The sixteenth edition of Europe’s leading annual trade show for the natural products, health food and organic sectors has been hailed a huge success, with both exhibitors and visitors reporting a very productive and vibrant event. Organised by Diversified Business Communications UK, Natural & Organic Products Europe featured 600 exhibitors and attracted a total of 7,352 attendees from 78 countries over 1-2 April at Olympia, London, and was highly praised for the quality of its visitors, its world-class speakers, and the wide choice of exclusive new products on offer.
Simon Barry, event director of Natural & Organic Products Europe, is delighted by the overwhelmingly positive feedback received so far: “I would like to say a huge thank you to all of our exhibitors, visitors, speakers, and supporters, for making this year’s event the most successful, inspiring and educational event yet!”
With the show floor buzzing with business throughout the two days, this year saw an increased social media presence, with thousands of Twitter and Facebook followers able to share in the show’s activities via live updates and photos from Natural & Organic Products Europe’s exhibitors and attendees. Whilst the show’s popular Keynote programme also featured its first-ever Twitter-inspired session – ‘Trending Now’, which saw leading nutritionist Patrick Holford, top food journalist Joanna Blythman, Planet Organic beauty buyer Al Overton, and organic food consultant Simon Wright quizzed on everything from QR codes to punk rock.
Audience participation was also a key feature of one of the show’s biggest draws – the Natural Food Show’s live kitchen demonstrations. Among this year’s top chefs was Tim Bouget, who gave ethical food fans a taste of what makes his award winning sustainable restaurant ODE so special, while last year’s winner of the Vegetarian Society’s coveted Cordon Vert Chef of the Future award – Jay Pindolia served up a feast of ‘Veggie Delights’. Medicinal chef Dale Pinnock, local food champion Henrietta Green, and leading organic eco-chef Barny Haughton were also back to wow the crowds for the second year running.
“I really enjoyed the session – it was an amazing platform to showcase our cuisine to like minded businesses and at the same time to learn about, and see, all the new and exciting products in our industry,” says chef Tim Bouget, whose restaurant ODE recently won the SRA’s Sustainable Restaurant of the Year 2012 award (beating Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage).
Keynote Theatre highlights included the show’s opening session – The High Street Fights Back, with Joanna Blythman and campaigner Elisabeth Winkler among the panellists considering some timely questions affecting independents and supermarkets alike; meanwhile ‘Health food retailing – but not as you know it’, brought together leading retailers Jeff Martin (managing director of organic supermarket chain As Nature Intended) and Peter Aldis (managing director of the Holland & Barrett Group) to discuss the future of health food retailing. Technology, knowledge and passion were just some of the talking points in this lively and enlightening session. Helen Browning’s ‘in conversation’ Keynote was also a popular choice with visitors, which featured the Soil Association’s chief executive talking candidly about the challenges currently facing the organic community.
Meanwhile across the show floor, the Natural Beauty & Spa section’s ever-popular theatre (sponsored by Kinetic Natural Products Distributor & Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps) saw standing-room only crowds for many of its sessions. With notable highlights including seminars by leading natural cosmetics brands such as Dr Hauschka (Sebastian Parsons); Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps (Mike Bronner & Gero Leson); Green People (Ian Taylor); Balance Me (Sian Jones); and Pukka Herbs (Sebastian Poles).
The UK’s biggest showcase of new natural and organic products
As ever, the show’s New Product Showcase was a hive of activity – and for the first port of call for many visiting buyers. Featuring a total of 222 entries for 2012, showcase visitors cast over 1700 votes for their favourites on Sunday 1 April. The winning exhibitors were presented with their trophies by BBC star Kate Humble at the industry’s prestigious Natural and Organic Awards later that night. This year’s winning products included MUNE Healthy Water by Health Secret (drink); Beond Organic Bars by Pulsin’ (organic food); CO YO Coconut Milk Yoghurt by Marigold Health Foods Limited (special diet); Peppersmith Sicilian Lemon Mints by Peppersmith (food); Kokoro Haramaki by Healing Bamboo (natural living & home); Quantum Max B by Quantum Nutrition Labs (VMS); and Pukka Ayurveda Firming Face Oil by Pukka Herbs (natural beauty & spa).
Natural & Organic Products Europe will return to Olympia, London, on 7-8 April 2013.