Musings from Expo East 2018

September 25, 2018

Like I’m sure it is for many, in the almost 20 years I’ve been working in this space, the events I have attended have pretty much become a blur. In some cases though, there’s an anchor interaction, town hall, theme, or even a single meeting that entrenches a tradeshow in one’s mind. And for this year’s Natural Products Expo East event in Baltimore a couple weeks ago, there were a couple noteworthy aspects that will allow me to recall it well.

We were all bracing for a weather event that never happened – at least not in Baltimore. Thoughts certainly go out, and did go out to those who suffered during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Our natural products community is one of the most caring and passionate groups I’ve ever had the fortune to work with, and efforts to support hurricane victims and communities commenced immediately.

It was interesting to watch the dialogue on social media leading up to the show. Many took exceptional steps in order to attend. I was told about the Walmart buyers who originally canceled their trip when it became obvious that going through Charlotte was an impossibility. Intending to fulfill their commitment to the show, the group ultimately hopped into cars and made the trek that way.

Smaller, less busy shows can be more intimate and productive. Many attendees this year discovered that traffic was lighter than they had expected. Some vendors rolled up early, while others took advantage of the opportunity to get deeper into the discussions they could have. On the buyer side, again, the conversations were often deeper and more productive. And there was show floor and education excitement. To more than a few veterans, this year’s Expo East was reminiscent of 2001, where the show took place in DC just weeks after 9-11. At that event, the people who participated truly went out of their way in order to do so and be part of the industry community coming together, and while this year certainly had different circumstances and context, a similar attitude of committing to and caring for the community was evident.

At the Expo West CBD Summit earlier this year, there was certainly excitement in the room, but there was a very curious and generally measured approach to the category. This time, at Expo East, to the cheers of ‘Hemp, hemp hurrah’, the gloves ‘came off’, and a vibrant, wild west attitude and spirit truly prevailed around the category. And on the floor, hemp was everywhere, in ingestibles and topicals; there were even CBD waters. In the supplements aisles, several new entries showed exclusively hemp and CBD products. And the ‘veterans’ of the space, CV Sciences and Charlotte’s Web were mobbed. I observed very few broad line companies actively promoting CBD specifically; Barleans was one. The Council for Responsible Nutrition has made their view very clear on CBD by entitling the session at their upcoming conference in a few weeks, “For Adults Only: What you need to know about CBD”. At Expo East, energy, youthful enthusiasm and more than a bit of naivete prevailed.

Excitement overall in the supplement aisles was pretty minimal, with the possible exception of keto and to a lesser extent collagen/aging products. Keto, in fact was ubiquitous, and appears to have great staying power. Regenerative agriculture and the calling out of companies showing leadership was very evident.

Expo East has never truly been about ingredients, so the fact that fewer than ever of our ingredients ‘folks’ took in the show should come as little surprise.

What was happening on the rest of the show floor? Many of the bloggers and journalists have done their analyses and reports, but from my perspective, I noted more kombucha presence than I expected (more in number, diversity and maturity). Plant-based products and alternatives were everywhere, and for the first time, I noticed the broadening of mushroom products and applications – into jerky, broths, coffees and many other formats.

From a TTC standpoint, as many of our followers know, Trust Transparency Center has recently taken on leadership of the Coconut Coalition of the Americas (CCA). Interest in this group, coconut oil and other coconut products was high in Baltimore and culminated in the Coalition’s Town Hall regarding responding to recent vilification of coconut oil – attended by 40 people the Thursday evening. To anyone looking to get involved with us on this project, please reach out.

That’s all for this ‘Musings’ piece. I know I’ll see many of you at SupplySide West where we can ‘muse’ some more.


P.S. For more on Expo East, there’s a good round-up over on the Nunesso platform. What’s Nunesso? This piece explains it and contact me (lmonheit AT trusttransparency DOT com) if you want to learn more and/or contribute.




Unlock the Power of Transparency: Schedule a Meeting Now

Ready to Illuminate Your Path?
Partner with Trust Transparency Today.

