Successful Plant-Based World Expo Reflects Rapidly Growing Food Industry Segment
As interest in plant-based diets and environmentally conscious food choices continues to grow throughout the world, it makes sense that a trade show dedicated to this expanding market segment would find itself growing along with it. Case in point: Plant Based World Expo (PBW), North America’s only 100% plant-based B2B industry event designed exclusively for foodservice professionals, retailers, distributors, investors and manufacturers.
As the official trade show of the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA), the U.S.’s sole trade association for plant-based food companies, the annual event combines a targeted educational conference with an expansive expo showcasing thousands of innovative plant-based food products and brands from across the globe, along with myriad tasting and networking opportunities.
Previous event participants were hungry for more, as evidenced by a larger and more robust third edition of PBW, which returned to New York’s Javits Center Sept. 8-9 and attracted 232 exhibitors spanning 33,000 square feet of expo space and 3,722 attendees, an uptick of approximately 20% compared to 2021.
According to PBW officials, building on the show’s successful 2021 iteration, this year’s event offered a wider array of curated and innovative new plant-based products, double the number of education sessions led by expert speakers, inspiring culinary demonstrations and plentiful peer-to-peer networking. Attendees had the chance to learn about the latest consumer trends, data and research on plant-based foods; see, taste and experience new product innovations and solutions; develop expertise on plant-based food and become inspired to help shape a healthier, more sustainable food system.
“The response to this year’s [show] has been tremendous,” said Chris Nemchek, general manager of PBW, which is produced by JD Events. “One of our goals this year was to improve the audience quality and increase the number of retail and foodservice buyers at the show, and we are thrilled to report that we increased the number of buyers by 20%.”
Out on a lively showfloor showcasing the latest and greatest in plant-based products including meats, cheeses, seafoods, snacks, beverages, desserts and frozen and prepared entrees, exhibitors were enthusiastic about their experiences at the show, citing great connections made and the chance to showcase their products to a highly qualified audience as reasons they plan to return in 2023.
“This was [our] first year exhibiting at the show and it was incredible start to finish,” said Exhibitor Monica Talbert, co-founder of Mind Blown Plant Based Seafood Company. “The energy and excitement from attendees and other exhibitors was truly electric and so many quality connections really make PBW a show not to miss!”
Along with a comprehensive conference program comprising 40 sessions across retail, foodservice and industry tracks, the show also featured the Learning Garden and Culinary Theater with celebrity chefs and industry leaders in plant-based food. The show’s opening keynote session featured Eve Turow-Paul, author, globally-recognized thought leader and founder and executive director of Food for Climate League, who walked through the connections between food choice, mental health, sustainability and the impact of COVID-19.
According to Rachel Dreskin, CEO of PBFA and The Institute, the success of this year’s Plant Based World Expo demonstrates the continued excitement and anticipated growth of the plant-based foods industry.
“Thanks to the strength of our partnership with the PBW team, we were able to put on a fantastic show featuring impactful conference sessions and so many meaningful opportunities for our members to connect with industry leaders and buyers,” Dreskin said. “We look forward to continued growth and the expansion of our joint mission to showcase the power of plant-based.”
Nemchek concurred that the future looks bright, both for the show and the nascent industry it represents.
“The Plant Based World Expo launched in 2019 with tremendous momentum and excitement,” he said. “Since that time, in spite of COVID-related postponements and date changes, PBW has tripled in net square feet sold. Investments are pouring into plant-based brands and products and consumer demand is increasing exponentially. We expect that when we return to the Javits Center Sept. 7-8, 2023, the showfloor will have grown by another 50 percent.”