Hsu Ginseng x Expo West – A Recap

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


Quick Stats:

  • 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.

Now what?

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.

Group photo1

Written By: Ben Heindel – Hsu’s Ginseng Enterprises


More Than American Ginseng

DID YOU KNOW…. Hsu’s Ginseng Enterprises Inc does more than just cultivate American Ginseng?

Although Ginseng is what we were founded on, we are much more than that.

In addition to growing ginseng in the mid-1970’s, Paul Hsu also saw opportunity to develop a mail-order business that would cater to the needs of Chinese-American immigrants coming from overseas to the United States. He would provide an opportunity for customers to purchase products that they familiar with from back home, but were virtually inaccessible in the United States during that time.


Hsu Ginseng Catalog – Currently over 100 pages, and includes hundreds of products!

Over the years, the mail order business developed into a sizable catalog with a wide diversity of products offered. The digital era only helped the catalog business as customers could access the product lineup and purchase products they saw in the catalog online.


Today, a majority of our business is still Ginseng. However, we are continuously finding new and exciting ways to give customers a great American Ginseng product in different formats:

Our ginseng products include: dried roots, tea’s, slices, capsules, powders, and… with the help of strong partnerships, we even have ginseng in candy and a variety of alcohol types.


American Ginseng Tea, Capsules, and Candy


Our other notable product categories include:

  • Supplements
    1. From Fish Oil to Protein Powder, we carry a wide range of supplements that focus on a few areas of men’s, women’s, and kid’s health.
  • Skin Care
    1. We’ve added a number of brands to our skin-care lineup over the years to include: facial care, body care, eye care, foot care, and hair care.



Biore Clean and Soft Body Wash Camellia

  • Seafood and Herbs
    1. The most fascinating products come from this category due to the extent of strong partnerships we maintain with our suppliers, as well as the importance they hold in nutritional value and diet. Products include: dried seaweed, sea cucumbers, dried alligator (yes!), dried yellow conch meat, elk horn, Chinese herbs, abalone and scallops


  • Appliances
    1. Due to the variety and styles of food offered, we also carry an assortment of products to help our customers cook them all.
    2. We carry appliances that include: steamers, stew pots, rice cookers, as well as lunch jars to keep meals warm.

Tatung TAC-6G(SF) Stainless Rice Cooker

  • Food and Beverage
    1. This category offers a unique range of products familiar to Chinese cuisine and diet.
    2. Tea’s and Smoothie Mixes dominate this category, but we also carry food seasonings, snacks, and even a few Wisconsin Specialties like maple syrup and creamed honey.

Although these products may be sourced from many locations, they are shipped all from Hsu Ginseng Enterprises Inc, in Wausau, WI.

If you wish to learn more about what we offer… check us out! https://www.hsuginseng.com

Written by: Ben Heindel – eCommerce Specialist @ Hsu Ginseng Enterprises


許氏參活家快訊: 嚐鮮『新鮮參』 談新鮮參的妙用


威州地道特產 新鮮花旗參



  • 將新鮮參切片沖茶,可清熱解渴、提神醒腦。
  • 用慢鍋將新鮮參煮成大鍋湯後,待涼放入冰箱內儲存,一日飲用1至2杯,簡單方便。
  • 煮魚湯、大骨或雞湯時,可加入新鮮參做為湯底。
  • 不論墩湯或熬粥,都可將新鮮參與其中藥材,如枸杞、紅棗、黃耆等一起搭配使用。
  • 將新鮮參泡酒,如高粱酒、白蘭地、XO等,早晚飲用一小杯,可強壯身體。





新鮮參的成分濃郁,功效加倍,但保存不易,受限季節性。每年10月至12月份特別保留部分參場收成保存,隨即以空運方式直送全美各地顧客手中,100% 產自許氏威州花旗參農場。現在新鮮人工花旗參有買滿2磅及免空郵的優惠,藉以回饋多年來支持許氏的消費大衆。唯有自産自銷,才有新鮮花旗參!

10 Things I Learned After the Ginseng Festival


The 1st annual International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival rolled through Wausau, WI and the surrounding area just one month ago, but we are still amazed at how it impacted our area and the industry. Here are the 10 things we learned after the event:

Dragon Dance team entertaining guests on Saturday afternoon

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Ginseng and.. Beer?


