Expo West: Going to Trade Shows

I’ve never been a fan of trade shows in the past. Part of it is that I’m a little shy, and the thought of all that networking can be nerve-wracking.  However, I just came back from a gigantic Natural Products convention called Expo West in Anaheim, CA, and it was awesome.

There were over 2000 vendors of natural products (if you think sustainable, organic, Pop Karma-type foods and products you’ll have an idea of the types of companies that were there) and 60,000 attendees. It was huge!

There was so much positive energy – I got a chance to sample and look at thousands of interesting products. And, most exciting, I found potential drinks and items for the store and met a lot of potential ingredients suppliers! I learned a lot, met new people, and got a chance to catch up with friends from School House Kitchen and Nutiva that I hadn’t seen in a while. There were even a couple great yoga sessions sponsored by Stonyfield and Aura Cacia.

The top trends of the show were gluten-free foods and the use of non-genetically engineered foods. Even popcorn was trendy. Of course, Pop Karma is naturally gluten-free and we are steadfastly against genetically engineered foods. We won’t even use compostable plastic in our bags since it is made from genetically modified corn.

I also came away confident that Pop Karma popcorn has a different flavor profile. It’s flavorful, but it doesn’t have that bold in-your-face flavor that Doritos has taught us to like, and it’s not flavorless either.

Since I was attending the conference by myself, I was on the fence about it. I am so glad I conquered my natural inhibitions and went! I may even become a trade show junkie. If you have the opportunity to go to trade show for your industry, it’s worth the look!

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