Coronavirus Fears Decimating Natural Products Expo West

March 2, 2020
More than 200 exhibitors already have pulled out; attendance is expected to be half.

As of mid-day today (March 2), more than 200 companies had pulled out of the huge Natural Products Expo West show later this week in Anaheim, Calif. The show, which last year pulled in 86,000 attendees, now expects about half that.

That still should leave more than 3,000 exhibitors and thousands of attendees at this, one of the largest trade shows of any kind in North America. Tech sessions begin tomorrow (March 3) and the trade show runs Thursday through Saturday.

"Many of our partners due to attend Expo West have urged us to continue with the show. Many have suggested we postpone it," New Hope Network, the organizer of Expo West, announced on the show's website March 1. "The polarity of responses leaves us in a difficult position, as we do not want to upset or let down anyone in our community."

Their decision – at least as of this writing – is the show will go on. However, with added precautions and restrictions.

"Our primary concern is and will always be the safety of our guests and colleagues. We are monitoring the situation and following the guidelines set-forth by our federal and local government and health agencies and are in close on-going contact with local Anaheim authorities.

"Based on all this information, including looking at other venues in the Anaheim area, our intention is to continue … To ensure the health and safety of everyone at Expo West, we are taking very specific control measures around the show and on-site facilities including:

  • Asking those traveling from countries with a CDC Level 3 travel restriction to not make the trip.
  • Adding washing stations outside and hand sanitizing stations in the convention center in addition to the existing ones provided by the building; plus adding hand sanitizing stations in the Marriott and Hilton Hotels.
  • Overseeing that all food safety and sampling guidelines are adhered to, in cooperation with the Orange County health agency personnel who will be on-site.
  • Implementing the cleaning of all high-traffic areas multiple times daily in addition to the standard overnight cleaning.

"Through information we have obtained and conversations we’ve had, we estimate that we will see a 40-60% drop in attendance from previous years. Despite the decreased attendance, we believe there will still be a robust level of activity throughout the Expo West campus, and we are hearing from exhibiting companies still planning to attend that they are looking forward to connecting with their peers and doing business while in Anaheim."

Companies not exhibiting in Natural Products Expo West 2020 include (this is a very small sampling and subject to change): ADM, Applegate Farms, Bolthouse Farms, Enjoy Life Foods, General Mills, Gerber Products, HP Hood, JBS USA, Kind Snacks, two units of Nestle, Stonyfield, Unilever (Talenti Gelato).