During Natural Products Expo East, New Hope Network will debut a new event, Innovation Experience, on Sept. 22. While attendees learn more about responsible technology, sustainability solutions and inventive business models, brands can introduce their ideas and products with buyers and investors who are specifically interested in innovation.
Best of all, brands may choose to exhibit only at Innovation Experience, even if they aren't participating in the larger Expo East trade show, for an affordable price. Additionally, they'll have access to the main trade show. Find out more from Elliot Howell, vice president of sales for New Hope Network, in this Q&A.
What inspired the New Hope Innovation Experience?
EH: We are seeing the rapid pace in which innovations throughout the value chain—new food technologies, unique business models, artificial intelligence and nutrition science—are coming to market and how the market is receiving them. As a result, we wanted to create a space that allowed these innovations to be on display in an intimate, interactive and education-heavy environment that allowed for attendees to dig in and better understand the how and why behind the products.
What is the goal of the Innovation Experience?
EH: New Hope wants to add another amazing and unique activation to an already robust Expo East lineup—one that allows for brands with potentially disruptive innovations to display their products and have meaningful dialogue with retail and food-service buyers. Innovation Experience is a place that welcomes curiosity and encourages buyer/seller engagement around topics that could have major impact on people and planet.
Who should attend and why?
EH: Anyone and everyone who is curious about innovations that could shape the industry for the foreseeable future should make their way to Innovation Experience. We expect this event to be relevant to the industry at large. The attendee base will be made up of the traditional retail buyers (food, drug, mass, natural chain and independent) that brands are accustomed to seeing at Expo East, but also a large contingent of food-service buyers. This group has a growing presence at our events, and with many of the innovations that will be on display having such relevance to the food-service space, we believe this will attract new food-service buyers to Innovation Experience and Expo East.
Who should exhibit? How will the exhibitors benefit from this event?
EH: Innovation is a broad term. Anyone doing anything particularly innovative should consider exhibiting. The majority of exhibitors will have a product or service that serves people and/or planet in a unique way. Anyone who is using an emerging, responsible technology in their manufacturing process or in their business model is a great candidate: companies doing something with an eye toward the greater good or that are mission driven; companies that are bringing environmental stewardship into their approach; companies with unique business or ownership models. This will be a good area for emerging, early stage manufacturers that are on the leading edge of innovation.
Why should a brand that is exhibiting on the main floor also exhibit at Innovation Experience?
EH: Having a presence on the main show floor and one at Innovation Experience allows you to have a more prominent and meaningful show. It will give brands the ability to engage and interact with buyers in multiple places. Multiple points of engagement allow for multiple opportunities to connect, drive trial and generate business. I would equate it to having a product shipper in a secondary location in a store. Innovation Experience will provide an environment that is more intimate, interactive and education focused than the typical trade show floor.
Can brands that exhibit at Innovation Experience also visit the show floor?
EH: We expect that many companies will use Innovation Experience to give them a more prominent presence at the show and will use their Innovation Experience as a nice complement to their primary booth on the main show floor.
Companies who just have a presence at the Innovation Experience will be able to visit the main show floor. With the purchase of an Innovation Experience booth, brands receive three Expo East badges. We will have 120 booths that are 5 feet by 10 feet large in the Innovation Experience. The cost to secure a booth is $1,700 for main show floor exhibitors and $2,000 for Innovation Experience only exhibitors. Understanding that this will appeal to established brands as well as early stage brands, we wanted to make this very affordable.