With the International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival quickly approaching, local ginseng companies in Marathon County are gearing up for a weekend of celebrating the historic plant that heavily contributes to Wisconsin’s economy and export market. That means we should be seeing some interesting creations as growers are pairing up with other local venues. Some rumors indulge the idea of a vodka fused with ginseng, others have ice cream with ginseng, but we can assert that one of those rumors to be true right now — ginseng and beer.


The International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival (IWGF) is the first event of its kind and will attract thousands of visitors from around the world. Hotels and travel accommodations are filling fast.

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Ginseng Spans the Globe, but Some Stays Here


Marathon County, the largest county in Wisconsin, is home to nearly 150 ginseng growers raising about 700,000 pounds of ginseng every year in an area that comprises a microcosm of the county’s available land. Almost 80% of that annual crop will jump ship to China.  But then where does the other 20% go?


Continue reading

Aftermath: Natural Products Expo East

Baltimore, MD

Booth 5330 at the Natural Products Expo East was well-represented at the large-scale convention in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.  Each year Hsu’s sets up for three days of meetings, educating consumers, and learning more about the scope of the Natural Products industry.

Of the many reasons to attend a trade show of this magnitude, the most important is exposure.  Depending on the show, the potential for visitors nears the tens of thousands.  Two symbols that grab the attention of passers-by are the Something Special From Wisconsin logo that we feature on many of our products, and our Hsu’s Root to Health logo.  Sometimes, we run into someone who is, or was, from Wisconsin and then we get into a conversation about beer, cheese, or the Packers and we feel right at home.

We quickly learned from our past experiences that the Natural Products industry has some good eggs, but also maybe a few cracked eggs too.  I for one learned my lesson last year when I got somewhat sick from eating off of each exhibitor’s counter.  Our advice to new exhibitors and visitors is to stay disciplined and try new products sparingly.


High volume of traffic at Baltimore’s Natural Products Expo East

One thing we realized at last year’s expo was that a gap exists between the Eastern (Asian) and Western (U.S. and Europe’s) outlook on ginseng.  To bridge that gap is to essentially identify an international customer.  More specifically, it means tailoring to both Eastern and Western values simultaneously.  The world is getting smaller and our online presence is continuously being revamped and reevaluated to fit our global needs.  The addition of Hsu’s Amazon page is one way we can stay current.  Our trips to Expo West in Anaheim give us the insight into a broadened demographic with the large Chinese population on the West Coast.

The scope of competitors we find at the show typically doesn’t vary outside of Korean ginseng companies, but even they do not always travel to Expo East because of the lack of an Asian demographic on the East coast as opposed to the West.  This year we had the second American ginseng company join the Expo, the Ginseng Herb & Coop from Marathon, WI, along with a representative from the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin.

Brand identity is very important to all of the exhibitors because for every category of product there could be up to fifty or more competitors or like-minded businesses competing for the same pool of consumers.  At Expo East, one can see a lot of similarities in brand strategy, aura, and even product likeness among vendors.

The most volatile yet buzz-generating section is most always the food/confectionery aisles where vendors are displaying their organic cookies, smoothies, candies, and even finished pizzas, tacos, and much more.  Another pro-tip we have is to remember that even if something is labeled as organic, certified organic, all-natural, etc., do your research on the products, consult your physician, and know what you are putting in your body.  Non-dairy products almost always contain nut products such as cashews and coconut and the amount of children and even adults in the United States that suffer from food allergies is overwhelming.

We prepare for the Supply Side West trade show in Las Vegas starting on Thursday, October 6th by shifting focus to our ingredient division.  Hsu’s supplies many large-scale operations with clean and potent American and Asian ginseng powders and powdered extracts for private-label use.  Our ginseng is found in supplements, liquid extracts, and even a beer or two.

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Brief: Wild Ginseng

September 1st marks the beginning of the Wild Ginseng season in Wisconsin. Each State is allowed to set its own parameters for length of season, but since ginseng is most potent after August the trend is roughly the same across the country. Also, with Wild American Ginseng being listed as endangered, the season does not typically last more than two months.

Already, Hsu’s has seen its fair share of Wild Ginseng hunters bringing their fresh finds in exchange for hard-earned money. With the season being short, and the value of Wild Ginseng being as high as it is, thousands of people across the country are searching through anything that remotely resembles a forest.


Kaitlyn Backhaus (left) and the Wisconsin DNR representative auditing the Wild Ginseng brought in by various hunters.  Pound for pound they must be inspected for the State’s records.

