Europe’s biggest trade event for natural and organic attracts 9,288 attendees to its new ExCeL London venue
Over 9,200 natural and organic industry professionals were out in force last weekend, over 19-20 April, as ExCeL London was transformed into a vibrant showcase of the very best in natural and organic products at Natural & Organic Products Europe.
Boasting a fresh new look to accompany its move to ExCeL London for 2015, Europe’s biggest trade show for natural, organic, fair trade, free-from, vegan, vegetarian, and eco-living brands, combined a bustling 600-strong exhibition with a packed programme of focused seminars and live cooking demonstrations.
Fantastic, impressive, amazing, exceptional, and wonderful – is just some of the feedback received from attendees so far; with many describing the 2015 edition as taking the event to “the next level”. Around 89% of surveyed visitors have rated their experience as excellent/good, with 95% planning to return next year.
“The reaction to this year’s show has been overwhelmingly positive,” says event director Carol Dunning from organiser Diversified Communications UK. “Having been at Olympia for 16 years, moving the show to ExCeL was a huge move for us and our industry, and I’m delighted to say that it has worked out to be the right home for our show, and the right place to reflect the growing importance of the natural and organic industry.
“The support from the industry has been tremendous and integral to the success of this year’s event. There was such a fantastic ‘buzz’ across the show floor and the feedback we’ve received so far from many of our exhibitors and visitors is that they loved the new venue, and enjoyed the proximity of all the hotels, cafés, bars and restaurants creating a real campus feel, which is unique to ExCeL.
“Big thanks must go to all our exhibitors, visitors, speakers, supporters, and association partners for embracing the show – we’re already looking forward to planning next year’s event for them!”
“Exceptional show and quality of visitors. We were anxious about the move from Olympia to ExCeL this year, but the health stores didn’t disappoint and came along in crowds. See you again next year,” says Cheryl Thallon, founder of Viridian Nutrition.
“You know I tell it like it is, so let me tell you this is fantastic!” says Graham Keen, executive director of the HFMA (Health Food Manufacturers’ Association) talking to Jim Manson, editor of Natural Products News, during the show.
“This year’s Natural & Organic Products Europe was a great success for us, from securing an award to establishing trade contacts with key retailers and distributors in the industry. There is no other show like it in the UK – the atmosphere and people were great and we had a ball!” says Leigh Prideaux, managing director of BodyMe Ltd.
“We were particularly impressed with the show this year – the interest from visitors was overwhelming, with our seven staff just managing to keep up with the swarms of retailers making enquiries. The visitors were friendly, inquisitive and ready to buy! Basically – a winning weekend all-round!” says Bella Willink, co founder of inSpiral Visionary Products.
“Natural & Organic Products Europe was one of the best shows we have attended this year! We are looking forward to next year already!” says Lia Duffy, international sales and marketing, VerMints Organic Breath Mints and Pastilles.
“It was a great show. We met some amazing retailers and distributors,” says Susie Mills, sales & marketing manager UK & EU at INIKA Cosmetics,
Big name buyers pack the aisles
Renowned for attracting key buyers, decision makers and influencers from across the food, beauty, health and eco-label categories, the show’s aisles were packed with a ‘who’s who’ of the sector – including well-known operators like Superdrug, Waitrose, Ocado, Aldi, Co-op, M&S, Holland and Barrett, Whole Foods Market, Planet Organic, Infinity Foods, Harrods, Victoria Health, LoveLula, Big Green Smile, John Bell & Croyden, Lloyds Pharmacy, Glossybox, The Body Shop, Abel & Cole, Costco, BaxterStorey, Sodexo, Mad&Vin, SOK, Life Europe AB, Biocoop, Helsemin, and Carrefour.
They were joined by thousands of independent retailers and foodservice buyers, distributors, wholesalers, importers, and exporters, plus specialist and organic shop owners from all across the UK. As in previous years, the show also attracted a large contingent of international buyers from 84 countries (up 7% from 2014). The Hosted Buyer programme (sponsored by Higher Living) meanwhile enjoyed a 75% increase in uptake, attracting 70 buyers from leading supermarkets, department stores and high street chains, wholesalers and importers from across Europe and beyond.
“We’ve really enjoyed the show and got a lot out of it. If you’re in the natural and organic world, this show is something that you’ve got to do – everyone gets something from it. We’ll definitely be back next year,” says Mark Bazeley, buyer at Infinity Foods.
“It’s amazing – I’ve learnt so much today. Everything I need to see and know about is here in one place,” says retailer Clare Thomas from Wholefoods of Newport.
“Natural & Organic Products is one of the highlights of our year. We spent a very busy two days at the show and still had more to see! The show is a brilliant opportunity to learn about and try new products, as well as catching up with existing suppliers. We have come back buzzing with new ideas for Amaranth and lots of new contacts. We will definitely be back next year!” says Joanne Hill, owner of Amaranth, which was recently named Best Independent Retailer at The Natural and Organic Awards 2015.
“The show was really spectacular, lots of buzz, lots of innovations and a really excellent environment. It’s the place to go for exciting news on all things natural! I can’t miss it and always spend two days solidly trawling the stands and talking… talking… talking… about what’s new!” says Lynn Cardy, wellbeing writer at Woman & Home Magazine.
New Products Showcase
As ever, the show’s New Products Showcase was a hive of activity – and for the first port of call for many visiting buyers. Featuring a record total of 325 entries for 2015, showcase visitors voted for their favourites on Sunday 19 April. The winning exhibitors were presented with their trophies at the industry’s prestigious Natural and Organic Awards later that night.
