Natural Products Expo West Brings Eco-Friendly Innovation to Anaheim

Author: Sarah Beauchamp       

Each year, the New Hope Network — a community providing content, events, research, and consulting services in the healthy lifestyle-products industry — produces the Natural Products Expo West, bringing together organic-industry experts from all over the globe for four days of educational sessions, keynote speakers, and an exhibition featuring thousands of companies. The meeting is about more than networking — it’s about bringing “more health to more people,” says Katie Orrell, New Hope Network’s senior marketing manager. In March, the organization was able to reach more people than ever when it hosted its largest event to date.

New Hope Network welcomed more than 85,000 attendees to the Anaheim Convention Center (ACC), March 7‐11, including industry pioneers and up-and-coming innovators who are working to shape the future of the healthy products world. There were more than 3,521 exhibiting companies, including more than 600 first‐time exhibitors.

“The goal of Expo West is to support the natural, organic, and healthy lifestyle industry by bringing together manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, distributors, and other business professionals to meet one-on-one and ultimately bring more health to more people,” Orrell explains to PCMA. “We’re supporting the entire value chain from supply to shelf.”

The event encompassed the entire ACC, including the newly opened ACC North. The brand-new wing contributes an additional 200,000 square feet of flexible meeting space to the largest convention center on the West Coast, including a 10,000-square-foot balcony overlooking Katella Avenue and Disneyland Resort. “We had just over 800 companies in the new North Halls at the ACC,” Orrell says, which “expanded our ‘Hot Products Pavilion.’ This new space was open Thursday to Saturday, giving attendees a chance to check out these new products before the main show floor opened on Friday.”

After this latest expansion, ACC now offers 1.8 million square feet of meeting space, which the Network utilized by hosting education sessions and social events throughout the entire convention-center campus, including at the adjacent Marriott and Hilton hotels and the ACC’s Grand Plaza and Arena Plaza. “We can really create a community experience by utilizing the entire campus around the Anaheim Convention Center,” Orrell says. In addition to exhibits in the new North Halls of the ACC, “we had live music on both the Grand Plaza and Arena Plaza, and held meetings and education at both the Anaheim Hilton and Marriott hotels.”

The conference also featured keynote presentations by actress and social advocate Jennifer Garner and organic industry pioneer John Foraker, who co-founded Once Upon a Farm, an organic food line for babies and toddlers. There was also a presentation by national bestselling author and internationally recognized expert on food systems, Anna Lappé.

In addition to the educational programming, New Hope worked with the Climate Collaborative, a network of leading climate-change organizations, to host the second annual Climate Day event, which featured a keynote address by climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University. And the group held its first-ever CBD Summit, an in-depth look at the challenges and opportunities within the hemp‐derived cannabidiol industry, and a Disrupted Retail Summit, featuring a discussion around changing consumer habits in person and online.

Next year, the organization, which has hosted the event in Anaheim for more than three decades, will return March 5-9 for its 39th Expo. “We want to continue to improve attendee and exhibitor experience,” Orrell says, “continue to grow our sustainability program, and expand our events on the Arena Plaza.” Adam Andersen, senior vice president of events at the New Hope Network, adds:  “The spirit of Expo West has always been innovation. The conversations happening at Expo West are often catalysts for change well beyond the natural-products industry.”