Natural Products Expo West 2006 - Part 1

[This is the first in a series of guest posts by Siel from Green LA Girl. She helped us out by covering the Natural Products Expo at Expo West 2006 in Anaheim (California), and for that we thank her! -Ed.] Wanna ask Daryl Hannah about biodiesel while sipping on a triple-certified (fair trade, organic, shade grown) cappuccino?

Then get over to the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif., a self-described "four-day total immersion course in all things natural and organic." Unbeknownst to most organic foodies, the Expo is celebrating its 25th anniversary this weekend in sunny SoCal at the Anaheim Convention Center. The event, produced by New Hope Natural Media, features more than 1600 exhibitors on natural and organic food, supplements, personal care, natural home, health care, and pet products. Organic and natural products mean big money these days: Organic food sales in the US rose to about $13.5 billion in 2005, compared to $1 billion in 1990, according to the Organic Trade Association.

Which is why this Expo attracts everyone from the die-hard 100% organic-or-bust companies to the money-savvy upstarts trying to cash in on this growing trend. On the one hand, we get companies like Caffe Ibis -- a coffee business that's gone into the trouble to get triple-certified -- and Aubrey Organics -- a personal care products business that's almost-all vegan and organic. On the other, we have Metromint -- basically water with mint flavoring -- and American Spirit -- organic cigarettes. Hmmm...

We'll be reporting on the Expo the next few days, with an enthusiastic treehugging 'tude and a healthy dose of skepticism. After all, the event's held right next to Disneyland -- The happiest place on earth that caters to some of our worst consumer impulses...

Things to come:

Grab-N-Go!: The hot new trend in organic, natural food products that sets the slow food movement's blood boiling:

New Products Showcase: More new products are launched at the Natural Products Expo West every year than at any other trade event.

Last but not least -- Organic Wine & Beer Tasting: BTW -- We're looking for a designated driver Saturday night...

[Once again, a big "thanks" to Siel from Green LA Girl.]