The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news.
Our team recently attended the Natural Products Exposition at the Anaheim Convention Center. We joined forces with the Ports of Grandview and Sunnyside to market our Valley as a business location and made the most of our trip to Southern California. The team set up appointments beforehand with six food companies that are interested in our area plus we bought a booth at the show to showcase our Valley’s potential.
The calls on prospective companies went extremely well and we have several solid leads from firms that see real potential to grow their business here. Two of these businesses are interested in establishing operations in our Valley. Another firm is interested in developing a co-packing relationship with one of our local food processors. The other companies we met with have longer term yet legitimate interest in Yakima County. In my years in the business these were some of the best prospect sales calls we have been involved with.
We also talked to quite a few people who visited our trade show booth. The show was one of the busiest high energy exhibitions I have ever witnessed. Over 67,000 people attended the three day event and there were over 2,600 other exhibitors at the show. From food and beverage to supplements and beauty to ingrediants and services, the event provided insight into the drivers behind the global natural products industry.
The show illuminated that the move toward natural, organic and healthy products is not a fad. The healthy food products industry is poised to grow to $226 billion by 2018 with an annual growth rate of 8.6 percent. We saw local companies like Tree Top, Seneca, Fruitsmart, Milne Fruit and others either exhibiting at the show or in attendance. Our local companies are already on the natural products bandwagon and positioning themselves for future growth opportunities.
The show was an excellent learning opportunity for our team. We picked up a lot by walking the show and talking with other exhibitors. The whole experience raised our awareness towards major trends impacting food companies (including those in our Valley). Being sensitive to these industry dynamics helps us work effectively with local companies and businesses we are trying to attract.
Our team is now in a follow-up mode with the companies we met with and hoping that we can move these discussions towards business investment in our Valley. To learn more about our local food processing industry click here. To see the marketing flyer we developed for the trade show click here.