Natural Products Expo East, originally scheduled for Sept. 23-26 in Philadelphia, now sees the same fate as the canceled Natural Products Expo West, one of the earliest events having to change plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New Hope Network says it spent the last three months creating health and safety plans for the event, but ultimately realized canceling was the best option.
"We are making this decision now—more than three months before the event—because we want to do what’s best for you. We’ve learned from surveys and conversations that many community members, including retail buyers, are not confident they will feel safe traveling to or attending a large event in September," New Hope Network wrote in a statement. "A potential lack of buyer participation, along with the show changes we would need to make to ensure the health & safety of the Expo East community, would have prevented us from delivering the quality experience and return on investment our exhibitors, sponsors and the broader community deserve and that we strive to provide."
New Hope Network is refunding all paid Expo East 2020 badges and education registrations. Each exhibitor will be contacted about credit or refund plans.
To fill the void of the canceled Natural Products Expos in 2020, New Hope Network is launching Spark Change in August, a digital product discovery, education and connection platform.
New Hope Network describes: "Brands and innovators will have the opportunity to get in front of retail buyers, consumer influencers, investors and others via digital storytelling and product sampling; retailers and others will be able to easily navigate new innovation based on theme, trend and product category—and meet the people behind these offerings; and the entire community will have access to interactive and actionable conference education and digital networking."