Natural Products Expo West 2022 Celebrates a Successful Return to Anaheim

May 19, 2022

Prioritizing a safe and comfortable experience for all participants, Natural Products Expo West recently made its return to the Anaheim Convention Center (ACC) in Anaheim, Calif., for its first in-person trade show since the start of the pandemic. Held March 8-12 and collocated with Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace, the largest annual show for the $274 billion natural products industry hosted a bustling event echoing its most recent sister edition, Natural Products Expo East, held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia Sept. 22-25, 2021.

As part of Informa MarketsNew Hope Network portfolio of brands, the energetic show celebrated its 41st edition by gathering more than 2,700 exhibitors and more than 57,000 attendees to experience the latest innovations in natural and organic foods and beverages, clean beauty and home products, and supplements and ingredients, as well as reconnect with colleagues and focus on the future of the industry. 

“The turnout we’ve seen this week is a strong indication that the industry prioritizes face-to-face connection and product discovery and recognizes in-person events as the most effective means of conducting business,” said Lacey Gautier, vice president of events, Informa Markets’ New Hope Network. “The energy at this show was palpable, and we are really excited to be back in Anaheim with our incredible clients, community and vendor partners.” 

A Vibrant Showfloor and Compelling Content  

Based on a spike in event registrations and retailer commitments since the start of 2022, show organizers had anticipated strong turnout from leading retailers, innovative exhibitors, pioneering sponsors and changemaking industry partners. They weren’t disappointed. 

Across 447,735 square feet of expo space, exhibiting companies shaping the future of food and wellness – including 625 emerging brands making their Expo West debut – showcased a plethora of products while connecting with enthusiastic buyers looking to discover the newest trends in natural and organic items.

“This is our first time at Expo West, so it was a big eye-opener and really exciting to be surrounded by this group of people,” said Exhibitor Cindy Convery, founder of Pure Wild Co. “As a new brand that’s just launched, it makes you feel a little more welcome and supported by the natural foods community. Meeting buyers and distributors was great, and I also found some excellent suppliers and co-packers.”

Natural Products Expo West 2022

The four-day event also saw the return of a robust lineup of 62 education sessions, special events, awards celebrations and keynote presentations, including “Raising the Standard: Clean, Healthy Nutrition for All Kids,” featuring a discussion with actress and Once Upon a Farm Co-Founder Jennifer Garner; “The Joy of Plant-Based Eating” with influencer Tabitha Brown; and “The Color of Food: Navigating Cultural Appropriation, Ownership and Heritage in the Food Industry.”

Additional show highlights included the information-packed The State (and Future) of the Natural & Organic Industry session; Climate Day; Pitch Slam; JEDI Community Happy Hour; and Evenings on the Plaza with live music. 

“Gathering the community again for Expo West is an important milestone as we move forward to shape the future of health and wellness together,” said Carlotta Mast, senior vice president and market leader at Informa Markets’ New Hope Network. “Being in the same space allows for the important conversations and meaningful connections that are catalysts for increasing inclusivity and igniting the joy and passion that has fueled this industry into what it is today.” 

Safety and Sustainability at the Core of the Event Experience 

To keep all event participants safe and healthy, masks were required at the ACC and all surrounding hotels and venues, with proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test required. According to show officials, New Hope Network made sure to adhere to and support local and CDC guidelines and worked closely with the Orange County health agency to outline policies with support from local authorities. 

In addition to top-notch health and safety protocols, New Hope Network increased the event’s long-standing sustainability commitment through enhanced waste diversion efforts, including donations of 171,000 pounds of leftover food to Second Harvest and materials to Habitat for Humanity, alongside ramped-up efforts to increase renewable energy sources, carbon offsetting and mindful procurement.  

Industry members who participated virtually were able to access livestreamed content throughout the week via the Natural Products Expo Virtual Community platform. These sessions were archived for on-demand viewing following the in-person show alongside prior virtual programming, including a keynote with actress and Goodles Co-Founder Gal Gadot, as well as future sessions to be added throughout the year. Meanwhile, the show’s virtual booths remained open throughout March for product discovery and meeting requests.  

“With the return of Natural Products Expo West, we can truly say Anaheim is back,” said Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu. “After a difficult two years for all of us, this shows the resilience of our city and the natural products community. We once again were able to gather safely and celebrate natural, organic and healthy living. The return of Natural Products means so much, helping Anaheim support more than 346,000 residents, 20,000 businesses and 25 million visitors.”  

Natural Products Expo East 2022 is set for Sept. 28-Oct. 1 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, while Natural Products Expo West 2023 will return to the ACC March 7-11. 


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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.