Natural beauty, culinary inspiration, successful meetings and much more! The Natural Products Scandinavia & Nordic Organic Food Fair, organized by Diversified Communications UK, that was held in Malmö on November 14-15 offered a great selection of the best products in eco-living, natural health, beauty, and certified organic food and drinks. With 500 exhibitors from around 50 countries showcasing their products and almost 5000 trade visitors, this is an important event for anyone working in the organic sector.
Some of Scandinavia’s biggest buyers, retailers and distributors attended the event, including Holland and Barrett, Life, Helsekost, Matas, Dansk Supermarket, IKEA, Arket (H&M), ICA, Axfood, Coop Trading, Netto, Lidl, Magasin du Nord, Orkla, Midsona and Total Produce.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase news and meet both new and existing customers. A trade fair for organic food and drink is a perfect fit for us,” said Therese Ranch from Camelina of Sweden.
Hevea was exhibiting their natural rubber products at the fair for the first time and the communications director Torben Hoffeldt was very pleased with the outcome.
“We have primarily focused on the toddler segment through our first 10 years,” explained Torben. “We have also had customers in the natural product segment, but we have not focused on it. Now the times and trends are ripe for major changes, which also directly affect our business model. The fair was a great experience for us. We met many new customers and colleagues from the industry.”
Nordic Organic Food Fair is the only event in the Nordic region, which is exclusively dedicated to certified organic food and drink and it is attended by food buyers and foodservice professionals from across Scandinavia interested in finding out about the latest trends and innovations from around the world. Hundreds of new products were launched at the show and visitors could vote for their favorite in several different categories. The winning innovations were presented by Johan Cejie, CEO of Moreganic Sourcing in a festive awards ceremony.
“The launch went very well,” according to the founder and CEO of Bärta, winner of the best New Organic Special Diet Food Product with their umami burger made from fermented peas. “We received an incredible response to the product. It was our first trade fair and we were mainly there to learn and see how our brand performed from an international perspective.”
Pioneer Biofood has exhibited at the fair in Malmö every year since it started. Marie Lavén, CEO at the trading firm said this year’s edition was as fantastic as in previous years, with the same warm and positive atmosphere, and the added benefit of a larger international audience. Biofood also won Best New Organic Drink Product for their new alcohol-free wine Fira.
“We think it's important to be here,” said Marie. “It's easy to meet with both customers, suppliers and other contacts. Many of our suppliers believe it's important to be here because they don’t only access Swedish retailers, but also retailers from other countries in the Nordic region, as well as the rest of Europe.”
Another new product launched this year was an organic "Glühwein" range made with Arctic ingredients from Maria of Lapland. “The Nordic Organic Food Fair covers quite nicely the geographical area we are targeting with our products,” said Saska Tuomasjukka, CEO, “We did meet quite a few companies that showed interest and ability to distribute our products. Therefore, we're quite happy with the results.”
Visitors eager to learn about the latest innovations, consumer trends and early predictions about the organic food industry had a great selection of world-class speakers to choose from during sessions on three different stages. Highlights included a research report on the Baltic region from Natural Products Global and Moreganic Sourcing, Ekoweb’s annual organic market report, Euromonitor International’s trends in health and wellness, Kosmetikk editor Kristine Rødland’s top beauty picks from the show floor, and Packbridge, a firm that delivered two sessions about sustainable packaging. One of the most popular theatre sessions was The Innovation Pitch Live with leading health and wellness retailer Holland & Barrett. Seven selected companies delivered their pitch live in front of a panel of Holland & Barrett judges and show visitors. The products and presentations were so impressive that instead of choosing two contestants like planned, the judges chose four!
“To win the pitch with Holland and Barret was a great step forward,” said Martin Chabb, owner and CEO of Ginger Diamonds. “Holland & Barrett is a very prestigious brand and for sure that will help other decision-makers to do a faster evaluation of our product. It is fantastic to have the opportunity to present our ginger snack in shops with such a long history and I expect to have very good sales with them.”
Other initiatives included the Nordic Organic & Natural Matchmaking Lounge with pre-arranged buyer-producer face to face meetings, the Eco-living Area and a Start-up zone.
This year’s show also had more country pavilions than ever before. Business Sweden, which recently developed the concept Try Swedish as an open invitation to taste and explore Sweden’s food culture, exhibited along with eleven Swedish food suppliers.
“We participated in The Nordic Organic Food Fair 2018 for the first time with Try Swedish as part of an effort to support organic exports,” said Elina Uebel, project manager for Try Swedish export program at Business Sweden. “We will be pleased if the companies are satisfied. At the moment, they are busy following up on leads, and it might take several months before seeing concrete results after a trade show. For many of the smaller companies, this was the first time they attended an international fair, so The Nordic Organic Food Fair has been the main opportunity for them to connect with new contacts, and test their products with a more international audience.”
Pavilions from ProChile, South Korea, China, Food’Loire (France), InterBio (France) and Enterprise Greece also joined for the first time. “I wanted to check out the Nordic market, and now I have a much better idea of the potential for my product,” said Andrew Sunghwan Pyun, CEO of the Korean company Natureganic Seowon Corporation.
Michalis Georgaras, founder and sales manager at Aethelon, agreed that it is a good opportunity to expand the business in the Nordic region. “This very well-organized event provided us with many communication and networking tools to facilitate B2B contacts,” said Michalis. The educational presentations and discussions helped us gain insight into current organic and sustainable food trends. We also had the opportunity to exchange information and experience with organic farmers from other countries.”
Event organizer, Diversified Communications UK, has revealed that Natural Products Scandinavia has a new brand and visual identity which will be known moving forward as Eco Life Scandinavia. In 2019 Eco Life Scandinavia and the Nordic Organic Food Fair returns to MalmöMässan on 13-14 November.
The organic market in the Nordic countries as well as around the world continues to grow. This is not only great news for the planet but an excellent business opportunity, which is why events such as this is an important and inspirational platform for the organic industry.