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Natural Products Expo Attracts Record Numbers

With the natural and organic products industry now generating about $57 billion a year in the U.S., attendance at the recent Natural Products Expo West was at a record high.

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Alba and Avalon Organics items

Photo By Heidi Gibbs

ANAHEIM, Calif. — With the natural and organic products industry now generating about $57 billion a year in the U.S., attendance at the recent Natural Products Expo West was at a record high.

The annual event held here at the Anaheim Convention Center from March 13 through March 16, drew more than 52,000 visitors during its three-day run, topping last year's 47,000 attendees. Also on hand were more than 3,000 exhibitors showcasing everything from organic beef to mineral makeup and all-natural homeopathic remedies.

"It's been phenomenal," said Crissy Leatham, director of sales and marketing for the line Green by Nature, which bowed last month. "There's so much interest in this category from all types of retailers." Green by Nature encompasses body washes and scrubs, hand cream and lip butters and glazes. The event is increasingly seen as a place to introduce new labels and product lines, given the prevalence of buyers from across the retail spectrum ranging from specialty health food stores to mass retailers.

"The awareness is on a much greater level now," said Keri Glassman, a New York-based registered dietitian who earlier this month introduced Skin Appetit to about 14,000 drugstore doors, including Rite-Aid and Walgreens.

The skin care line's five products, priced at $14.99 each, incorporate Glassman's fundamental diet principles: super foods such as blueberries, yogurt and wild honey should not just be eaten every day, but also topically applied in the form of products like her Detoxifying Nutri-Cleanser, a Nutri-Collagen Daily Moisturizer and Optim-Eyes Firming Eye Gel. "We will also be launching a dry oil spray later this year, and other products are in the works," said Glassman.

Also at the expo was Burt's Bees, the Durham, N.C.-based business that recently teamed with Aubrey Organics, California Baby, Farmaesthetics and Trilogy Fragrances Inc. to spearhead the Natural Standard and Seal, a universal standard for ingredients in natural personal care products. The product seal confirms that the formula is made from at least 95 percent natural ingredients and that it has not undergone any processes to adversely affect the purity of the ingredient.

The company was also using the expo as a platform for a new line of products directed toward more mature skin, a first in its extensive repertoire. The Naturally Ageless line, which is housed in dark red and white packaging instead of the brand's signature yellow and white, includes a Day Lotion, Eye Crème, Night Crème and Serum, each priced at $24.99. The line — which began rolling out in January with more products slated for July — contains pomegranate oil, known for its antioxidant effects.
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