This year’s winning products included Mint Choc Chip Protein Snack by Pulsin’ (food); Kale-os – kale crisps by InSpiral Visionary Products (organic food); Coyo Cherry Coconut Milk Yoghurt distributed by Marigold Health Foods (special diet); BodyMe Matcha Tea by BodyMe Ltd (drink); PRO-30 Max by Natures Aid (health & nutrition); 100% Organic Liquid Iron by Viridian Nutrition (organic product); Royal Jelly Body Butter by Savannah Bee Company (natural beauty & spa); and Humble Brush by Humble Brush (natural living & home).
The new UK Juicing Championships 2015
Audience participation was also key to the show’s first ever UK Juicing Championships, sponsored by Juico. Open to professional juicers from across the country, nine contestants battled their way through a series of exciting live heats to make it to the grand final. Calan McIntosh from Crussh Fit Food & Juice Bars won out. Impressing the judges – Arthur Potts Dawson, Christine Bailey, Scott McArthur, and Dale Pinnock – with Crussh’s winning juice Lean Green + (made by combining zingy pineapple, pear, apple and kiwi with Swiss chard, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce and parsley). Aside from winning the wealth of industry kudos, Calan – the nation’s top juicer – took away the prize of a Juico juicer and knife set worth over £400. The runners-up were Richard Brookes from Spark Juice in London and reigning British Smoothie Champion Indy Wilson-Fish from Juicafe in Lancaster.
Calan McIntosh, Crussh’s project manager, faced some stiff competition through the three competing heats. Calan says “The Lean Green + is a great green juice, and provides a delicate balance of fresh wholesome flavours. It’s based on the juice, of the same name, that we sell in our stores. Having said that, you never know what your competitors will produce on the day, and the competition represented some of the best in the country, all of whom presented their very best juice product. I’m delighted to have won!”
Free Keynotes & kitchen demos
A brilliant line-up of big-name speakers and top retailers made this year’s three theatre seminar programme its best to date. As well as top figures from the natural and organic world, there were fast-paced business-focused sessions, lively panel discussions, and crowd-pleasing cooking demos.
Highlights included two dedicated Soil Association sessions (also featuring the OTB); the Natural Health Beauty Awards ceremony; Amarjit Sahota, director of Organic Monitor, revealing exclusive consumer insights into natural and organic beauty buying behaviour; and organic pioneer Craig Sams outlining why 2015 is the UN International Year of the Soils (and what that means for our planet).
Jim Manson, editor of Natural Products News, was also discussing key retail trends, changing consumer behaviour, and the findings of ‘Health Check: Natural Products Retailing in 2014-15’ in the opening Keynote of the show.
According to Manson: “Health food store owners say that changing shopping habits – shopping more frequently and more locally – offer the biggest opportunity to boost footfall and revenues in coming years, while internet retailing currently presents the trade’s biggest threat.”
The findings form part of a newly published survey of independent natural products retailers carried out by Natural Products News, which asked retailers a set of 25 questions covering everything from sales revenue to footfall, refurbishment plans to favourite suppliers.
There are some striking changes in the data on customer age. For example, there is marked increase in customers in the 35-44 and 25-34 age groups, while the proportion of customers in the 55-75 bracket has fallen sharply.
Supplements and remedies meanwhile topped the list of product categories thought to offer most potential for growth, followed by free-from, vegan and vegetarian and bodycare.
The complete findings can be viewed at www.naturalproductsonline.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Natural-Products-News-Slides.pdf.
A full show review will be available in the May issue of Natural Products News.
Save the date for 2016
Looking ahead to 2016, around 60% of exhibition space has already been reserved, with many exhibiting companies having already requested to increase the size of their stands. To accommodate growing demand, organiser Diversified Communications UK has also revealed that exhibition space will be expanded next year.
Rebooked exhibitors include Eterno Naturals; Inika Cosmetics; Faith in Nature; Pravera; Montagne Jeunesse; John Masters Organics; Bathing Beauty; Zephorium; Urban Veda; Nature’s Plus UK; BioCare; Renew Life UK; Viridian Nutrition; Bio-Kult (Protexin); Phi energyDOTs; Humble Brush AB; Hifas da Terra; Better Naturally; Community Foods; Biolab Vegetarian & Vegan Organic Food; Clearspring; Earth Island and Marigold Health Foods.
Natural & Organic Products Europe includes three show sections: Natural Health & Living, Natural Beauty & Spa and The Natural Food Show. The next edition will take place on 17-18 April 2016 at ExCeL London. For more information, please visit www.naturalproducts.co.uk.
Exhibitor enquiries to:
Carol Dunning, Event Director
t: +44 (0)1273 645125 e: [email protected]
High resolution images are available upon request:
Diversified Communications UK Ltd (Diversified UK) is a fast growing trade event organiser and publisher based in Brighton, Peterborough, Leamington Spa, and Nailsworth, Glos. Diversified UK’s portfolio includes Natural & Organic Products Europe; Natural Products Scandinavia in Malmö, Sweden (co-located with Nordic Organic Food Fair); camexpo; Natural Products magazine; the Natural Beauty Yearbook; Casual Dining; lunch!; office*; SITS – The Service Desk & IT Support Show; Geo Business; Ocean Business (including Offshore Survey Conference & Ocean Careers); MARELEC Marine Electromagnetics conference in Philadelphia, USA; Euro Bus Expo; Coach and Bus Live; Best of Britain & Ireland; Route One; and Coach Monthly. For more information, visit: www.divcom.co.uk
Diversified UK is part of Diversified Communications, a leading international media company providing market access, education and information through global, national and regional face-to-face events, eMedia, publications and television stations. Diversified serves a number of industries including: seafood, food service, natural and organic, healthcare, commercial marine, and business management. Based in Portland, Maine, USA, Diversified employs over 800 staff, with divisions in the Eastern United States, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Thailand and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit: www.divcom.com