Natural Products Expo West 2015 saw its best year for show attendance when it recently was held at the Anaheim Convention Center, even after a vigorous re-qualification of all attendees and press.
“We wanted to make sure that both the exhibitors and attendees had the best experience possible, and to improve the overall quality of the show’s engagement,” said Adam Andersen, group show director, New Hope Natural Media. “We also wanted to ensure the proper attendee would be at the show, so we heightened security that will continue to be in place in years to come.”
With attendance growth of more than 7 percent, equating to 71,000-plus attendees and more than 2,700 exhibitors spread out amongst the entire Anaheim CC (460,000-plus square feet) and parts of the Hilton and Marriott hotels, security provided traffic flow assistance, as well as dual check points for attendees (badge check against ID).
With the Anaheim Convention Center expansion about to break ground and with the great attendance we have experienced with the show this year, we wanted to be sure we were positioned in terms of how we handled the incoming crowd,” Andersen said.
The show also expanded the experience by two days using last year’s Pitch Slam. Ten companies and 270 attendees participated in this “Shark Tank” like session.
The show, in consideration of the expected greater attendance, launched the Super Pass program. This VIP access provided faster entrances and access to all sessions, providing a streamlined experience sought by many attendees.
And many attendees came for multiple days, staying at the show for longer. First-time attendee Mackenzie Walker from Ying Yang Naturals said, “I used one day just to walk the show and meet up with connections. I am using my second day to circle back to some of the sessions and booths that I didn’t get to visit my first day. With so many things to see, you really need to be here several days.”
The exhibitors certainly added to their booth experience by having great displays, new product launches and even author readings in booth.
Erin Webb, digital and social media manager at Gaia Herbs, said, “We are so excited to have poet Dominique Ashaheed give a poetry reading, celebrating the connections between nature and people. We wanted to demonstrate art in the pursuit of healthy living, and how many things can inspire us to live well.”
Trends in the industry included new ingredients, such as nutmilks and beets.
Lauren Rollins, PR manager for Naked Juice, said, “We are very happy to exhibit at Natural Products Expo West and introduce our new products to the market, such as our nutmilk smoothies, infused coconut water tea and Izzy sparkling waters. The reception to our new products has been great.”
While the attendees were having a good time, the re-qualification of exhibitors had a few attendees less than happy.
“I have to say, I was hoping for more of a certain type of exhibitor to be selling ingredients I need for my business, and I found that section of the show to be a bit thin,” said Cassandra Burnside, owner of Fat Face. “But, with the networking I do at the show and the overall quality of the show, I definitely will be back next year.”
Attendance will most likely increase in future years. “It is great to see the show grow and continue to evolve and provide a holistic experience into natural products,” Andersen said.
Natural Products Expo West 2016 will take place March 11-13 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
- Industry News