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Natural Products Expo Attracts Record Numbers

With the natural and organic products industry now generating about $57 billion a year in the U.S., attendance at the recent Natural Products Expo West was at a record high.

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — With the natural and organic products industry now generating about $57 billion a year in the U.S., attendance at the recent Natural Products Expo West was at a record high.

The annual event held here at the Anaheim Convention Center from March 13 through March 16, drew more than 52,000 visitors during its three-day run, topping last year’s 47,000 attendees. Also on hand were more than 3,000 exhibitors showcasing everything from organic beef to mineral makeup and all-natural homeopathic remedies.

“It’s been phenomenal,” said Crissy Leatham, director of sales and marketing for the line Green by Nature, which bowed last month. “There’s so much interest in this category from all types of retailers.” Green by Nature encompasses body washes and scrubs, hand cream and lip butters and glazes. The event is increasingly seen as a place to introduce new labels and product lines, given the prevalence of buyers from across the retail spectrum ranging from specialty health food stores to mass retailers.

“The awareness is on a much greater level now,” said Keri Glassman, a New York-based registered dietitian who earlier this month introduced Skin Appetit to about 14,000 drugstore doors, including Rite-Aid and Walgreens.

The skin care line’s five products, priced at $14.99 each, incorporate Glassman’s fundamental diet principles: super foods such as blueberries, yogurt and wild honey should not just be eaten every day, but also topically applied in the form of products like her Detoxifying Nutri-Cleanser, a Nutri-Collagen Daily Moisturizer and Optim-Eyes Firming Eye Gel. “We will also be launching a dry oil spray later this year, and other products are in the works,” said Glassman.

Also at the expo was Burt’s Bees, the Durham, N.C.-based business that recently teamed with Aubrey Organics, California Baby, Farmaesthetics and Trilogy Fragrances Inc. to spearhead the Natural Standard and Seal, a universal standard for ingredients in natural personal care products. The product seal confirms that the formula is made from at least 95 percent natural ingredients and that it has not undergone any processes to adversely affect the purity of the ingredient.

The company was also using the expo as a platform for a new line of products directed toward more mature skin, a first in its extensive repertoire. The Naturally Ageless line, which is housed in dark red and white packaging instead of the brand’s signature yellow and white, includes a Day Lotion, Eye Crème, Night Crème and Serum, each priced at $24.99. The line — which began rolling out in January with more products slated for July — contains pomegranate oil, known for its antioxidant effects.

“We also use para cress extract, a plant-based ingredient that acts as a mild relaxant,” said Celeste Lutrario, the brand’s head of research and development. “It helps diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”

Also from Burt’s Bees is the Naturally Nourishing line. Its products — including hand soap, body bar and body wash — are based on milk, shea butter and safflower oil, but Lutrario said a new technique allows the proteins in the oil to remain unbroken, intensifying the moisture benefits.

Already available in Europe, the Dr. Hauschka Holistic Home Remedies collection ships this month, offering eight homeopathic remedies for conditions ranging from a cold and sore throat to varicose veins. Topical applications include the Ouch! Aid Arnica Compress, a Calendula Wound Cleanser and a Mercurialis Wound Rescue. Jill Price Marshall, public relations manager for the German-based brand, which has its U.S. headquarters in South Deerfield, Mass., said “The green market is expanding across the board.” She added that more products will be rolled out in August, including a series of Intensive Treatment items designed to be used over a 28-day period. There will also be products for mature skin and color cosmetics.

Cosmetics appear to be a growing category for many organic-based brands. Aubrey Organics, the Tampa, Fla.-based hair, skin and body care label, is rolling out a cosmetics line later this March. “We are now a full-range personal care line,” said Karen Ress, the firm’s director of national sales.

Executives at natural products firms plan to grow the children’s market, as well. “There’s a lot for babies, but not much for older children,” said Angella Green, brand manager at Petaluma, Calif.-based Hain Celestial Group, which owns brands such as Avalon Organics, Jason, Alba Botanica and Zia Natural Skincare.

The 10 stockkeeping units in the Jason Kids Only! is slated to launch in June, and will include Foaming Hand Soap, a shampoo and conditioner and a bath gel. Also scheduled for a September drop is the Jason Enzyme Brightening Powersmile, a teeth whitening system that uses papaya and pineapple enzymes, tea tree, neem and peppermint oils and silica and baking soda in place of fluoride, sulfates and propylene glycol. The company also plans to extend Avalon Organics with an olive and grape seed-based line, and its Alba Botanica brand with Very Emollient Body Lotion Bronzing Formulas. “They provide daily moisturizing and double as a self-tanner but without all the harsh chemicals,” said brand manager Christa Skov.

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