The 31st Annual Natural Products Expo East, which took place Sept. 21-24 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, hosted more than 1,450 brands, including 450 first-time exhibitors. With more than 28,000 attendees, it was the largest show on record, growing by 10 percent, according to Boulder, Colo.-based New Hope Network, which produces the event. This year, Expo East was co-located with Biofach America, Natural Products Association East and the Harvest Festival.

Natural Products Expo East is timed in early fall to offer an opportunity for brands to showcase products ahead of the new year, making it an essential event for spotting trends in food, beverage, supplement and personal care markets, the company says.

“The timing of Expo East is important for us as a fast-growing brand because every six months can bring a lot of change. We’ve already expanded to national distribution for the newest product we launched at Expo West in March, making this opportunity for face-to-face East Coast connections crucial,” said Mike Steele, sales director of REBBL, in a statement.

The conference featured a robust education program including keynote presentations from Paul Hawken, environmentalist, entrepreneur and author; and Robyn O’Brien, founder of the AllergyKids Foundation, former financial analyst and author. It also featured a special keynote panel discussion that addressed the disparity of healthy food access in America, led by Whole Foods Market Co-Chief Executive Officer Walter Robb.

Natural Products Expo West and Engredea will take place March 8-12, 2017, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. BI