Natural Products Expo West 2015

20150305_114710_resized_2

This year in March, the Natural Products Expo West comes back to Anaheim, California for their prestigious natural and organics products event. Showcasing over thousands of natural and organic brands as well as B2B marketing, the Natural Products Expo West along with New Hope Media and Engredea, welcomes companies from across the world to present and educate the public with their newest products.

I was happy to have the opportunity to attend the show again this year and while I noticed a few dramatic changes, the expo was still an exciting and impressive event. This year the security was definitely tighter as anticipated, as I’m sure there are those unregistered to attend will inevitably sneak into the show. There were more information booths which really helped and signage was clearer than last year’s. But what really impressed me this year was the extra events at both the Marriott Hotel and Hilton Hotel. This year a new section called “Hot Products” showcased brand new companies who introduced their newest products, some not yet out in stores. It was nice to see new companies who brought innovative and useful products to the natural products industry, such as design your own reusable glass water bottles and chocolate hot sauce.

Of course I had to bring my son to the show and it seems that each year companies are involving kids more with their interactive booths and games tailored only to kids. There were companies who also gave out unique toys and trinkets to kids that visited their booths. With so many companies to visit and sample their products, I still had to stop by my usual contacts which included Stonyfield Organic (www.stonyfield.com) who my rep had kindly demonstrated their newest interactive organic sourcing map which was pretty cool. Stonyfield also came out with a couple of new types of yogurt last year and early this year including, Stonyfield Organic Protein, Oh My Yogi!, Greek & Chia, and a few new flavors of their traditional varieties. I will be writing a review of their newest products in a later post. I also visited Amy’s which is coming out with some new Asian-inspired dishes and pasta dishes. They were so delicious it took a bit of willpower to leave their booth instead of staying there all night sampling their new dishes.
20150308_144704_resized_1

Other companies including Nordic Naturals were celebrating their 25 years in the business and they had some fun interactive games for kids and adults. Yummy Bears had new products as well and I had a nice greet and meet with the founders of Veri Organic Soda, which I will have a giveaway very soon.

There were so many companies this year and so much walking as well! But the good thing was that every few steps there was something you can sample or interact with and so we were able to take a breather now and then. And as offered every year, there were seminars upon seminars educating everyone on the world of organic and natural products and food. This year’s show broke last year’s attendance record by about 7%. Here are some highlights of the show:

New Hope’s team of editors and analysts identified the five macro trends influencing the marketplace. They include:

  • Transparency advancements: Consumers are increasingly demanding to know what is in their food, and brands are responding by using technology and other innovations to provide greater transparency and traceability for their products.
  • Ancient Wisdom Gets Wiser: Brands continue to innovate by producing simple, delicious products that take minimally processing to new levels and contain short lists of nutrient-dense ingredients.
  • Paleo 2.0: Paleo-positioned products were even more prevalent. The newest Paleo offerings are popping up in every product category, from English muffins to chocolate.
  • Packaging Innovated: From edible cups to packages featuring famous cookbook authors, the packaging innovations made advancements in sustainability, consumer education and shelf stability.
  • Protein Invasion: Responding to consumers’ insatiable hunger for protein,natural and organic brands are packing new offerings with protein in every conceivable form.

 

20150305_124321_resized

Thursday before the start of the show, there was the Fresh Ideas Marketplace where companies showcased some of their newest and most innovative products yet to be out in the market. This year Organic Valley did something really fun by bringing their Save the Bro campaign with their Organic Fuel milkshake to the event. The milkshake is really delicious and has high amounts of protein so it’s great as a post workout drink or a mid day healthy snack. Pictured above you see several muscle men wearing the Save the Bro t-shirts and challenging anyone to show off their strength with the carnival-like test your strength game. The “bros” were cute and funny and definitely drew in a lot of crowds as they flexed their muscles and handed out prizes to the winners.

Overall, this year’s Natural Products Expo West had a lot more going on than last year. With the additional hotel sites hosting new products and special events and the evening parties on the promenade, there were more to see than anyone could take in a 4-day event. For more info about the Natural Products Expo please visit their website: www.expowest.com.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

Natural Products Expo West – The Latest and Greatest!

