Some 23,000 natural products industry members convened at the 29th annual Natural Products Expo East, held September 17–20 at the Baltimore Convention Center. More than 1,275 exhibitors attended the show, and many product trends were evident at this year’s event. Gluten-free foods, for instance, continue to be a hot commodity.
“I have a pretty large selection of gluten-free items, and there are a couple of companies that I’ve discovered here, some mixes, some breads, some were snacks. This was a good way for me to discover new companies that I would have probably missed otherwise,” said retail buyer Fabienne Swanson of Crozet Great Valu in Crozet, VA.
Other prominent trends were inside–outside supplements, coconut products, functional beverages, healthy snacks, probiotics, kids’ products and non-GMO labeling. Read more about “What’s Trending in Naturals from Expo East” by Nancy Trent of Trent & Co. at www.wholefoodsmagazine.com/blog.
Exhibitors were pleased with retailers’ reactions to new products, like Reed’s, which debuted a new Coffee Kombucha. “We’ve been on fire,” says Chris Reed, founder and CEO of the Los Angeles, CA-based company. “There’s always energy at our booth.”
One exhibitor felt the show helped her company gain exposure. “This is our fourth year at the show. We’re getting more distribution on the East Coast,” said Elke Crafts, natural retail sales manager for GloryBee, based in Eugene, OR. “Being able to interact with people on this side of the country has brought a good response.”
Several exhibiting companies noted that while retail attendance was somewhat light, the meetings were strong. “I’ve been coming to Expo East for four years. Even though it’s lower in retailer attendance, it has been great for meeting with key retailers and new brokers. It’s always good to see retailers and talk with them,” stated Jeff Owen, Eastern regional educator for Doctor’s Best of San Clemente, CA.
Expo East 2014 Coverage
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, November 2014