My Expo West Experience
Jun 08, 2018
This March, was my first time attending New Hope Network's Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA. I really had no idea what I was in for despite reading as much material as I could and speaking with previous attendees. I knew it was HUGE, busy and fantastic.
So I prepared as I expect many did, planning out the education sessions I wanted to attend, booking meetings with prospective clients and future strategic partners. I had pre-planned my visits to the show floor and decided to go-with-the-flow when I got there for the rest!
We arrived Tuesday night so I could get some rest and be up and ready to tackle Wednesday! What struck me as I pulled into the Marriott Wednesday morning (other than the sheer volume of palm trees!) was the level of organization and preparation already executed and awaiting the attendees arrival! I was able to register and get my passes within minutes and head off to the Summit!
Wednesday's education session was the highly anticipated CBD Summit which was scheduled for an entire half day! I was very curious what the US landscape was and the thoughts of the industry leaders speaking. I was very impressed with the organization of the Summit in that every aspect of the topic was covered from market trends to farmers to scientific/clinical applicability to legality and regulation. I learned a lot and was especially surprised (and happy) with the number of times Canada was mentioned throughout the morning! In every presentation there was a shout-out to what we have going on "up-North" and how far as advanced Canada is in the industry! GO Canada!
Thursday! Jammed packed with education sessions all over the 'block' and the opening of the North Hall Exhibits which housed the "Hot Products" this year.
The morning began with the 'Stae of the Industry' address *contact me if you want the slides*. This session covered the changing retail landscape and way consumers are purchasing in the natural products industry. In addition to innovative brands finding new solutions in the changing market. After which I attended the Disrupted Retail session which was very appropriate and the first sessions' speakers gave really powerful and tangible information to those in attendace of how retail is NOT dead and what steps/strategies are essential to keep relevant in the market with your changing customers!
I then headed over (after a meeting) to the Global Export Series which consumed my afternoon discussing the European market, Canada and US Export Requirements. I did make it over to the North Halls and (holy moly) I realized immediately that I was not in Kansas anymore! It was packed! Which I'm sure a regular to these types of trade shows is used to, I however was not! I made it around the floor quickly trying to take in all the new products and see if I could gauge any trends in person. I tried a few samples and brought some back to the hotel to share! Observations from the floor: fortified bottled waters, lots of gluten and dairy free food options, lots of natural snacking options.
My favourites were Unique Pretzels https://www.uniquesplits.com/, Em+Pact Bars http://empactbars.com/, Peatos https://worldpeasbrand.com/, GORP bars https://gorpworld.com/ and FIT FIT natural snack https://www.facebook.com/pg/fitfits86/DELICIOUS!
DAY 3 & 4
Friday morning was the NCN Investor Forum which provided EXCELLENT information on current market trends, what is happening in the investing space and a peek at what is down the line. (I'll share more soon) I then headed over to Hall D- Supplement Hall and was able to chat with some prospects and current clients before the crowds rolled in!
Saturday I had a couple of meetings before heading back to the airport to return home to bitter cold!
Overall, my time in Anaheim was amazing. A HUGE Congratulations to the New Hope team who organizes this phenomenal event and to all of the speakers, sponsors and exhibitors, everyone was truly and genuinely fantastic from staff to attendees to locals. I WILL BE BACK!
*Thank you so much for taking the time to read about my journey in Anaheim, if you have any questions or would like me to follow up with specifics on a topic please let me know!*