Take it from me: SupplySide East is the place to be

As a reporter, I have benefited greatly from connections I've made at SupplySide East and other Informa trade shows. New offerings will make the networking even better this year.

Hank Schultz, Senior Editor

April 10, 2024

4 Min Read

At a Glance

  • SupplySide East and other Informa trade shows are the preeminent networking events in the industry.
  • Several new wrinkles at this year's show mean companies will be able to make more connections faster.

We’re approaching one of my favorite times of year, SupplySide East in Secaucus, N.J., on April 16-17, when I get paid to hang out with and be inspired by the fascinating people I’ve met in this business. 

As some of you may know, I came to the natural products business in 2010 after a long career in the daily newspaper industry. Newspapers back in the day used to make A LOT of money. Due to that revenue stream and the crude technology of the time, they also needed and could afford massive staff. 

On being a beat reporter 

Newspapers in their glory days assigned reporters to cover distinct beats: the courthouse reporter, the statehouse reporter, the cops reporter, and so on. That idea is almost entirely passé now, as newspapers struggle to survive with skeleton staff. The comprehensive knowledge those reporters had acquired is gone, and both the quality and quantity of reporting has declined, with potentially serious consequences for civil society. 

Fortunately, we have been able to keep that flame alive here at Natural Products Insider. I am essentially a beat reporter for the natural products industry. I have built up a bank of knowledge about this business and assembled a bulging virtual rolodex of contacts. 

One of the most satisfying things I get to do is to make connections between all the folks in that rolodex. I can say without exaggeration that I’ve had a hand in some product launches and in some key executive hires just by saying, “If that’s what you need, you really should talk to X. I’ll introduce you.” 

The importance of making connections 

Making connections on a massive scale is what the trade shows Informa Markets runs are about. Once again, without exaggeration, I can say that SupplySide West and SupplySide East, along with Natural Products Expo West, are preeminent connection points in this part of the globe for companies in the natural products, dietary supplements, and functional foods industries. 

That’s why these events are circled on countless calendars across the continent. It really is the place to be, and that’s not just marketing speak. As many of you might know, I’d rather eat coal than lapse into smooth PR jargon mode. 

SupplySide East networking, events  

The networking opportunities at Informa events have gotten even better this year, with the debut of a new method of making connections dubbed with the no-nonsense name of The Event Platform. The platform has a machine learning aspect to it that helps attendees quickly arrange their show floor time to get the most out of their visit. “If that’s what you’re interested in, you really should visit booth X,” or something along those lines. 

SupplySide East also includes networking opportunities at a location on the show floor called the SupplySide Connect Hub. A session this year, “Accelerating Newcomers in the Industry,” targets first-time attendees, of which there are an increasing number every year. This is a great opportunity for new people in the industry to network, establish connections and expand their industry resources.

Attendees will also receive information about a new paid program called SupplySide Fresh that offers educational sessions and networking opportunities for newcomers – or people in new roles – in the dietary supplement and food and beverage industries. It will enable brands to quickly bring new hires up to speed on key issues and make invaluable connections. The individual sessions are presented by industry subject matter experts, giving new hires a bank of knowledge that might otherwise take them several years to amass. Click here to learn more about SupplySide Fresh and be notified when enrollment begins.   

SupplySide East registration 

SupplySide East registration is still open for this year’s event, scheduled for April 16-17 in Secaucus, New Jersey. Go to www.supplysideeast.com to attend the expo.  

Members of the industry press are encouraged to attend. Registration is free and can be found on the Press Hub

About SupplySide

For more information on SupplySide events and information products produced by the Health and Nutrition group at Informa Markets, go to: SupplySide East, SupplySide West, Natural Products Insider and Food & Beverage Insider

Engage with supplysideshow.com and follow the latest updates on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn




About the Author(s)

Hank Schultz

Senior Editor, Informa

Hank Schultz has been the senior editor of Natural Products Insider since early 2023. He can be reached at [email protected]

Prior to joining the Informa team, he was an editor at NutraIngredients-USA, a William Reed Business Media publication.

His approach to industry journalism was formed via a long career in the daily newspaper field. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in journalism and German, Hank was an editor at the Tempe Daily News in Arizona. He followed that with a long stint working at the Rocky Mountain News, a now defunct daily newspaper in Denver, where he rose to be one of the city editors. The newspaper won two Pulitzer Prizes during his time there.

The changing landscape of the newspaper industry led him to explore other career paths. He began his career in the natural products industry more than a decade ago at New Hope Natural Media, which was then part of Penton and now is an Informa brand. Hank formed friendships and partnerships within the industry that still inform his work to this day, which helps him to bring an insider’s perspective, tempered with an objective journalist’s sensibility, to his in-depth reporting.

Harkening back to his newspaper days, Hank considers the readers to be the primary stakeholders whose needs must be met. Report the news quickly, comprehensively and above all, fairly, and readership and sponsorships will follow.

In 2015, Hank was recognized by the American Herbal Products Association with a Special Award for Journalistic Excellence.

When he’s not reporting on the supplement industry, Hank enjoys many outside pursuits. Those include long distance bicycle touring, mountain climbing, sailing, kayaking and fishing. Less strenuous pastimes include travel, reading (novels and nonfiction), studying German, noodling on a harmonica, sketching and a daily dose of word puzzles in The New York Times.

Last but far from least, Hank is a lifelong fan and part owner of the Green Bay Packers.

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