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Retailers that are not yet taking a serious look at the natural and organic personal care category might want to check the exhibitor list of Natural Products Expo West, which takes place March 23 to March 25 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. More than 230 exhibiting companies provide organic and natural personal care items -- some that are familiar to the mainstream supermarket (such as Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, Burt's Bees, and Tom's of Maine), and many whose names have not yet left the realm of specialty retailing.
But with the USDA's decision last year to include personal care items in the National Organic Program, these exhibitors will become more familiar as time passes. While it may take some time for any sort of specific legislation to address this category, it's the next frontier, says Fredrik M. Linder, president of Boulder, Colo.-based New Hope Natural Media, which produces the event.
"The organic movement took about 13 years to develop the standards we have now," says Linder. "Personal care products will see a similar process. Although it's not so well defined as food, which is a bit more intuitive to understand, we're seeing a lot of discussion in this area."
What's helping the natural and organic HBC movement is consumers' overall interest in whole health. "It ends up becoming a lifestyle," says Linder. "As such, it touches all areas of the consumer's daily living, including personal care."
Personal care is only one of the categories to be found at the show. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Natural Products Expo West will showcase more than 2,500 exhibits featuring products in the areas of natural and organic foods, health supplements, personal care, and natural living. To help retailers make the most of their time on the expo floor, major organic and natural product categories are represented by several pavilions, each representing various categories of products. Categories include natural foods; organics; personal care; pet; specialty foods; supplements/herbs; vegetarian foods; natural living; wine, beer, and spirits; and health care.
Hot Trends Icons will identify exhibits, seminars, and events throughout the show that tie in to trends. The personal care category can be found in the anti-aging trends group. Other hot trends include grab-and-go, kids, sports nutrition, special diet, and ethnic foods.
Daryl Hannah, actress and environmental advocate, will deliver the keynote address on Sunday, March 26, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., on sustainability and holistic living. Below is a sample of the event's educational programming:
Beyond Food: Organic Fiber Products in the New Marketplace
This session features manufacturers that have created organic fiber products, from socks to bedding and fashionable apparel, and represent sales in venues from boutiques to Whole Foods and Safeway. They will discuss emerging organic fibers and explore recent trends.
Educate to Sell: People Only Buy What They Understand
Product education -- especially when it comes to natural and organic items -- is as powerful a sales tool as merchandising and marketing. This session will focus on how to develop a product education plan: assessing and incorporating resources and assets to achieve sales goals.
In this panel discussion, attendees will gain manufacturer, retailer, and technical perspectives on the opportunities and barriers facing the sustainable packaging industry today, and the tensions that exist between the demand for commercial convenience and the responsibilities of environmental sustainability.
Kosher Certification and the Natural and Organic Food Community
This session takes a close look at the continuing growth of kosher food and its connection to natural and organic food categories. Steve Sichel, director of development for Star-K Kosher Certification, discusses how these categories overlap and why it's important to your business to understand this growth trend.
Organic Standards: Where We Are and Where We're Going
In the fourth year of national organic standards, the organic industry has experienced tremendous growth and acceptance, but not without controversy within the community. This panel discussion will explore lessons learned and what retailers can expect as the industry looks toward new rulemaking.
Feng Shui for Retailers
Best-selling author and feng shui consultant Karen Rausch Carter will teach attendees how to use the time-tested tactics of feng shui to organize and stock merchandise in their stores, to help their businesses realize greater profits and enhanced employee and customer performance.
Using New Products to Compete, Differentiate, and Drive Customer Traffic
In today's market of increased competition and discounting, new products are key to differentiation. This session will demonstrate how savvy retailers are leveraging new products in a way that competitor-proofs their businesses. It will also explore the challenges and emerging solutions for successful new product introductions.