 

We were not going to miss the Natural Products Expo West this year, so when I heard that they were considering not allowing children on the showroom floors, both my son and I were disappointed. But through an overwhelming response from parents and exhibitors nationwide, the folks at NPE decided not to change their rules and allow children on the floors again. But next year will be another story – hopefully they’ll stand by their decision to allow children on the showroom floor. After all, most of the companies presenting at the Expo are dedicated in providing natural, organic, and healthy products for kids so how can you NOT have children at the event? Children are the best testers – their honest and candid opinions will surely help improve a product!

The Press Room this year was pretty interesting though. They had members of the industry vote on their top 10 products that were showcased in the Press Room. There were some pretty interesting companies with their newest products showcased such as Broo, which is a shampoo that contains beer, Shindig which are insulated cooler bags, and Indochine which makes natural soap, and other interesting stuff which I’ll get into later. I suppose the voting is to help the companies determine the popularity of their products and since there were over 20 companies to choose from, the voting became a bit difficult without being too prejudiced. But all in all, it was pretty fun – I felt like a member of the Motion Pictures Academy voting for the best movie or best supporting actress.

This year, there were many new companies attending the Expo and showing their newest products. Most of these companies were from overseas and were bringing their products into the United States. We weren’t able to visit all of the newer companies but most of them were tea companies from England, several new mom startup companies, coconut brands, and a few new chocolate companies – who couldn’t use more chocolates, right? But the majority of companies at the Expo were companies that have been in the business for a very long time and are becoming more popular as people are realizing the importance of eating healthily and naturally. And while I did visit some contacts whom I’ve worked with in reviews and giveaways, it was fun to meet new people and new companies. Everyone was excited to explain to you about their products and they were fervently having you try their samples as well. There were chocolates, candies, cookies, vitamin supplements, hand lotions – you name it, it was  there.

But it was the larger companies who really shined at the Expo. With an outstanding marketing approach, companies like CLIF Bar/LUNA had samples galore, and they even had a gaming center set up for kids and adults to play at. The staff were friendly and eager to answer your questions and if you were really hungry, you could probably get full on all the samples they were providing everyone. At the Stonyfield Farm booth, there were samples of their newest Oikos Greek Yogurt for Kids and their booth was set up like a farm with adorable little farm animals, hay, and flowers. There was even a photo area where you can dress up like a cowboy or cowgirl and have your photo or video taken there. It’s always fun to visit Stonyfield Farm as the staff is always eager for you to try their products and handing out souvenirs like tattoes, books, and yogurt. And as you leave the Convention Center, Stonyfield Farm hands you their famous yogurt ice cream bars and yogurt tubes so the walk to your vehicles won’t be so tiring.

Other companies such as Jones Soda, Popchips, and Honest Tea were giving out full size products and if you’re lucky and stayed for the last day of the event, you can take home many other full size products as well. But what was a really grand gesture was the fact that most of the food and perishables were being donated to the local food banks and charities. It was nice to see that all those food weren’t going to go to waste! And this year the exhibitors were smarter with their displays – they cleverly displayed empty cartons and packages just so people won’t grab them on the sly. It was quite shameful to see several people grab boxes of products that were meant for display only as they sneaked them quickly into their resuable bags. I wondered if any of them even knew what they were grabbing?

It seemed like time flew by really quickly at the 3-day Expo. We hardly had a chance to visit every booth and with so many new companies and products out on the market, it was exhilerating and challenging to take in all of the sights, tastes, and people. As usual, the Natural Products Expo West was superbly planned and implemented. The registration was easy and hassle-free and the staff were helpful and friendly. The booths were all set up with extraordinary professionalism and with so many samples offered from the different companies, you really couldn’t go hungry or tired. The event was exhilirating and fun and I’m glad we were able to go again this year. I hope to bring you new products that you may find interesting, as the world of natural and organic living just keeps on growing!

Natural Products Expo West!

