of high-traffic areas and increased waste collection and removal
- Hand sanitizer was readily available throughout the convention
Trends and AwardsVegan products were some of the most popular items on display at Expo West this year. From Ripple Foods’ pea-based soft serve ice cream to Planet Based Foods’ vegan taquitos, there were vegan options for every taste. Lots of collaborations were showcased, too, including some that emphasized sustainability and recycling. For example, Miyoko’s Creamery partnered with Renewal Mill, a sustainable baking company. They worked together to upcycle the vegan butter leftover from Miyoko’s churning equipment and used it to create a delicious salted peanut butter cookie.
Final Thoughts on Expo WestExpo West may have had to take a break for a couple of years, but they were down, not out. Next year’s event will likely be even bigger and better.
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