>March 12-14, 2010 was the Natural Products Expo West. Held in Anaheim, California, this is the world’s largest natural, organic, and healthy products trade show. With over 3000 exhibitors and 53,000 industry attendees, the show can seem a bit daunting. It is sensory overload with all of the milling people, the flashy booths, and the free samples of the latest and greatest in the natural products market.

Most vendors go hoping to be noticed by Whole Foods, Costco, Trader Joe’s, or other big wholesalers. Noticeably, anything gluten free that doesn’t taste like card board is hot commodity, as well as anything organic, and can we say, “Go green?”

It was definitely a fun experience seeing the creativity and marketing genius of the various companies. Rudi’s Organic Bakery used a VW Bus as a “meeting room” for part of their exhibit.

Walking through the Expo, I thought of how fun it would be to work for one of these companies and be part of trade shows like this one. The next thought was, “Oh wait, I am part of a company that will be at this expo someday, and right now, I get to see what to expect, and I get to see all of this for free.”

Best Chocolate Fudge Brownies Ever! Yum
Visit your local Whole Foods Market so you can bake your own today!
I had a fun time parousing and filling my bag full of free goodies. (I was also scoping out the tortilla competition, and I’d like to say they have nothing on us:). Now, I’ll just take a minute to note a few of the exhibitors.

There were Pirates handing out Pirate’s Booty

LaraBar introduced 4 new flavors at the Expo: Carrot Cake, Chocolate Chip Brownie, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Lara Bars are raw food bars, with short and natural ingredient lists that include things like dates, cashews, almonds, or apples. LaraBars are great for the average flight attendant, and I have to say I’m definately a fan of the new flavors.

On the last day of the Expo, some exhibitors will sell the products. I bought two Klean Kanteen’s, a pretty purple bottle, and a 12oz insulated bottle, which is one of the newest designs. Claiming to keep things warm or cold for 6+ hours, I had a chance to test it out last Thursday. I put chocolate soymilk, with some ice cubes in my insulated bottle at 6am, before farmer’s market. The bottle was in the sun all day and when I finally drank my chocolate soymilk at 7pm, the ice cubes were still there. uh-MAZING!!!

Dr. Karl was at the Expo. He started an eco-friendly company that makes handmade journals, stationary, crafts, scrapbook/photoalbums, and various grades of paper made from none other than elephant pooh. Creative, save the environment, AND cute! The pooh comes from Elephants in Sri Lanka. Dr. Karl gave me the cutest elephant pooh pin. I sported it for the rest of the day. To get your own pooh pin or to see all the other cute stuff, visit the Ellie Paper Pooh online store, and you can learn more about The Ellie Pooh story here.
Overall, my first Expo West Experience was fun, and I hope next year that it will involve Created Whole!! Yippee:)