As a blogger of parenting and organic and natural products, I had the opportunity to attend the Natural Products Expo West at the Anaheim Convention Center on March 11, 2011. The Natural Products Expo West is the largest expo of natural and organic products that is opened only to the natural products industry. At the Expo, virtually every company in the organic and natural products and food industry were presented and each had their own booth to showcase new products as well as introduce their flagship products to attendees.

I visited some of my favorite companies and wanted to touch base with them and meet some of the folks personally. Popchips, Stonyfield Farm, Earth Friendly Products, Seventh Generation, Organic Valley, Attune Foods, Honest Tea, Amy’s Kitchen, Earthbound Farm, and Snikiddy to name a few were all there and they had some really fun booths and samples to try. I was also excited to meet some new companies and see what they had to offer. Most of the companies at the show displayed all of their current products as well as any new products that they were introducing yet not out on the market. It was pretty exciting to see all of the newest products debuting at the show as well as talking first hand to the marketing and sales group about their latest gems. And let me just say, some of the companies were pretty generous with their samples – they were giving out full size samples as well as little gifts if you were lucky enough to be there when they were handing them out.

But as generous as some of the companies were with their samples and prizes, I saw way too many freeloaders grabbing up bagfuls and handfuls of free samples and gifts.  By the time anyone else got to the booths, all of the samples were gone or the companies pulled them off the shelves for fear of losing their entire stock. A couple of instances I saw some ladies grab boxes full of cookies and bread off the shelves not even pondering if maybe those were just display items and NOT samples. I mean, hey, it’s okay to take one or two but if you’re grabbing them by the handfuls, I wonder – what are you planning on doing with all of those samples? Are they going to eat all of them, give them away, or sell them on the Black Market? Buyers beware: be on the lookout for illegally-obtained organic crackers and cookies.

And yet, it was still nice to see some of my favorite companies generously doling out full size products such as chips, drinks, tea, shampoo, etc. It made me believe in their motto – that they just wanted to spread the good word of their naturally-made products. Although I didn’t have time to visit every single booth(I was there with my son) and he and I had too much fun playing games at some of the booths set up at the hall entrances, it was definitely worth the time seeing all of the new products that will be out on the market in the coming months.

Some of the highlights of the show were a visit from some of the characters from Yo Gabba Gabba and a tossing game with gel-like balls from the folks at Revolution Foods.  At the Revolution Foods game booth, if your ball landed on a point, you get a prize such as yogurt drops, beads, and my son got a big bouncy ball because he landed on a high number. There was also a 1978 Volkswagon Van (Transporter) that was fully decorated as Rudi’s Organic Bakery’s mascot. And at the Happy Family booth, a grown-up man dressed in a onesie went around passing out their snacks. That was a little disconcerting to see, but I was told that the owners of the company orginally had their young children as mascots but they were too tired from the day before so it was replaced by a grown up. At Stonyfield Farm, they were debuting their newest Greek yogurt and my son got a cute little bib and an Eric Carle growth chart. And then at the booth of Nana’s Cookie Company, perhaps my son’s favorite stop,  was seeing “George” from Curious George. He and George spent a great amount of time shaking hands, high-fiving, and taking photos. In fact, they seemed almost inseperable, like long lost friends! It was indeed a fun and educational experience.

Perhaps one of the great things about the Natural Products Expo West is the fact that the companies who attended donated all of their remaining food and samples to the local food bank – Second Harvest Food Bank. So in light of that, it makes me even more disappointed that folks would greedily take the good stuff from other folks who are less fortunate than them and who probably very rarely have the chance to enjoy organic and natural foods.

However, on the last day of the show, as we were walking out, I did ask to take a full size bag of natural potato chip(from a company I just discovered and wanted to try) and I was told rather sternly, “just take one bag”. Perhaps the companies caught on to all the other folks sneaking away with their goods? 

But overall, the Natural Products Expo is a wonderful opportunity for store owners, vendors, wholesalers, and anything relatable to learn about the organic and natural products and food industry. So for those of you who find joy in eating and purchasing organic and natural products, pay attention to your natural food stores and supermarkets as the newest products from some of your favorite companies will be out soon.