First plant-based world expo and conference a success!
Informative sessions, new products, and networking.
At the first plant-based expo past week 125 exhibitors showed their commitment to a plant-based world to 3,700 visitors.
This event had an exposition and an educational conference section.
The expo was all about plant-based products: meatless burgers, oatmilk, protein shakes, cookies, CBD and much more.
The 3 conference themes:
- Food Solutions for Human Health
‘ Learn from leading health experts about the benefits of whole food, plant-based diet and how it prevents and reverses disease! ‘
- Eat for the Future
‘ Gain a better understanding of how plant-based is rapidly becoming integrated into mainstream culture. Network with retailers, food service professionals, and brands who are pioneering this global shift! ’
- Community day.
‘ Discover the latest foods, products, and services on the Expo floor. Learn how to thrive on a plant-based lifestyle!
To attend these conferences buying a separate pass was mandatory.
In addition, free for all pass holders: a culinary demo theater where chefs wowed the audience with tofu, seaweed, soup and more. A Siddhi Speaker Series addressed marketing, fulfillment, brand, and advocacy stories.
In the educational sessions, there were presentations from Google, The Good Food Institute, the Culinary Institute of America. Trends, Opportunities, and Projections were key topics. The Plantrician Project (https://plantricianproject.org) sponsored the ‘Food Solutions’ theme. Presentations by noted headlining doctors, such as Drs. Scott Stroll, Joel Kahn, Joel Fuhrman, and Michael Greger. Food as Medicine was front and center and lots of data and research results were presented.
The Plant-Based World team can be proud of their initiative: the format worked, the ‘ambiente’ was great. A minority of the visitors were vegans, which was a little surprising as we expected most visitors would be vegans. The second event is planned in June 2020. http://www.plantbasedworldexpo.com/
Some of the exhibitors we never heard of, such as the Hip Hop Is Green Movement, HHIG, (https://poagp.com/ ) or the PlantBase app. HHIG aims to ‘serve free plant-based meals to the youth in the community. Bring Hip Hop performers to entertain and educate a new generation through the Hip Hop Green Dinners.’
PlantBase app wants you ‘ to discover all of the plant-based products we know you will love’.
African American Vegan Started Guide (www.byanygreensnecessary.com) and The Organic & Non-GMO report (www.non-gmoreport.com) were new publications to us. Exhibitor Dr. Praeger’s embraced the theme by bringing real plants -kudos! while other brands brought their Chefs to inform and do demos.
Plenty to sample products; the most we found delicious. But hey, dear exhibitors, please don’t make your sample size so small you can’t handle and taste it…
Delicious is actually how you should describe food, told keynote speaker Edward Brown, the president Restaurant Associates. About 400 attendees listened to the kick-off keynotes, moderated by Nil Zacharias. Michelle Simon, the founder, and executive director of Plant-Based Foods Association told the history of the association she initiated. Kroger’s Ann Beaty explained the path most plant-based/vegan products face in real life for product placement. Focus on ‘the majority of customers, not a small section’; ‘the aim of getting into the middle aisles. coming from the small ‘specialty corner’. And in order to get retail shelf space products have to be available on demand. Also in the value chain the saying ‘if you slow, you blow’ reigns.
The speakers agreed on the future for plant-based products is great but they have to be tasty and healthy. Today, the Consumers buying pattern focus is:
- Delicious. Food has to be tasty;
- Healthy. Nontoxic of course and ingredients with benefits;
- Sustainability. Transparency and sourcing take the third place, and, finally,
- Cruelty-free. Animals do matter.
Some 5-8 % of US consumers are vegans, and about 20% identify as flexitarians, aka ‘casual vegetarians’, reducing their meat intake. During the sessions, a much higher number of flexitarian customers were reported. It’s definitely a rapidly increasing trend. And: about half of the US population is interested in plant-based options. Recently there was reporting that business would attract more customers by just using the word ‘plant-based’ instead of ‘vegan’. This reporting was not confirmed – but definitely not ‘fake news’.