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Next Summit rebranding reflects new unifying themes in supplement industry, organizer says

24-Feb-2014 - By Hank Schultz
Next Summit rebranding reflects new unifying themes in supplement industry, organizer says
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The dietary supplements and functioanl foods industries have grown tremendously in the two decades since the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. After a period in which the industry split into various interest group segments, new issues like supply chain transparency are forming new common ground, said a longtime industry oberserver.

Len Monheit, executive director of strategic development at New Hope Natural Media, said these new issues that are weaving common threads throughout industry were the primary motivation for the rebranding and reorganization of the company’s scientific conference, now renamed Next Innovation Summit, that is held in conjunction iwth the Natural Products Expo West/Engredea trade show.

“There are a number of issues now, from FSMA, to country of origin issues, to non-GMO, which affect both food and supplements,” Monheit told NutraIngredients-USA. “And there is the question of the definition of ‘natural.’ So there is now a common purpose and a unifying set of themes within the industry.”

Tighter focus

In the past, the conference, previously known as Nutracon, was set up as a scientific/marketing conference with keynote speaker sessions brackting the two-day long event. The meeting used to feature four tracks, which more appropriately matched the diffuse interests of attendees in those years when the industry was going in a lot of different directions, Monheit said. Now the conference has been refocused and tightened into a one-and-a-half day event, with the first half day devoted to keynote speakers and groundwork-laying sessions aimed at painting a comprehensive picture of the issues facing the industry. That is followed by a day with two separate tracks, both of which feature multiple speakers and forum-format sessions.

Among the speakers first day keynote sessions are: 

  • Neal Grimmer, founder of leading baby food manufacturer Plum Organics that was acquired by Campbell in 2013, who will speak on disruptive product design.
  • Dr Daniel Kraft, a Harvard-trained physician who will speak on the intersection of healthcare and the natural products industy.
  • Robbie Vitano, co founder of Naked Pizza among other companies who will speak on "Ecosystem Lessons: What New Orleans can Teach the Natural Products Industry.”
  • Esther Dyson, chairman of EDventure Holdings, who has a history of nuturing successful startups. Dyson will speak on “The New Math of Food.”

On the second day, the conference will feature sessions on genomics and gut health, matching science to restrictive regulatory structures, supply chain transperecy, developments in personalized medicine and nanotechnology among others.

“It’s time for a new set of conversations and probably a new set of paradigms,” Monheit said. “You have technology advances such as algae tehcnolgoy that are challenging the assumptions we made 20 years ago.”

For more information on the Next Innovation Summit and to register, click here.

Related topics: GMPs, QA & QC, Product claims, Going non-GMO, Markets