The Soil Association’s chief executive Helen Browning, leading nutritionist Patrick Holford, Craig Sams, co-founder of Green & Black’s, and Peter Aldis, managing director of the Holland & Barrett Group, are just a few of the big industry names confirmed to host Keynotes at this year’s Natural & Organic Products Europe trade show, taking place on 1-2 April at Olympia, London.
Throughout the show’s 16-year history, Natural & Organic Products Europe has done much to champion the role of independent retailers within the natural products, health food and organic sectors. Whilst the market has changed significantly over that time, with more big multiples and international retailers now stocking natural, organic, biodynamic, fair trade, artisan and sustainable products than ever, independent retailers across the UK play an essential part in continuing to ensure that consumers can enjoy a balanced – and differentiated – shopping experience. Given that representatives from around 70% of the UK’s 1100 independent health stores, along with thousands of smaller organic shops and regional chains, visited the event last year, the show’s free Keynotes programme is renowned for its wealth of knowledge-based content aimed specifically at these specialist retailer groups. This year is no exception, with 2012’s event promising a host of seasoned experts providing up-to-date information on key trends and best market practices.
The show’s opening Keynote on Sunday 1 April sets the scene for an action-packed two days with a call to action aimed at inspiring independent retailers to become community retailing champions in their own towns. ‘The High Street Fights Back’ (11.30am-12.30pm) will feature panellists Andres Simms (author of ‘Tescopoly’ and ‘Clone Town Britain’ and policy director at the New Economics Foundation), award-winning investigative food journalist Joanna Blythman (author of ‘Shopped’, ‘Bad Food Britain’, and ‘What to Eat’, due to be published in March 2012), and journalist Elisabeth Winkler (founder of the Real Food Lover blog), adding their views to the ongoing debate on the future of retailing and the importance of securing a level playing field for community retailers.
Continuing the theme, the opening Keynote on Monday 2 April sees two industry stalwarts – Jeff Martin, managing director of organic supermarket chain As Nature Intended, and Peter Aldis, managing director of the Holland & Barrett Group, talking about their plans for taking health food retailing to the next level in ‘Health food retailing – but not as you know it’ (11.30am-12.30pm). Whilst ‘Trending Now’ (also on Monday 2 April, 1.45-2.30pm) – provides an interactive Q&A forum aimed at unraveling up-to-the-minute industry trends, with Craig Sams (co-founder of Green & Black’s), Planet Organic beauty buyer Al Overton, Patrick Holford (Britain’s leading spokesperson on nutrition in the media), and organic food consultant Simon Wright.
Regular speaker at the show, Patrick Holford will also be appearing, alongside his co-writer medical health journalist Jerome Burne, in a Keynote on ‘Surfing the silver tsunami’ (Sunday 1 April, 12.45-1.30pm). In this live interview session they’ll be answering questions about their new book ‘The 10 Secrets of Healthy Ageing: How to live longer, look younger and feel great’ (due to be published just days after the show), which seeks to explain how cutting edge nutritional science can help millions of people stay healthy into old age.
“Our book isn’t about how to reach 120 but how to arrive at the end of a normal life span in as healthy a state as possible,” said Burne, talking in a recent interview with Natural Products magazine’s editor Jim Manson.
With the London 2012 Olympics now just months away, sports nutrition is brought to the fore in Dr Justin Roberts’s Keynote ‘Connecting nutrition and performance – lessons learned from Sahara and beyond’ (Sunday 1 April, 1.45-2.30pm). Given the significant growth in the UK’s sports nutrition market over the last few years, as more ‘mainstream’ consumers choose to follow a healthier lifestyle, this is a timely session for visiting retailers looking to expand their knowledge of a category; which according to Euromonitor is projected to worth £312 million by 2015 (source: Sports Nutrition in the United Kingdom report, April 2011).
A new speaker for 2012, Dr Roberts has worked at the British Olympic Medical Centre, was performance nutrition adviser to the England football squad, and is currently a senior lecturer/researcher in Performance Nutrition at the University of Hertfordshire. A firm believer in putting his own methods to the test, he recently undertook the infamous Marathon Des Sables (known as the ‘Toughest Footrace on Earth’) – a grueling 150-mile race across the Sahara Desert.
Helen Browning, the Soil Association’s chief executive, will also be adding Natural & Organic Products Europe speaker duties to her – already impressive – résumé. Awarded an OBE for her services to organic farming in 1998, Browning (the name behind the Helen Browning’s Organic brand) took up the post of director of Britain’s lead organic body just over a year ago. Known for her a “common sense” approach to organic farming, this candid ‘in conversation’ session, with food journalist Joanna Blythman, will also include key insights and findings from this year’s Soil Association Organic Market Report (Monday 2 April, 12.45-1.30pm).
“The Soil Association has been a major industry supporter of Natural & Organic Products Europe over the years, so we’re delighted to welcome Helen Browning to this year’s show,” says event director Simon Barry. “Helen’s a true organic pioneer in every sense of the word. Known across the industry for her views on the importance of making organic food more ‘accessible to everyone’ and for promoting sustainable, resource-efficient farming methods – she’s a key spokesperson for many of our exhibitors and visitors at the show.”
Natural & Organic Products Europe – Europe’s biggest showcase of natural, organic, Fairtrade, free-from and eco-friendly products, will return to Olympia, London, on 1-2 April, with over 600 exhibitors. The event is free to attend for pre-registered trade visitors. Register now, and be kept fully up-to-date with all the latest news and exhibitor information (please quote priority code NPE12050).
Exhibitor enquiries to:
Simon Barry, Event Director
t: 44 (0)1273 645125 e: [email protected]