Expo East 2020 canceled amid continued coronavirus uncertainty; New Hope to fill void with ‘Spark Change’ digital initiative

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Expo East 2020 canceled amid continued coronavirus uncertainty; New Hope to fill void with ‘Spark Change’ digital initiative

Related tags: expo east, Expo west, New Hope

Following consultation with stakeholders about the viability of holding a major trade exhibition as coronavirus cases continue to rise in multiple states, New Hope has opted to cancel Natural Products Expo East in Philadelphia (Sept. 23-26) and encourage the natural products community to make connections via a digital initiative dubbed Spark Change.

New Hope was forced to cancel its Expo West trade show in Anaheim in early March days before it was due to open as the growing number of cancellations made it clear the event was becoming untenable. Exhibitors were initially told​ a rescheduled show would run 'before the summer,’ but later advised​ that the event was canceled, and given credit (but not a refund) for exhibit space at Natural Products Expo East.

‘We have made the difficult decision to cancel’

In a statement​ put up on its website Monday afternoon, however, New Hope said it had “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.”

It added: “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."

Refunds/credits

New Hope will be refunding attendee badges and education registrations and said its account managers would “work with each exhibitor and sponsor on a credit or refund plan."

Spark Change

To fill the ‘void’ left by Expo West and East, New Hope has created a digital events and content series called ‘Spark Change’ that will “guide the natural & organic products community through a virtual journey of product discovery, education and connection​.”

Details will be unveiled shortly, said the firm, which says it has developed new ways to get brands “in front of retail buyers, consumer influencers, investors and others via digital storytelling and product sampling.”

It added: “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.”

Expo East 2021 will continue as planned as a face-to-face event in Philadelphia September 22-25, 2021, while Expo West 2021 is scheduled for March 2-6 in Anaheim, said the company, which encouraged exhibitors to upload new product information into the Expo Connect platform​.