So much so that if you do not exhibit at one, if not both, of these shows, it will be next to impossible to become a nationally recognized retail brand today.
And while everyone in the industry knows about and attends these trade shows, many people may not be intimately familiar with New Hope and how it operates.
This became particularly clear after the most recent Expo West in Anaheim, where the question that I heard over and over again from organic activists was, “Why was Impossible Burger (Impossible Foods) there?”
After all, isn’t this is a trade show for organic and natural brands?
Seeking answers, I contacted New Hope Network, which organizes the Natural Product Expos; and our multiple phone calls over the past few months resulted in a wider-range conversation.
Here is an edited version of my interview with Carlotta Mast, Senior Vice President of Content and Market Leader for New Hope, and Lacey Gautier, Group Show Director – Informa Markets, the parent company of New Hope.
For many of us, organic is the backbone of the natural products industry. With so many “natural” or “Non-GMO” brands at the shows, what has New Hope done to create a special emphasis on organic and make it easier for organic brands to stand out?
We agree that organic is the backbone of the natural products industry and that is why we are increasing the organic programming at the shows and on NewHope.com. Our hope is that our growing focus on organic will lead to more brands, suppliers, retailers and investors prioritizing organic certification.
At Expo West 2019, we rolled out more prominent branding and promotion of organic, created more organic-focused content online and featured organic brands in printed directories. For our educational panels, we have dedicated specific programming as to why organic is important, and for the NEXTY awards, we are prioritizing organic brands.
Internally, we are focusing on two key areas of organic and determining how we can best execute on these strategies.
1) Supporting young brands who are interested in organic but do not have the encouragement, resources or profit margins to go organic.
2) Identifying partnership opportunities to help brands and suppliers (farmers) transition to organic. New Hope would love to connect with other groups who are doing this, as we can accomplish more together.
What is the Step up to Organic campaign?
It is New Hope’s marketing and event content campaign that promotes organic throughout all of our channels – NewHope.com, social media pages, dedicated emails, press releases, and showcasing organic brands and features at the show.
In terms of on-site exposure, we want to drive traffic to booths in the Organic Pavilion, and the campaign’s logo can been seen on signs, emails and floor graphics throughout the show. This Organic Pavilion is a special section of the trade show floor at both Expo West and Expo East. In order for a brand to get into the Organic Pavilion, all of the products on display must be certified organic.
Although it is a year away, Expo East 2020 will be in Philadelphia. Can you discuss any new organic-related initiatives that will take place there?
We want to make Expo East 2020 “the organic show” and we’ll have the space to build out a special Organic Pavilion, where we can accommodate more brands and those that want to switch from the Hot Products Pavilion.
With this increased amount of space in the Organic Pavilion, we are designing ‘an organic community park’ to have events for non-profits, an organic happy hour, and organic breakfasts.
People in the organic industry are very upset about the presence and potential proliferation of GMO and synthetic biology brands, such as Impossible Foods (Impossible Burger), at the shows. What is New Hope’s position on this and why are they allowed at a “natural” products expo when their products are not “natural”?
New Hope has never banned GMOs from our shows since we put in place our standards.
We have been supporters of GMO-labeling, have had fundraisers at the shows for Just Label It, and have held education seminars about synthetic biology. We champion transparency and are working on expanding the Natural Products Connect directory to more clearly identify products (brands) that contain GMOs or any genetic engineering.
Has there been any discussion internally at New Hope to ban GMOs from the shows?
GMOs have been discussed a lot over the years, and it is a very important issue. As such, we are creating a food tech advisory board to stay current about what is happening with the use of these technologies, so we can weigh our options about what we allow and do not allow.
If brands have feedback about any of these issues discussed above or groups that want to partner with you in efforts to helps companies transition to organic, what is the best way for them to reach you?
If anyone would like to learn more about or get involved in New Hope’s efforts to support organic or has questions about the company’s policies related to GMOs or genetic engineering, they can email Lacey.Gautier@Informa.com or Carlotta.Mast@Informa.com or connect with us on LinkedIn.
As you will see below, we have started a brand new section called 3 Organic Products I Love. This section will appear about twice per month, and we’ll be profiling different individuals in the industry, all of whom will be sharing some of their favorite organic products. This will give people a chance to see what the “insiders” like to eat.
Max Goldberg, Founder
Under Birgit’s direction, Patagonia Provisions has doubled its sales each year, and she introduced Patagonia Provisions to international markets in Europe and Asia. In 2016, she produced Unbroken Ground, an award-winning documentary detailing the critical role food plays in solving the environmental crisis. Birgit lives in Marin County, CA, with her husband and their two daughters.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change urges changes in how food is produced and distributed, including better soil management, crop diversification and fewer restrictions on trade.
The Organic Trade Association's Organic Agronomy Training Service project (OATS) announced that a National Program Director has named and Phase 2 of the program is underway.
Because of heavy rain, Sno Pac Foods in Minnestoa lost 660 football fields of organic peas -- and that number does not include other crop losses.
The Origin of Livestock rule is being applied in different ways by different certifiers, which producers and advocates say gives an unfair advantage to large dairies.
Company records show an action plan that includes promoting certain search results and targeting book reviews.
Farmers and conservationists have filed a lawsuit against the EPA and Monsanto, challenging the approval of Monsanto's crop-damaging dicamba pesticide.
How the Democratic candidate's agricultural strategy will guarantee farmers a fair price, reduce overproduction, and pay farmers for environmental conservation.
The Climate Stewardship Act, which Booker plans to propose in September, aims to 'dramatically scale up' voluntary conservation incentives for farmers and ranchers.
To help farmers, Santa Clara County — home of tech haven Silicon Valley — is purchasing local farmland at market rates to ensure its future in agriculture.
The first two Choice Mini-Mart vending machines, which sell fresh foods made from organic produce, have just begun operations at Denver’s newest music venue.
This decision is targeted at a California regulation which requires labels to warn consumers that the Roundup ingredient is potentially cancer-causing.
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* Nature’s Path put out a great video about the importance of organic farming — featuring Ron Finley, Jyoti Stephens and Danielle Nierenberg.
* Whole Foods wants to help decorate your next party.
* Congrats to Hillary Lewis and Lumi Juice for being featured in Peter King’s Football Morning in America column.
For non-football fans, this is enormous exposure.
* I hope you enjoyed National CBD Day.
* Rumiano Cheese is celebrating 100 years of business. Very cool.
* In Cyprus, organic is oftentimes 100% more expensive.
* An organic, vegan eatery called Skinny Buddha is opening a pop-up for three months in NYC’s East Village.
* This pizza restaurant is offering local, organic food for whatever the customer can pay.
* Suzanne Somers’ cancer was the ‘wake-up call’ that led to her organic beauty line.
* New eco-conscious, “sustainable sound” speakers by House of Marley are made with organic cotton and organic hemp.
* Amy’s Drive Thru has opened its doors in Terminal 1 of San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
* The nation’s first hemp seed bank will be in New York.