A Look Inside Expo West 2017

Hello friends!

It’s been a crazy couple days getting back from LA, but I was finally able to write up my experience at Expo West. I’m going to concentrate this post on the expo and not my whole time in LA for brevity’s sake — plus who doesn’t like reading about food?

Natural Products Expo West is the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event. There is an east coast version, Expo East, which I attended about three years ago. I was under the misconception that they were both the same size, but I was definitely mistaken as I arrived at the Anaheim Convention Center. According to the website, this year brought in more than 80,000 attendees, which was definitely apparent as I checked in and took a look around.

My first stop was the Simple Mills booth where I was invited for a blogger brunch. Unfortunately, many of the other invitees were unable to attend, but that meant more coffee cake for me.

Simple Mills had their new GF cookie line to sample and I can attest that each one is SO GOOD. Each product is gluten, grain, and soy-free, plus non-GMO and paleo friendly. The only problem is that they are small, which means I could easily eat way more than I need to. 🙂

I headed to another local Chicago company, Vital Proteins, which has exploded over the past year. Here’s a shot of their new products launching soon! The bottom shelf is a new line of “beauty water” — lightly flavored waters containing collagen. Described as a “spa water,” they are for adding to water for a boost of protein and collagen.

The conference hall was so overwhelming that I couldn’t even see the booth numbers on the printed map. The easiest thing to do was download their app in order to look for the booths you wanted to find. Once you located where you want to go, you had the option to map a route from your current location which was really helpful.

Another place I needed to stop was the Perfect Bar booth, where they were introducing two new flavors — dark chocolate almond and dark chocolate chip peanut butter with sea salt. I can’t wait for these to hit stores.

Minis for the road!

Lifeway Kefir was also a booth I wanted to attend since I’m sure you are all aware of my love for their farmer cheese. I tried a new (to me) flavor — peach — and then went home and immediately bought it in the store. Obsessed.

Neil loves Think Thin bars, but because they have whey protein in them they sometimes upset my stomach. Turns out they are launching a plant-based line with powders AND bars. BRING IT ON.

I love shots of orderly fridges, so I snapped this one of Califia Farms. They had a bunch of new non-dairy products to share, including these flavored almond milks. Anything maca I love, so I need to get my hands on some of this.

Purely Elizabeth has been my favorite granola for years, and they are now branching out into bars. Each bar uses their original granola as a base (YES) and then uses different mushroom blends and flavors to create bars with different focuses.

So far I’ve only had the maple + PB and I loved it. I don’t want to eat the other ones because I want to save them forever. HA.

My third Chicago-based company stop was RXBAR. If you’ve never had one, you need to do something about that.

The ingredients are simple and listed on the front of the wrapper. They debuted three new flavors which should be out in stores next month: chocolate chip, mixed berry, and PB chocolate. I had all three and they’re all a great addition to the line.

I spent about 4-5 hours and really only scratched the surface. Expo East can be done in a day (a full day), but if you go to West, definitely plan for two days in order to get to it all. I was only able to stop at some booths for a second to say hi and I certainly wasn’t able to discuss potential partnerships like I can at other conferences and expos.

If you’re not into food (who are you?), the expo is also for all kinds of natural products like beauty, cleaning, etc.

Food trends I observed:

  • mushrooms being used in several products
  • lots of ghee
  • snackification of fruits and veggies (think drying them out or turning them into bars and chews)

Tips and tricks for attending Expo West:

  • download the app and plan your route ahead of time
  • you don’t have to bring a lot of business cards, but have a few. Most companies will just scan your badge to get your info and you can find theirs on the app
  • if you can, go on the last day. Companies will be trying to unload all their samples and you’ll leave with a CRAZY haul

How to attend Expo West (or east) for free:

  • If you have ANY kind of social media presence in the health/wellness space, apply for a press pass
  • It can be hard to locate, but check under “press” tab or under “registration” and it should be listed. If not, google “expo west” and “press registration”
  • My first year I was only 3 months into my blog with no following and was accepted
  • Here are the requirements for press registration:
    • PRESS CREDENTIALS consist of a business card with your name, media outlet and title as well as ONE of the following:
      1. Traditional Print Media (online versions as well) Examples include: Newsletter, Trade Journal, Magazine, eNewsletter.
        a) Please provide a sample of two articles, published within the past six months that clearly displays authorship, and is within the realm of the natural, organic and healthy living space.*
        b) OR, a copy of publication masthead including your name– see accepted titles below.*

      *Links or pdf’s are acceptable to submit for verification.

      1. TV/Radio: Please submit a link to your show or segments, as well as a screen shot of your stations issued press credentials.
      2. Freelance: Please provide letter of assignment, on outlet’s letterhead.
      3. Social Media Influencers/Bloggers: Please provide a link to your blog or social feed from the past six months that is within the natural, organic and healthy living space. Specific requirements:
        5,000 followers on Twitter OR
        2,000 friends or likes on Facebook OR
        1,000 followers on Pinterest/Instagram/Blog
        (NOTE: Social Media Influencers/Bloggers with less followers will be registered as Correspondent)
      4. Correspondent: If you have less “likes, followers, or friends” than stated above, but want to cover the show as Media, you may qualify as a “Correspondent”.

Questions:

  • Have you been to either expo?
  • What’s one product you’re excited for?
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14 Comments

  1. March 15, 2017 / 6:59 am

    I was so jealous of all of you at Expo West. It sounds a lot like FNCE, with product offerings and revealings. So many goodies!
    Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy recently posted…Pi Day EatsMy Profile

  2. March 15, 2017 / 7:38 am

    I haven’t been to either but I’d love to do Expo East in September! I’m super stoked about those Perfect Bars and Rx Bars!!! Although, it’ll probably take forever and a day to get them in this area but that’s what ordering online is for, right? 😉

  3. March 15, 2017 / 8:37 am

    Wow that sounds overwhelmingly awesome! I’m loving those new flavored nondairy milks too–I can’t wait to see them in stores! 😀 Also…who doesn’t love food?! :-O
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…WIAW: 24 Weeks PregnantMy Profile

  4. March 15, 2017 / 9:49 am

    Wow thank you so much for providing the info on going to it; and I LOVE how you hit some Chicago based companies. I couldn’t be more excited about those new Perfect Bars.

    It was really fun to see all the products to be released, especially Noosa Yogurt (they are Colorado based!) And thank you for recommending going on the last day; I really would love to go next year, so I’ll keep that in mind! <3 This was really kind of you.
    Emily recently posted…WIAW: Eating When You’re Sad Or EmotionalMy Profile

  5. March 15, 2017 / 3:29 pm

    RXbars are amazing! Can’t wait for those new flavors. I want to try adding collagen into my diet, it has so many health benefits from what I understand. What a cool conference for foodies and networking!
    Sarah recently posted…NEDAwareness: I Fight for HerMy Profile

  6. March 18, 2017 / 1:08 pm

    Tehehehe that photo of you kneeling over the props!! I signed up and got accepted but realized I forgot to submit my proof of IG account…uh oh!!!

  7. March 19, 2017 / 3:50 pm

    2 days plus 90 minutes was NOT enough. Sooooo overwhelming! The blogger/media entry is AMAZING!

    I think my expectations for the chocolate Pergect Bars were over the top. Like the original ones better!

    A few other trends: everything as an alternative to dairy, lots of collagen, drinking vinegars…

    I did 2 posts of over 1200 words each and didn’t scratch the surface!!
    Erica @ Erica Finds recently posted…Friday Five: Run a Strong First Race of the YearMy Profile

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