Anaheim, Calif., welcomed back Natural Products Expo West this week, after sending everyone home two years when the pandemic entered our lives and forever changed us…or maybe not. Expo, which continues through Saturday, has been busier than ever and most folks are not wearing a mask. Proof of vaccination or a negative covid test are required to enter any expo-related spaces. I must admit, on the first day, when only select halls were open, the aisles were so packed, it was hard to move. I wore my mask and also left after awhile as it was an unpleasant experience. It was better the next day when all halls were open. The positive news is that the industry is booming and there’s a lot of activity taking place.
In fact, during the past two years, many manufacturers took the time to focus, prioritize and invest. There were 2,750 exhibitors this year with 625 first timers. Like with many expos, I sampled, selectively. It was no surprise that the dominant theme was plant based (not CBD), sometimes to the point of being humorous. (Think plant-based ketchup!)
I do agree with what Andrew Fleming, senior vice president at Acosta said during the opening keynote session. “Everything starts here and blossoms and grows out of here.”