In its natural habitat on the forest floor, ginseng is able to sustain itself for many years and gain considerable potency as it ages. The only way to estimate Wild Ginseng’s age is to count the ‘rings’ that appear on top of the root. Those rings are actually the lifeline of the root, and if the original root dies, the lifeline, known commonly as the ‘mother root’, will spawn a new root in its place. If a root sustains a series of harsh winters and conversely a series of favorable winters the lifeline will expand and contract based on its conditions under the surface. The fluctuation of size found throughout the lifeline is how we determine the root’s age and thus will eventually be separated by age and size for its use as a finished product.

Rumors of 100-year-old roots are not uncommon, as we may have one of our own. However such an anomaly is something few hunters will witness within their lifetime. Given the amount of Wild Ginseng harvested every year, the days of finding a root of that caliber and age may be over, especially for future generations. That is why the cultivation of American ginseng may become more important than ever in the next few decades.


EST. 100-Year-Old Wild Ginseng Root.  Found by Hsu’s founder and President Paul C.Hsu, east of Wausau, WI


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Berries – Field and Forest


Late August is a special time for ginseng growers in Marathon County, WI. The arrival of the ginseng plant’s berries is a sign that the harvest season draws near, and simultaneously thousands of Wild Ginseng hunters are scouring the woods across the nation for the most valuable ginseng in the world.

In our fields, groups of workers are beginning to manually pluck those berry clusters from the plants and collect them in their baskets.  From there, they will be transported to our new farm facility which is the hub for creating seeds and sending them through the stratification process.  Each berry contains up to two seeds, and a mature ginseng plant may yield between twenty and thirty seeds every year. Through stratification, we are able to store our seeds throughout the entire winter so they can be used for next year’s planting season starting in July.

Harvesting berries to create a seed stock is important for two reasons:  we are able to maintain our own stock for future harvests, as well as offer our seeds to aspiring ginseng growers around the nation; and, when the berry cluster matures and is harvested, the potency of the root increases as the plant is signaled to send its resources downward.  For that reason ginseng farmers in Marathon County will wait until the end of September to harvest.

For Wild Ginseng hunters, the arrival of ginseng berries makes the search significantly easier. In the viridescent forests of Wisconsin, the bright red clusters are far more telling of the presence of ginseng than the plant’s other physical characteristics.  Hunters have a fairly small window of opportunity to find, dig, clean, and sell their Wild Ginseng (legally).

But for some, finding it is over half of the battle.  In Wisconsin, places like the city of LaCrosse and many towns along the Mississippi River in Southwest Wisconsin are still the leading areas where hunters can still find ginseng in its natural state.  Outside of Wisconsin, the most abundant source of Wild Ginseng is the Appalachian Mountains in an area that span from New York to South Carolina.  There, hunters and poachers alike take part in the fast-paced and often lucrative Wild Ginseng hunt.

Certain social blights have marred the U.S.’s Wild Ginseng trade’s reputation in recent years.  In the opening week of Wild season in 2015, a North Carolina farmer reported that over $6000 worth of Wild Ginseng was stolen from his property.  It is a situation encouraged by over-dramatized reality TV shows such as ‘Appalachian Outlaws’ and will likely continue as the price of Wild Ginseng per pound remains high.

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Wausau Marathon 2016

Saturday August 20th, 2016, marks the 5th annual Wausau Marathon in Wausau, WI.

The importance of this race can’t be stressed enough as it serves as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon in April of 2017.  Runners from all over the country, even the World, participate in the Wausau Marathon because it has that small-town atmosphere yet is serious enough to advance runners to other marathons across the United States.  The featured runs are the full marathon, the half marathon, a 5K (3.1 mile run), and the Kid’s Fun Run.


Since most runners are exhausted and starving by the end of their 26.2 mile endeavor, Hsu’s involvement in the marathon expands to offering each runner, staff member, and volunteer a gift of our Ginseng Granola, Gin-Max, and a discount on a future purchase.  We believe the granola would be a favorable snack after the race, before everyone starts slamming burgers and beers that is.

If you haven’t already signed up for the Wausau Marathon or the affiliated races, you can register here.

Last year, Brendan Thielsen took first place with an elapsed time of 2 hours, 53 minutes, and 28 seconds, which believe it or not was actually faster than some of the half marathon runners at a 6 minute and 40 second per mile pace.  So if you are a running enthusiast, or you’re just in need of some action on August 20th, head to Marathon Park around 7:00 AM.

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