Whitney Lauritsen, known as EcoVegan Gal, explains her focus on innovation at this week's Natural Products Expo West
The number one most exciting part of Natural Products Expo West is discovering new products - I think everyone who attends can agree upon that. Though for me, it’s not just about trying the unknown, but witnessing innovation.
Expo West is like a treasure hunt - every year I go in with a plan and strategically weave my way up and down the aisles. My eyes are constantly scanning for newfangled goodies that are not only vegan but organic, non-GMO, fair-trade, gluten-free, unprocessed, nutritionally-rich and in eco-friendly packaging. Finding a product that meets all of the above criteria is the Holy Grail of Expo, earning it an immediate photo upload to Instagram and Twitter, maybe even a spot in my video roundup! These products thrill me because they’re evidence of evolution: Expo West is where the cutting edge takes place. Throughout the convention center I can feel gears turning in each attendee’s head; ideas are born and later brought to life there.
I take Expo very seriously - while it’s a lot of fun, it’s business. My goal is to make connections: to connect with other attendees in order to learn how we can support one another, and to act as a connecting bridge between companies and the Eco-Vegan Gal community. It’s a curation process, as I want to offer a behind the scenes look at beloved products.
Lives are altered at Expo - stop to listen and within minutes you’ll hear someone remark, “this is the product I’ve been waiting for!” I’ve literally seen people cry over dairy-free cheese. These are the moments I live for, not just for my own pleasure but because I’m witnessing change. Expo West is part of a movement to expand the possibilities and showcase how incredible natural products are; it’s a peek into a very healthy, sustainable future.
Editor's Note: Whitney blogs regularly at Eco-Vegan Gal.