Natural & Organic Products Europe 2014 bid farewell to London’s Olympia in style this month, with its biggest ever edition securing another record turnout. Organised by Diversified Communications UK, the two-day annual trade show welcomed 9,503 industry professionals from 77 countries through its doors over 13-14 April.
Now in its 18th year, the sold out show featured 550 exhibiting companies and enjoyed an 8% increase in total unique attendees (excluding revisits) compared to 8,810 in 2013 (a 30% increase since 2012). Significantly, the surge in footfall has been backed by glowing testimonials from across the show floor.
“There couldn’t have been a better way to say goodbye to Olympia than with an excellent show packed full of interesting new products, great networking opportunities and a vibrant atmosphere,” commented Richard Anderton, a buyer from leading wholesaler The Health Store and a frequent visitor to Natural & Organic Products Europe.
“It was really busy and there were lots of new and interesting products that I want to take on,” agreed Sally Eveleigh, owner of Toucan Foods, which was recently named Best Independent Retailer at The Natural and Organic Awards 2014. “As per usual I didn’t manage to get round it all – but that’s a good thing! I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
“The array of new products from around the world was dazzling. Walking around the stands was like taking a mini world-trip, travelling from Italy, through Russia and onto Greece in a few short steps. It was an amazingly positive experience,” said Jane Clempner from LoveLula (winner of Best Online Retailer in The Natural Health Beauty Awards 2014).
Renowned for attracting top buyers from across the health, nutrition, beauty, natural living, and food and drink categories, the show’s aisles were packed with a ‘“who’s who” of the sector – including buyers from Ocado, Amazon, Wholefoods Market, Planet Organic, NBTY Europe, Waitrose, Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Boots, BaxterStorey, John Bell & Croyden, Marks & Spencer, Superdrug, BigGreenSmile, Naturisimo, Fenwick, Harvey Nichols, The Body Shop, TK Maxx, Abel & Cole, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Fresh & Wild, Pret A Manger, Tesco, Carrefour, Biocoop and De Tuinen; plus thousands of independent retailers and foodservice buyers, distributors, wholesalers and importers.
Carol Dunning, Natural & Organic Products Europe’s event manager, is delighted with the phenomenal feedback the show has inspired so far: “From the moment the doors opened this year, the aisles were full and the enthusiasm and excitement was energising. We are delighted that so many exhibitors, and visitors, are calling this year’s edition their best show yet – so we really couldn’t ask for a better result!”
“We’ve had a fabulous two days. I haven’t left my stand all day – that’s how busy it’s been,” said Soo Cieszynska, sales & managing director at Global By Nature. “And most importantly, we’ve made so many great new contacts.”
“This show has been the busiest I’ve known,” said Mike Batten, director of Venture Foods.
“We’ve been mobbed since the moment we opened the stand. This event has been transformational, if we hadn’t of come here, I don’t see how we could have launched in England at all,” said Oz Garcia.
“It’s been incredibly successful. We’re launching in thousands of stores thanks to this show. We fully intend coming back next year and every year thereafter – it’s been a great show for us,” said Jessica Mulligan, VP sales & marketing at NeoCell Corporation.
New Product Showcase
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 record total of 320 entries for 2014 (up 8% from 2013), showcase visitors voted for their favourites on Sunday 13 April. The winning exhibitors were presented with their trophies by TV presenter Julia Bradbury at the industry’s prestigious Natural and Organic Awards later that night.
This year’s winning products included Vanilla Choc Chip Protein Bar by Pulsin’ (food); beond Raw Organic Blueberry Bar by Pulsin (organic food); CoYo Coconut Yoghurt Vanilla distributed by Marigold Health Foods (special diet); Oi Ocha by Unione Trading UK (drink); Red Yeast Rice 600mg by Natures Aid (health & nutrition); NeoCell Keratin Hair Volumizer by NeoCell Corporation (natural beauty & spa); and Children’s Strawberry Toothpaste by Kingfisher Natural Toothpaste (natural living & home).
Big name speakers draw in the crowds
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 health world, such as Patrick Holford and Dr Marilyn Glenville – each pulling in big crowds – there were fast-paced business-focused sessions, lively panel discussions, and a tour de force of a talk from organic and Fairtrade pioneer Craig Sams.
Other notable highlights included Natural Food Kitchen sessions from Barny Haughton, Dale Pinnock – The Medicinal Chef, who was joined by ITV’s Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley, and cookery writer Jane Hughes, and The Vegan Society’s Ambassador actress Roxy Shahidi.
Thanks to an exciting new partnership with the Natural Health Magazine Beauty Awards for 2014, the show’s Natural Beauty & Spa Theatre also played host to the Natural Health Beauty Awards ceremony for the first time. Many Natural & Organic Products Europe exhibitors were among the lucky winners, including Antipodes (Kinetic Natural Products Distributor), Urban Veda, Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps (Kinetic Natural Products Distributor), Green People, and Madara (Australis).
Next stop ExCeL London
The record-breaking attendance was complemented by a 20% rise in international visitors, plus an 11% increase in exhibition space compared to 2013 (filling the venue to capacity for the first time). Whilst the show’s on-site exhibitor rebookings were equally impressive, with around 40% of exhibitors demonstrating their continued support for the growth of the show by reserving stand space for 2015 at the new venue of the ExCeL London.
Summing up his exhibitor experience Bob Parker, business development director at G&G Food Supplies, says: “I think it was really the best show we have ever done…anywhere – and a good one to leave Olympia on. Everyone at G&G is looking forward to next year at Excel.”