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    Big Business at 2013 World Tea/Healthy Beverage Expos

    Solid success means brand-new drink show will be back next year

    The 2013 World Tea Expo and Healthy Beverage Expo, co-located shows that took place June 7-9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, drew almost 5,000 attendees and businesses from more than 50 countries, according to the events’ organizer, World Tea Media.

    The combined shows featured an exposition floor where 260 exhibitors offered the latest innovations in tea and better-for-you beverages. Attendees encountered hundreds of new products, sampled innovative and award-winning teas, and took part in three days of educational sessions and workshops. Next year’s Expos are scheduled for May 30-June 1, 2014, in Las Vegas.

    Among the standout features of the shows was the North American Tea Championship’s (NATC) Winners Tasting Circle, which invited attendees to taste and vote on award-winning teas. More than 70 NATC-winning teas were sampled in four sessions, earning Buyer’s Choice nods for International Tea Importers, TEAloe, Teas Etc., Immaculate Leaf, Aiya America, and Dethlefsen & Balk.

    “The overall traffic of the co-located shows was excellent, and we received a significant amount of positive feedback from participants,” said George Jage, founder and director of Las Vegas-based World Tea Media. “Plus the show was a hotbed of innovative new products and smart classroom-setting dialogues on industry topics. Some of the key issues at this year’s event were sustainability, supply-chain transparency, organic, quality, labeling and terroir and tea. And while we've said it before, it still holds true that now is an exciting time for tea and the beverage industry, and we can't wait to see what develops as a result of all the innovations and industry-wide discussions.”

    The Healthy Beverage Expo featured supermarket guru Phil Lempert, an advisory board member of the event, who, as keynote presenter, discussed the state and future of healthy beverages and the latest food and beverage trends. Key educational sessions at the expo included Reaching Consumers Where They Shop; Simplifying Natural and Functional Beverage Trends for Retail Action; Culinary Trends, Consumer Priorities & the New Nutritional Competition Landscape; Consumer Health Behavior and Attitudes; Super-fruits, Super-foods and Super-ingredients; and Healthy Beverages Play a Key Role in Healthy Aging; among other key topics.

    Attendees consisted of beverage buyers, distributors and retailers, in addition to foodservice professionals, independent merchants, product developers, health practitioners, dietitians, scientists and other decision-makers.

    “Based on this first showing of Healthy Beverage Expo, it’s clear that the beverage industry wanted this event,” observed Jage. “Consumers definitely demand healthier beverage options -- everything from bottled water and juice drinks to sports and herbal beverages --- and consumers say they’ll even pay more for them. So now’s the time for companies to step up, innovate and take advantage of all the opportunities.”

    Progressive Grocer Managing Editor Bridget Goldschmidt attended the co-located events last month, writing extensively on her experiences.

    Registration for next year’s co-located World Tea Expo/Healthy Beverage Expo opens around mid-January 2014.

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