Expo West prepares for virtual show, then in-person in Philly

BOULDER — While the organizers of the natural and organic products industry’s largest trade show are gearing up for their second annual virtual event in May, staff with Boulder-based New Hope Networks are already looking ahead to the fall for the first post-pandemic in-person show. 

The Natural Products Expo West, which is typically held annually in Anaheim, California, kicks off its virtual week May 24 and will take advantage of New Hope’s customized virtual platform Natural Products Virtual that is “designed to enable product discovery and connections between the exhibiting brands and retailers,” said Carlotta Mast, the New Hope senior vice president who oversees all operations.

“We know we cannot replicate what happens in Anaheim, so we’re trying to maximize the things we can do on a virtual platform,” she said. 

In addition to connection opportunities, the event, which ends May 27, will feature a series of educational lectures, panel discussions and keynote speakers. 

Daily themes for Expo West include the climate, the state of the industry, justice and equity, and the changing consumer profile. 

The event will also include a pitch slam in which startups will compete for recognition and prizes. 

“Having a stage to get people excited about what you’re doing like on the pitch slam stage really makes a difference,” Mast said. 

New Hope organizers are confident that Expo West’s eastern cousin, Expo East, will occur as planned Sept. 22 through Sept 25 in Philadelphia and will be a return to some semblance of normalcy. 

“Things are moving in the right direction and aligned so we will have that opportunity for the industry,” Mast said. 

The expectation is Expo East will be bigger than ever this fall. 

“We’ve had companies that typically only exhibit at Expo West sign up for Philadelphia, so we’re now tracking ahead of where we thought we’d be for Expo East in terms of size and number of exhibitors,” Mast said. “… That’s a really positive sign that the desire is there for companies to get back in person.”

Still, she said, “It will likely feel different than what people are used to pre-COVID as we still have health and safety measures in place, but we’re feeling optimistic that it will be a really fun show.”

Mast said organizers are working with officials in Philadelphia and at the Pennsylvania Convention Center to develop a “very robust health and safety plan” for September’s trade show.

“I feel so grateful to have our team working on putting together a safe and productive show environment,” she said.

BOULDER — While the organizers of the natural and organic products industry’s largest trade show are gearing up for their second annual virtual event in May, staff with Boulder-based New Hope Networks are already looking ahead to the fall for the first post-pandemic in-person show. 

The Natural Products Expo West, which is typically held annually in Anaheim, California, kicks off its virtual week May 24 and will take advantage of New Hope’s customized virtual platform Natural Products Virtual that is “designed to enable product discovery and connections between the exhibiting brands and retailers,” said Carlotta Mast, the New Hope senior vice president who oversees all operations.

“We know we cannot replicate what happens in Anaheim, so we’re trying to maximize the things we can do on a virtual platform,” she said. 

In addition to connection opportunities, the event, which ends May 27, will feature a series of educational lectures, panel discussions and keynote speakers. 

Daily themes for Expo West include the climate, the state of the industry, justice and equity, and the changing consumer profile. 

The event will also include a pitch slam in which startups will compete for recognition and prizes. 

“Having a stage to get people excited about what you’re doing like on the pitch slam stage really makes a difference,” Mast said. 

New Hope organizers are confident that Expo West’s eastern cousin, Expo East, will occur as planned Sept. 22 through Sept 25 in Philadelphia and will be a return to some semblance of normalcy. 

“Things are moving in the right direction and aligned so…