I held off on writing this until the last possible hour before shipping this magazine to the printer, in an effort to provide the most up-to-date information possible in a time where our understanding of our current situation is continuously changing. By the time you read this, though, we’ll know so much more about the impact of novel coronavirus COVID-19 than we do right now—all the latest news on this can be found here.
What we do know today, though, is that in a matter of days we collectively went from business-as-usual, packing our bags and double checking to make sure we had enough business cards to hand out at Natural Products Expo West, to asking ‘What next?’
That question was answered, at least in part, rather quickly. Within hours of the announcement that NPEW was postponed, many in the industry rallied in an effort to support the brands that were reeling from the loss of the business that was going to be done there. The days that would have brought some 90,000 people from more than 130 countries to Anaheim to showcase product launches, discuss the latest research, inspire and educate, ended up being filled with LinkedIn networking and virtual meetings for those who didn’t make it to the ACC…plus pop-up seminars and parties for those who had already boarded a plane and found themselves at Expo…with no expo. I heard from many brands that were set to exhibit—and if you didn’t reach out to share the news of your product launches and show special, please do! The WholeFoods team is committed to helping you get your message out.
As several industry members commented on social media, we’re doing our best to make lemonade out of lemons. And while the pain of the postponed Expo will continue to be felt, especially for smaller companies, seeing the community rally did bring some comfort. At the very least it served as a reminder that this is an industry filled with people who are dedicated to helping to lift others up, and that many established companies will step in to help the up-and-comers. Read up on the efforts here, with extended coverage, including our “virtual stroll” of the Anaheim Convention Center. And to all who stepped up, I’m raising my glass of lemonade in a toast to you.
While I’d love to keep celebrating the good, there’s more to report here. Expo West isn’t the only trade show to be impacted. We won’t be headed to Secaucus for SupplySide East on April 22 as originally planned—the new dates are here. And add Vitafoods Europe and NoCo Hemp Expo to the growing list of postponed events.
No doubt, as the COVID-19 outbreak intensifies (the infection numbers in the U.S. have jumped just in the time it’s taken me to write this) we will all be impacted in more ways. Our goal, always, is to keep you informed, and as we learn more—from updates on industry events to emerging science (see the latest from Vitamin Connection columnist Dr. Richard Passwater) to business concerns (here’s an update on COVID-19 and the supplement supply chain)—we will continue to share the latest in the magazine and on www.WholeFoodsMagazine.com.