The 17th annual Natural & Organic Products Europe trade event, organised by Diversified UK, has today announced record breaking attendance figures for its 2013 edition, which took place at London’s Olympia on 7-8 April. With 8,810 industry professionals from 76 different countries packing the aisles over the two days, the show enjoyed an unparalleled 20% increase in unique attendees (excluding revisits) compared to 7,352 in 2012.

chazConfirming its position as the leading European show for both the natural and organic sectors (including health care, food and beauty), the significant surge in visitor numbers – which included buyers from Boots, Amazon, John Bell & Croyden, Waitrose, Ocado, NBTY Europe, Harrods, Abel & Cole, Superdrug, Planet Organic, Whole Foods Market, Tesco, Spar, Selfridges, Marks & Spencer, Asda, Fenwick, Graze, Harvey Nichols, and, plus thousands of independent retailers and foodservice buyers, distributors, wholesalers and exporters – has led many exhibiting companies to rightly hail the 2013 show as its most successful ever. And, as a result, over 50% of exhibitors have already rebooked for next year – when Natural & Organic Products Europe returns to Olympia’s Grand Hall on 13-14 April 2014.

Carol Dunning, who took over as Natural & Organic Products Europe’s event manager last year, is delighted with the phenomenal feedback the show has inspired so far: “Having just had the best attendance in the show’s 17-year history, it proves that the natural and organic industries are getting stronger and becoming more mainstream than ever before. Consumers are showing increasing awareness of the benefits of following a natural and healthy lifestyle, and this sector is reacting to that demand. We had a record number of innovative launches this year and the hall was packed with knowledge-aware retailers and buyers – I must say I’m excited about the future for this hardworking industry!”

Exhibitor Angela Walker, sales director at Viridian Nutrition, was equally upbeat in praising the “fantastic energy” at this year’s show. Whilst Martin Greaves, sales director at Natupharma UK commented: “I have been in the industry for 15 years and this is the best trade show I have ever done!”

“We’ve developed more leads at Natural & Organic Products Europe 2013 than 4 days spent at Biofach!” said Natracare’s Sophie Ottoway. “We have met buyers from health stores, pharmacies and have developed international contacts from UK to Pakistan and Eastern Europe to Scandinavia. We re-booked on the first day of the show!”

“Fantastic show. It confirmed to me just how much you need to put yourself in front of the trade,” said Soo Cieszynska, sales & managing director at Global By Nature (t/a Xynergy Health Products). “As well as seeing 99% of our existing retail customers, I’ve got a big pile of business cards from new retailers – well over 70. How else are you do that in 16 hours?”

“For a brand new company and first time exhibitor at the show, we have not been disappointed. It’s been a great way for us to make that first contact with some big companies, such as Boots. Exciting times ahead!” enthused Louise Taylor, co-founder of Purition, echoing the sentiments of many new exhibitors, such as Little Big Shot, Perkier Foods, Am-Aromatherapy Labs, Decollogne, Hodmedods, and House of Sarunds, who all left glowing testimonials about the quality of buyers that the show had attracted.

Richard Anderson, product manager at The Health Store was just one of thousands of visitors who left Natural & Organic Products Europe with a host of new business contacts: “There is a really positive vibe this year, some great new and interesting products and it’s also been great to catch up with existing suppliers. I’ve been coming to the show for 9 years and think it’s the best show yet!”

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 297 entries for 2013, showcase visitors cast over 1200 votes for their favourites on Sunday 7 April. The winning exhibitors were presented with their trophies by BBC wildlife presenter Michaela Strachan at the industry’s prestigious Natural and Organic Awards later that night. This year’s winning products included Little Big Shot by Little Big Shot Energy (drink); Organic Sea Salted Dry Cured Rasher by Friland Økologi FMBA (organic food); Coyo Mango Coconut Milk Yogurt by Marigold Health Foods Limited (special diet); Rawlicious Raw Kale Chips by Inside Organics (food); Palm Leaf Retail Pack by The Wholeleaf Co (natural living & home); SOLGAR 7 by Solgar Vitamins (VMS); and Nourishing Brightener by Pukka Herbs (natural beauty & spa).

Renowned for its exceptional show content, it wasn’t just the exhibition floor that was buzzing at Natural & Organic Products Europe. The show’s highly anticipated sessions in the Natural Food Kitchen, Natural Beauty & Spa Theatre (sponsored by Kinetic Natural Products Distributor) and Natural Products Live! were all well attended, with many enjoying standing room only crowds.  Notable highlights included top chef Raymond Blanc, who explained the provenance of his Pertwood Organic products and took the time to meet and greet many members of the audience; plus Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher, who was revealing the philosophy behind his new Intelligent Nutrients range.

“The Natural Food Show was magnificent and very well attended,” said Blanc. “I think more and more the consumer is looking at ethics to make their own choices. The consumer is critical and more demanding, wanting to know what is in his food and where it comes from. This show responds to these demands. I had great joy participating with Pertwood at this event.”

“We’re finally realising we have to change our lifestyle, change our consumer habits and change our manufacturing habits. Time is running out,” Rechelbacher said, “Organic is one of the best economic models of the future. Consumers are realising that it is better for everyone.”

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