New Hope Network, organizer of the Natural Products Expo West and Natural Products Expo East trade shows, has canceled Expo East as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

New Hope said it had spent the last three months “creating detailed health and safety plans” for the event, originally set for Sept. 23-26 in Philadelphia, but ultimately decided to cancel.

“We are making this decision now — more than three months before the event — because we want to do what’s best for you,” New Hope said in a statement on the Expo East website. “We’ve learned from surveys and conversations that many community members, including retail buyers, are not confident they will feel safe traveling to or attending a large event in September. A potential lack of buyer participation, along with the show changes we would need to make to ensure the health and safety of the Expo East community, would have prevented us from delivering the quality experience and return on investment our exhibitors, sponsors and the broader community deserve and that we strive to provide.”

New Hope will refund all paid Expo East 2020 badges and education registrations. Sales account managers will work with exhibitors and sponsors on credit or refund plans. 

“We are grateful for the incredible work and support our Philadelphia partners have poured into Expo East and deeply regret the impact this cancelation will have on our partners and the Philly community members who were planning on hosting our event in September,” New Hope said.

Following the cancelation of Expo West in March and now Expo East, New Hope has launched a digital events and content series called Spark Change. Beginning in August, Spark Change will guide the natural and organic products community through virtual product discovery, education and connection.

Brands and innovators will have the opportunity to get in front of retail buyers, consumer influencers, investors and others via digital storytelling and product sampling. Retailers and others will easily navigate Spark Change based on theme, trend and product category and meet the people behind these offerings.

“We know that many natural and organic product brands and buyers are missing the opportunity to connect directly on product innovation and the stories behind these new offerings, and we know that the community at large is eager to spend time together learning, conversing and convening with new friends and old,” New Hope said.