Imagine every brand and company you have ever thought of or associated with the natural product industry. Then add a thousand more companies that you have never even heard of. Next, picture all of the representatives associated with each company, plus everyone with a considerable interest in the industry. Manufacturers, retailers, processors, brokers, distributors and consumers—all in one enormous room, exchanging information and promoting their products and services. This is Expo West.
As interns working for the Non-GMO Project we were completely amazed when we walked into the Anaheim Convention Center for the tradeshow. Initially, our senses were pretty overwhelmed. The smells of all the food and body products, the colors and designs of all the companies’ display booths and the chatter of the crowd was definitely an intense experience. For the majority of the day we were standing at the Non-GMO Project’s corner of the distributor UNFI’s booth. It was fascinating to see the vast array of people walking around, and engaging them in discussions of the Non-GMO Project’s work was exciting and fun. Many people had already heard about the Non-GMO Project and our goals. Many retailers displayed interest in the supporting retailer program, and we had numerous manufacturers show interest in enrolling their products in our verification program. We were exhilarated to see our efforts clearly being recognized and supported by such a large population!
Another thrilling event of the day was seeing the Non-GMO Project seal fully incorporated into packaging on Guayaki Tea products. We look forward to seeing more and more packages with our seal in stores.
As interns, Expo West helped to conceptualize the large market we are working with. It was inspiring to see so many gathered together to celebrate the natural product industry and the fight for sustainable Non-GMO food choices. All of this encourages us to continue working for this worthwhile cause.
(Written by Non-GMO Project Interns Halley Everall and Alison Cantor, both Scripps College '10)