Natural Products Expo Take Home Messages part 1
Natural Products Expo West continues to be the leading trade show in the natural, organic and healthy products industry.
I wore three different hats during this weekend jaunt. First, as a natural health food producer in the gluten-free arena. I visited some of my favorite gluten-free brands, researched some underutilized gluten-free flours and other raw ingredients (my favorite part of the show). I love talking to the suppliers about where the raw commodity was grown, sourced and why it is important. I met with contract manufacturers who actually produce the flours, mixes and products. It is great to see how much some of these companies have grown over a span of 3-4 years. The gluten-free industry is one of the fastest growing segments and is growing into a 5 billion dollar industry.
Second, as a wellness consultant aiming to demystify health by navigating gluten-free, vegan or allergen-free lifestyles and all of the challenges. I attended the The Specialty Diets Forum, the newest Expo West educational event. The Keynote speaker was Robyn O’Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth and Founder of AllergyKids Foundation. Also presenting was The Healthy Voyager (AKA Carolyn Scott-Hamilton) who is the Executive Producer, Creator, Host and Writer of The Healthy Voyager web series, site, and overall brand. Kristin Bauer, animal rights activist and actress on HBO’s True Blood series spoke during lunch, but I couldn’t stay the whole time since my other business program, Early Entrepreneur Track was starting. What I did hear was Kristin talking about the horrible things animals go through so we can have a few seconds of pleasure. I believe as she was tearing up, I noticed there was a dried out piece of chicken being wasted on my plate. That stopped me from pretty much eating meat for a couple days.
Third, and probably the most important, was as a consumer who wants to put the faces behind the brand. This is where I get to talk to the food chemists, CEO’s and founders face to face and in real time. When I look at the big picture, my third hat is really just a combination of them all. I made a food company based on what was missing in the marketplace, something I wanted to eat, something I wanted to feed my family by educating myself on what eating better looks like. Empowerment feels good. I hope to empower and elighten whomever reads this by saying you deserve better. Go get it.
There was reported to be about 60,000 other industry professionals interacting with over 3,000 exhibits. How was I going to do everything in two days?
I will expand on the forums, companies I met with, products liked and didn’t like in my next post.