Some of our staff attended the largest natural ingredient and product expo in the world last weekend, called Expo West. Most of the Hsu’s staff in attendance were at the expo for the first time.
First, the basics:
- Who: Hsu’s Ginseng Staff (5) – 3 from Wausau, and 2 from Los Angeles
- In featured Staff Photo: (Left to Right) Richard Lin, Tony Guo, Hannah Feng, Ben Heindel and Mike Klemp-North
- What: Natural Products Expo West 2018 – the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event
- Where: Anaheim Convention Center – Anaheim, CA
- When: March 8-11th, 2018
- Attendees: 85,000+
- Exhibitors: 3,521
- First-time Exhibitors: 600+
Why does one go to something like this?
We literally saw all walks of life at this event during our time there. This event really does serve as a one-stop-shop for anything related to natural products: product or package innovation, capital funding, ingredients, machinery, labeling, and regulatory standards.
Danielle Vogel, Founder, Glen’s Garden Market, best sums up the Expo West experience:
“The show provides a fantastic opportunity to connect with fellow retailers, discover great new products, build upon existing relationships, and participate in programming that always helps deepen my understanding of some of the most significant issues facing our industry. I always return home with tons of ideas about how to grow my business and improve my product mix”.
Our Experience as first timers:
Overwhelming … in a good way.
First: the sights, sounds, and smells coming from the endless rows of the 3,500 exhibitors were akin to an open-air market or bazaar for those who have traveled internationally – business owners offering samples, and booths offering unique experiences.
The video provided by NewHopeNetwork explains it best:
Second: the diversity of people and products:
The world is big. Like, really big. However, at times, it can feel very small. No more than a few hours after set up, we were getting fist bumps and comments like: “On Wisconsin!”, “Go Pack Go”, and “I grew up there!”. Our first experience with this was meeting someone from Merrill, WI. A few exchanges of something similar to “Oh Jeeze, yer from Wiscaaaaansin!” made us feel right at home.
There were also lots of different products. Products varied in style and type. A few examples include: ginger shots, plant protein mixes, natural BBQ sauce, dragon fruit powder, cold brew coffee, fig supersnacks, coconut oil, probiotic smoothies, matcha tea’s, nitro tea’s, reshi mushrooms, organic ice cream, veggie burgers, vegan pizza, and countless gluten free products.
A few of the more unique ones spotted included: ghee butter, plant based protein sticks, lentil crackers, and… crickets.
The show was more than food, as it also included natural products from the beauty and household industries. Lip balm, makeup, laundry detergent, and tooth paste were all notable products represented as well.
All of these were available to try and sample. Some were great! Others were… ‘unique’.
We came. We Saw…. We Learned?
While we represented Hsu’s and generated business opportunities of our own, we also had huge takeaways in things that cannot be measured on paper.
We educated people on American Ginseng, our industry, and our company.
We also saw how people interacted with our brand.
By the 3rd day, hearing stories of “I used to work with Paul Hsu back in the day” were very common.
We saw countless innovations in the industry applied to various products that may be worth some research and development to apply into our own American Ginseng.
We also saw product packaging in quick-serve formats and re-sealable bag technologies that made us stop for a second look as well.
All of this, out of respect to giving the best possible American Ginseng product, in the most innovative format possible, to our current and future customers.
Written By: Ben Heindel – Hsu’s Ginseng Enterprises