By  on October 2, 2009

BOSTON — Gluten-free skin care, packaging redesigns, recessionista shoppers and new developments in the ongoing (oft contentious) debate over product labeling standards were the buzzed-about topics at the Natural Product Expo East, which ran from Sept. 23 to 26 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The show drew 1,200 exhibitors, including 196 heath and beauty brands and 21,000 attendees. The show practiced what attendees preached: Compost buckets sat in the food hall, the press room was paperless and reusable shopping bags were the most common freebie.

The estimated $4.5 billion natural beauty market is feeling many of the same pressures as conventional beauty brands, yet players in the space continue to express optimism. They are retaining existing customers even during the economic squeeze and seeing continued momentum in “conversions” of mainstream HBA customers.

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