Natural & Organic Products Europe, ExCel London, 7th & 8th April 2019
I’ve been going to Natural & Organic Products Europe for many years now, but currently having numerous branding projects within the sector and also the privilege to be a Natural & Organic Awards Europe judge I thought I should invest time at the show to truly get to grips with this rapidly expanding exhibition.
With 700 exhibitors showcasing the best choice of natural and organic products to hit the market I knew the show was going to bring in a crowd. One of the immediately noticeable differences compared to previous years however, was the buzz and air of enthusiasm in the room. Exhibition stand holders looked happy and excited for the days to come and so they should be in a sector with such growth and potential.
For a Sunday at a trade show I was surprised to see so many people in the aisles. People wandering stand to stand with a genuine interest in the products and for the most part looked there to do business – and of course sample a few tasty treats along the way. It has been reported that the total attendance was 10,298 across the two days – up 3% on 2018’s figures.
As predicted the vegan section of the show was crammed full of people in search of new innovative products, as I heard one person explain, ‘that doesn’t taste of plastic’. From my perspective at least there was a very obvious improvement in the quality of vegan products, even from last year. Some of the confectionery showcased was tasty, but the big winner for me was Happy Cheeze, vegan cheese made from cashews – seriously delicious compared to any cheese, let alone a vegan alternative.
Being a judge gave me a great insight into industry trends and the latest innovations. It also provided a brilliant opportunity to listen to and questions my fellow judges on particular products and their opinions on industry topics. One thing it did highlight was the new products that are launching are good, very good in fact, but still many are failing on one critical thing, communicate what their product is and what makes it different.
There are definitely some beautiful brand identity and packaging designs, but still so many are clearly yet to identify a clear proposition and their brands are suffering because of it. Nice design alone does not make a successful brand! This failing by so many therefore leaves massive potential for many to differentiate and make a huge impact.
Overall I found Natural & Organic Products Europe to be one of the most buzzing and insightful trade shows I’ve ever attended and I can’t wait to see how the sector grows in the next year.