Get inTouch

Lori Diez

Lori Diez combines compassion and excellence to lead organizations to their next level. A small-town Texas childhood taught her the value of hard work and relationships, which she uses to foster teamwork that brings results that have transformed cultures and programs to their highest potential. Her successful career in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical sales leadership and event hosting has prepared her to deliver results as the COO of TrustTransparency, where she uses her industry knowledge to ensure that the company’s operations run smoothly as they support nutraceutical companies in their mission to help others. Lori’s passion for charity reflects her belief that individuals working together can change the world, no matter how small their contribution to the effort. This year, she looks forward to continuing over a decade of service at the Houston Livestock Show And Rodeo, where she will be the Chairman of the Livestock Committee.

Conference Handouts

Conference Handouts

CoQ10 Statin Associated Myaglia Meta Study Barry Tan 0618 Case Study

CoQ10 Statin Associated Myaglia Meta Study Barry Tan 0618 (1)

Statin Q10 Effect Case Study

Statin Q10 Effect Case Study

Schedule Consultation with Trust Transparency

Glynnda Steinford

Glynnda Steinford, Trust Transparency Consulting’s Director of Customer Relations, brings over four decades of healthcare experience to her vital role in client engagement and relationship building. Her diverse background spans from administering medical groups to impactful stints in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical sales, all underlined by her degree in Healthcare Administration.

At the heart of Glynnda’s work is her talent for nurturing long-term connections, a skill she leverages to enhance client experiences and partnerships within the consultancy. Beyond her professional commitments, she enjoys life’s simple pleasures, whether it’s her love for cats and cooking or her ventures into golf, always prioritizing cherished moments with family and friends. Her personal interests echo the dedication and warmth she extends in her professional network, making her an invaluable asset to the team.

Caiti Dowden

Caiti Dowden stands as a crucial pillar at Trust Transparency Consulting, bringing invaluable insight and expertise to her role as Senior Executive Assistant’ since her start in 2018. With an academic background from Sam Houston University and a career shift from education to the nutraceutical sphere in 2010, Caiti has cultivated a sharp acumen for dissecting industry trends and bolstering strategic decision-making.

Her transition from Data Analyst reflects her growth and deep understanding of the business landscape. Caiti’s commitment goes beyond professional excellence; she thrives on balance, drawing from her rich life outside of work to enhance her organizational contributions. Whether it’s family time, volunteering, or rooting for Houston’s sports teams, she believes in embracing experiences to fuel her professional creativity and insight.

In her current role, Caiti’s dedication to dynamic business analysis and operational support proves her to be an irreplaceable asset to our team, embodying the synergy of personal enrichment and professional success.

Pam Hilpert

Pam Hilpert, Chief of Staff at Trust Transparency Consulting, has been instrumental in the firm since its inception, leveraging her 17 years of accounting experience, including a significant tenure in the nutrition sector. Her collaboration with Scott Steinford spans various successful ventures, emphasizing her integral role in the company’s financial and strategic initiatives.

An alumnus of Sam Houston State University, Pam holds degrees in both Business Administration and Accounting, as well as an MBA, adding academic heft to her practical industry insights. Beyond her professional prowess, Pam is passionate about family, enjoys live music, delves into quilting, and volunteers at her church, reflecting her well-rounded life.

Her multifaceted expertise and longstanding dedication make Pam a cornerstone of Trust Transparency Consulting’s operational strength and team unity.

Scott Steinford

Scott Steinford, a trailblazer in strategic leadership, boasts a certified M&A background, having navigated companies from their genesis to industry prominence. His brainchild, Trust Transparency Consulting, born in 2007, stands as a testament to his dedication to ethical business practices and strategic foresight, offering industry stakeholders invaluable guidance.

Beyond founding and steering companies, Scott has enriched the business landscape with his insightful keynotes and prolific written contributions, emphasizing his commitment to elevating industry standards. His executive tenure shines in roles as CEO or President of for-profits like ZMC-USA and Doctor’s Best, extending to significant contributions in non-profit sectors.

Notably, Scott’s influence is a driving force in the CoQ10 market, where his leadership has significantly bolstered the ingredient’s global presence. His roles in various capacities, including as a New Hope Ambassador, keep the community informed, providing in-depth industry reports and insights.

An active advocate within professional associations and an Editorial Advisor for leading industry publications, Scott’s expertise is both recognized and sought after. With academic roots in Pre-Law and a Master’s in Law, his journey transcends textbooks, embodying real-world business acumen and transformative leadership.

Scott Steinford merges visionary entrepreneurship with principled leadership, creating a legacy of innovation, growth, and unwavering commitment to industry excellence.