The first of 6 blog posts from inside by Ben Brown and Terry Gips from the Alliance for Sustainability (www.afors.org)
The Natural Products Expo, with more than around 13,760 attendees is the world’s largest marketplace for organic and natural products manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. With an East and West version taking place every year, it provides key education and analysis about trends in every aspect of the industry. It’s also where nearly all new products are introduced before ending up on your supermarket or co-op shelves. For a long time, the Alliance presented about sustainability at the Expos and would talk to the more than 3,000 exhibitors, helping increase the number of certified organic products offered from a handful to more than a thousand.
This year, the May 24-27 Natural Products Expo West was back, but a little different. It kept all the same elements – it just happened from behind thousands of computer screens, as business owners, writers, and product enthusiasts alike joined the Expo live from their homes and workplaces. From keynotes with esteemed business people to virtual booths and daily networking sessions, the Natural Products Expo was a resounding success – and perhaps the virtual format allowed for even better reach as it drew in people from around the world who may not have participated in person.
This year, while many topics were covered, five key themes emerged:
- The industry must do more to embody JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion);
- Companies need to make fundamental shifts to address the climate crisis;
- Businesses committed to ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) are out-performing their competitors;
- Corporate social and environmental responsibility and transparency matter a great deal to natural products consumers; and
- Demand for organic and plant-based products continues to outpace conventional counterparts across all categories.
Next: How JEDI is changing the industry