I spent the weekend in Anaheim at Natural Products Expo West, the world’s premier trade show for natural, organic and healthy products. Attendance was predicted to be around 50,000 industry professionals. They had around 3,000 exhibitors. Yeah, it was BIG.
It was my first time there and I was just a tad overwhelmed (and exhausted) the first couple of days. By the third day, though, I felt like I had gotten the hang of things. However, I still didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to see. There just wasn’t time!
My heart was gladdened by the sheer size of the convention. Even in a down economy, the market for organic and natural food and products appears to be booming. I also saw a lot of conventional retailers — not just your Whole Foods and other natural food stores.
I was a little put off by what I consider to be a lot of junk food masquerading as health food. There were huge temples erected for companies pushing soy products: soy milk, soy chips, soy bars, soy cereals.
I’ve written some about the dangers of soy on this blog. Clearly, more education is necessary since people are gobbling up Silk and Soy Joy like it’s going out of style. Note to self: write more blog posts about how soy ruins people’s health.*
And I was surprised by all the sugar! Just because it’s “cane sugar” doesn’t make it healthy. Especially when diabetes and obesity rates are skyrocketing.
In the three days I was at the conference, just tasting food at booths, I ate more sugar than I normally eat in a month. No joke. I asked a few of the vendors why they don’t use more natural low-glycemic sweeteners like honey or maple syrup and they said, “Too expensive”.
However, despite those things, I did see many, many great products and companies I’m really excited to tell you about. So for the next week or so, I’ll be posting each day about my favorites from the conference.
Kind of like Oprah’s Favorite Things. Only of course, I’m not Oprah. 😉
You’re going to see some wonderful discoveries over this next week. I’ll be posting the first installment this morning — something I’m really excited about — so be sure to check back in a little while.
* Exception: naturally fermented soy, eaten in small amounts, is good for you.