With its traditional early-March scheduling, Natural Products Expo West was probably the first food show in 2020 to cancel because of COVID-19. Even though show planners hedged their bets by moving the show back to May this year, today they announced it, too, would go virtual.
"Informa Markets’ New Hope Network was hopeful that postponing Expo West 2021 to end of May would result in us being able to confidently convene this important community event," organizers announced today (Feb. 11). "Unfortunately, we have now reached the incredibly difficult decision to cancel the in-person Expo West … instead focusing our efforts on an enhanced Expo East event in September.
"The decision … was reached through careful consideration of current government restrictions, anticipated timelines around re-opening in California and industry feedback. We recognize the tremendous efforts and investments that go into participating in our events, and we know prolonging this decision would have prevented our community from making informed choices on time, budget and resource allocations."
Expo West was one of the biggest trade shows in the country, having grown steadily in its 40 years. The last/2019 edition drew 86,000 attendees to the Anaheim (CA) Convention Center March 5-9. Exhibitors are tilted toward smaller, up-and-coming companies, often with leading-edge food and beverage products in the natural and organic categories.
With fingers crossed, Informa announced "an enhanced Natural Products Expo East to serve both Expo East and West customers this fall in Philadelphia (Sept. 22-25), as well as the official launch of Natural Products Expo West Virtual Week (May 24-27)."
The latter will " feature virtual booths, a comprehensive sampling program, networking opportunities, curated retailer/buyer programs, and conference programming focused on product innovations and trends." See more at www.expowest.com/en/home.html.