Foodies Swarm The Natural Products Expo West 2014

A record setting 67,000 people attended this year’s Natural Products Expo. The Anaheim convention center could barely house the 3000 exhibitors. International companies specializing in organic foods, non-GMO foods, gluten free foods, vegan foods, paleo foods and any possible sub-genre of these foods were represented at this natural product event of epic proportions.

Even in three days it was nearly impossible to see everything. The parking was a nightmare for some. People had to park at Anaheim stadium and be shuttled over. I overheard people commenting that it took up to four hours to park and get the show. Thanks to My cousin Lucas of Chico Bag, I got a parking pass from his hotel which was easy walking distance to the convention center.

The Natural Products expo featured almost 700 new attendees according to New Hope Natural Media who hosted the event. In a March 10th press releases New Hope Natural Media summarizes the weekend’s events.

The move toward natural, organic and healthy products is not a fad, but a societal shift that is poised to grow to $226 billion by 2018 with an annual growth rate of 8.6 percent. New Hope Natural Media, a division of Penton, today announced Natural Products Expo West concluded a record-breaking event March 6-9 at the Anaheim Convention Center in CA. The event grew five percent bringing together over 67,000 industry members, more than 2,600 exhibiting companies and the most first-time exhibitors in the event’s history. From food and beverage to supplements and beauty to household and pet products, the event provided a window into the many categories driving the growth of the global natural products industry.

I would best describe the Natural Products Expo as the world’s largest one bite buffet. Eighty percent of the exhibitors were featuring food products and most of them were offering samples. Every few steps a new bite of something interesting is presented. Some of this stuff isn’t even on store shelves. Visitors could sample things like yogurt, protein bars, granola bars, dehydrated flavored kale, vegan shrimp, salsa, coconut water, or even energy bars made with cricket flour.

The most prominent product at the expo was coconut water and its’ derivations. The OC Weekly commented on how many coconut products were available. “There was a different brand of coconut water from a different country-Thailand (buttery), Philippines (grassy), Brazil (earthy)-at every other corner, including more brands that are doing raw cold pressed versions that came pretty close to replicating a freshly cracked coconut by the beach. There were salted caramel coconut chips, coconut milk caramels and caramelized coconut jams.”

Also featured were gluten-free products, paleo and other special diet groups, all focusing on better, healthier and cleaner living. The amount of information was unsurpassed and this event allowed organic buyers, vendors, and industry professionals to meet face-to-face.