Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hot Trends and the Inside Scoop at Natural Expo West

Herein are the ramblings of an exhausted participant of the Natural Products Expo West. Over the past 10 years I've been involved with the natural products industry in a variety of capacities. I've attended hundreds of seminars, conferences, or trade shows, and served on numerous panels, or made presentations to various professional organizations. It has been well beyond just pet products, these experiences include human food, supplements and personal care items too. I was happy to serve on a panel and also give a presentation at the Natural Products Expo West this year in Anaheim, California. Expo West is much more than the premier trade show for the healthy products industry. It attracts more than 53,000 natural industry professionals from across the globe sharing, learning and exchanging ideas and information with one another. It incorporates the Nutracon conference, the Healthy Baking Seminar, the Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace, and the Supply Expo, which together represent the entire life-cycle of healthy products. Thirty years ago, Expo West was a tiny show, regarded as an event for hippies and the fringe. Today, Natural Products Expo West ranks in the top 100 shows in the US and one of the fastest 50 growing trade shows in all of North America. This year it covered 300,000 square feet of the Anaheim Convention Center and featured over 1,900 exhibitors from over 30 countries. The reach is so huge because it includes natural and organic specialty foods, supplements, health and beauty personal care, natural living, household products, everything organic and pet products too.

This week's episode of The Palm Springs Savant & Co radio show covers highlights of the Expo West. It's all about the current and hot trends for healthy living, from my perspective. This year's Expo has even more energy and buzz than usual. The education and events were heavily attended, with people using social media activities, posting comments live via Twitter and Facebook. Personally, I found tweeting boosted the experience and interaction levels. I engaged in online discussions with people attending the education sessions or expo, despite having not met them in person.


What is it about the health and wellness industry that continues to experience such growth and fascinate consumers? Well part of it is that the concept of health and wellness has evolved to mean everything is connected. From the earliest ages, what we eat, the environment in which we live, even interactions with other species all have an impact. Despite advancements in modern medicine, there is an even greater interest in healthy and alternative lifestyle management. During one of the sessions I attended, it was discussed that most physicians still practice disease management, instead of proactive optimal functioning living.

The panel experts discussed that healthy living must be introduced at the earliest ages in life rather than when "health problems arise". The notion is that long before the onset of age-related diseases, such as obesity, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s or diabetes, people can affect their health starting at childhood. Some experts believe that many diseases begin to germinate in childhood, which is why they urge consumers to start making changes early in life. Reducing exposure to pesticides and toxic chemicals is perhaps one of the most important, but a close second is to start with a healthy diet of foods minimally processed, without artificial colors, flavors or ingredients. Fresh foods are best. Prioritize what foods you can select as organic, and do your best to wash produce thoroughly before consuming. Carefully select vitamins and supplements for quality and potency. Most of all, read labels and ask questions. The Natural Products Expo West is an important annual industry event because it continues to bring forth product innovation-and discussion about what can help promote healthy living naturally. I hope you take the time to look at what you consume and read labels. Regardless of your budget, my advice is to avoid pre-made foods (usually anything in a box), reduce sugar intake, and consume more fresh vegetables and fruits when possible. I'm not a doctor, nutritionist or health professional, nor do I suggest this post is complete in its health advice. It is merely my opinion on the benefits of consuming natural products in your life. Oh- and don't forget your pet too. Better nutrition makes a huge difference in a dog or cat's life.
-Rick Rockhill

3 comments:

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

ALL Good Advice, Rick. I do think that anything you can do to change the way you eat for the better is good--no matter how old you are. It's just got to be better than not watching what you eat.

Diane J Standiford said...

I think our bodies KNOW what is right and WRONG for us, we just ignore. If I could I would make all my dogs food myself. (If I had a dog.) BTW, love the photo ops for blog. I'm always thinking that way too, but I never bump into Ellen or Tillman or, well, anyone outside doctors and my old folks around my retirement home. LOL

Dave Skates said...

Hey Rick, we met at the show! Although, I got your PetCo email and cant get a hold of you. We were downstairs at the Branding and Packaging booth (orangish color and black) and we were a fun group! Anyways, I would love to follow up with you. My email is dc at vyantgroup . com. Great blog BTW!!!

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