The success of Natural Products Expo East this year is representative of an industry that is simultaneously growing and flourishing.
The natural and organic products trade show and conference took place in Baltimore, Maryland between September 26 and 29. Producers New Hope Natural Media, a division of Penton Media, reported a seven percent growth in overall attendance this year with more than 25,000 attendees and 1,790 exhibits.
The natural and organic products industry itself is said to be growing at 9.7 percent annually, with more than $56b in consumer sales, according to Natural Foods Merchandiser's 2007 Market Overview.
"The record-breaking success of this show reflects the escalating economic clout of natural, organic and healthy products," said Fred Linder, president of New Hope Natural Media.
Market researcher Packaged Facts has predicted the dietary supplement industry alone will grow upwards of $6bn by 2011.
Within this segment of the natural products industry, marketers have been attracting sales by increasingly presenting their products to consumers along condition-specific lines, as well as through new and increasingly innovative delivery systems.
In 2005, according to Packaged Facts, products marketed for condition-specific benefits accounted for a large proportion of new product introductions which rose by 33 percent.
The researcher said these products tended to be positioned in relation to age - including products for weight, diabetes, joint, and eye health.
The Natural Marketing Institute similarly identified the most popular condition-specific supplements as being those for joint, heart and osteoporosis or bone health.
Alternative delivery systems for nutraceuticals, such as food and beverage, have been growing at a faster rate than the traditional supplements category - a trend that is predicted to continue.
As a result, ingredients manufacturers have in addition begun attending the traditional mainstream food trade shows to present their products for use in functional food and beverages.
After 23 years in the mid-Atlantic region, Natural Products Expo East will move its venue north in 2008 to Boston. The trade show is scheduled to take place between October 15 and 18.
The organizers say a benefit of the move is that the new location will provide increased proximity to the retail buying audience in the Northeast.
"With the growth of the show and the industry, we're pleased to provide our clients with an exciting new venue in a progressive region that is important to the natural products industry," said show manager Erica Hulsman.