BioFach 2012: industry get-together becoming even more international

Author: Kai Kreuzer/Karin Heinze

You can’t beat BioFach for variety and flair: with 2,420 exhibitors, the world trade fair for organic products and natural cosmetics presented an overwhelming range of brands and products. Around 40,000 visitors, including many VIPs from the political world and armies of journalists, gained an insight into the positive development of the industry and its new products. The trend to more international exhibitors continued this year, with 70 % coming from abroad. The proportion of international visitors was 41 % and they came to BioFach from 130 countries across the globe. With 150 events, the BioFach Congress was once again a first-class source of information. NürnbergMesse had fine-tuned the concept of this year’s fair and presented a number of new attractions, including a coffee tasting bar, the fish market (tasting and gastronomy) and the Specialist Trade Forum plus club at a new location. The flair of India as Country of the Year pervaded the exhibition halls. (Picture: India’s stand with dancers)

 

At BioFach, you always quickly get the feeling of belonging to a big worldwide industry, but also of being a “family”. This was the impression visitors got when they were welcomed by young women dressed in saris who stuck a red spot on their foreheads. Welcome to BioFach, welcome to “The Organic World”! As you walk around the exhibition halls you keep coming across human warmth between the people in the industry and fair dealings between business partners. What you also find is openness with regard to information in the Congress events that continue to be the outstanding expression of the qualities of BioFach. Visitors from 130 countries represent the worldwide organic movement and in just a few hours, you can travel right round the world – from Europe to Africa, then to India or Asia, South America and the USA. You’re impressed not only by tastes from around the world but by the stand concepts and, of course, the people you meet. For example, this year many people stopped at the stand of Brazil and looked in amazement (picture at top on left) – bowled over by the huge pictures of butterflies, exotic birds and reptiles that were a graphic demonstration the biodiversity of this planet. (Picture: Many stands were extremely generous with their samples - helping yourself to hot tea on the Yogi tea stand)

India arrived with a large delegation. Firms from the aspiring organic market in India were present on the joint stand in Hall 5 and in the Textile Area in Hall 8. The Country of the Year has decidedly ambitious plans concerning the expansion of organically managed land and of the market. The central government and the government in a number of federal states are committed to organic and they want to drive forward not only production and processing but also exports and expansion of the domestic market. For India’s organic industry BioFach was a welcome opportunity to tell people what they were striving to achieve and also to demonstrate the variety of interesting products that the country offers. Very pleased with the way the fair went were Mukesh Gupta from the Morarka Foundation, that is very important for the organic sector in India, Manoj Menon from the organic association ICCOA and the entrepreneur Raj Selaam, from Sresta, who as well as developing the chain 24 Lettered Mantra is also already selling organics in Europe. (Picture on left: Visitor entrance at NCC Ost)

The east European markets were introduced at the lunch for the specialist international press that is held every year for about 80 journalists. The focus was on developments in Poland and Hungary in particular, the reason being the new cooperation with EkoConnect regarding the Organic Marketing Forum. At the press conference, the wholefood chain Organic Farma Zdrowia , that now has 21 stores, was introduced. The last store (270 m²) was opened six months ago. In 2011, the company achieved turnover of 20 million euros. (Picture on right: German News reported the opening of BioFach with a detailed report and an interview with Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein from BÖLW)

Fair trade and BioFach are likewise a team. Dieter Overath (picture on left), the managing director of Transfair, was delighted with the high number of fair trade licence partners (130) attending this year’s BioFach. He also spoke about the 20th anniversary of Transfair . He said that in just a few years fair trade turnover had risen by a factor of eight to 400 Million euros. Two out of three fair-labelled food items come from organic production. At the press conference, Overath showed a new film about tea cultivation in India. He castigated the continuing poverty in the world: “Poverty is the greatest enemy of the environment, because resources like fire wood are used ineffectively.” In his lecture, Transfair’s managing director also dealt with the main fair trade product, namely coffee. Since the growing trend is for coffee to go, Transfair now supplies 2, 500 bakeries with the tasty brown beans. “We sell twice as much coffee per bakery as in a supermarket.”

(Pictures: Reception of EOCC, the umbrella organization of organic inspection agencies; in middle: Lots of visitors in the Bioland Restaurant; on right: The managing director of IFOAM Markus Arbenz lends a hand serving guests during the Hall party evening. The next IFOAM plenary will be in Istanbul in 2014)

Since many countries are already represented by exhibitors at BioFach, it is getting increasingly difficult to find new participants. “After coming to BioFach for several years as visitors the time was right for a stand of our own,” said Tom Hsiao (picture on right, in the middle) from Taiwan. He is the publisher of the very well presented magazine Organic Lifestyle, 70 % of which is aimed at consumers and 30 % at specialist readers. It has a printrun of 20,000 and appears in Chinese, with 200 copies being sent to the People’s Republic of China. The 40 m² stand was set up with the support of the government and in collaboration with several manufacturers and an organic inspection organization.

The majority of exhibitors interviewd, although not all, were very happy with BioFach 2012. “We’ve been able to arrange new business, and we’ve met our old customers again,” said Annelies und Peter Timmermann, organic flower growers from Holland. Every year, the couple sell about 800,000 bulbs under the label Ecobulbs (picture). Half are shipped to Germany and half go to Holland, Austria, Switzerland and a number of other countries. They supply wholefood wholesalers, garden centres, wholefood stores and other retailers. The atmosphere was particularly good in Hall 9 among the young innovative companies, some of which are being supported by the Ministry of Economics and Technology. The firm Mammas &Pappas was delighted to receive the New Product Award for the vegan icecream creation “Glück am Stiel” and to be visited by a large number of wholesalers.

As in the past, the fashion shows held several times a day attracted a lot of visitors (picture). This year there was a joint show with 13 European fashion labels and an Indian show with seven eco-fashion manufacturers.

The two new special areas, fish tasting in Hall 6 (picture on left) and the coffee tasting station (in the transfer area to the Wine Hall 4a) were well received. Both visitors and exhibitors were very pleased with the idea of letting people taste and compare products. At the fish stands you could buy bigger portions too for lunch.
Coffee Tasting is the sign above the tasting zone in the transfer area between NCC Ost and the Wine Hall 4a. Every day during the four-day fair hundreds of visitors sample the ten varieties of organic coffee. The tasting was organized by the coffee roasters Rösttrommel in Nuremberg. Little Espresso coffees without sugar and milk from two identical machines are there to allow visitors to compare, something they can’t do if they are tasting coffee at different stands and made with different machines. (Picture on right: Expert advice at the new coffee bar)

The area devoted to the Specialist Trade Forum was redesigned this year after its location in the Nürnberg Congress Center (NCC) was felt to be off the beaten track. This year, the lectures were held at the edge of Hall 9 in a cordoned-off area. With various topics dealing with calculation, margins, advanced training, King Customer, and current trends in product ranges, visitors came in to take a seat and listen. In a one-and-a-half-hour event, Neuform recounted new and well known information from its 125 year history in the health food business. The reform of Neuform, which insiders are calling a re-formation of the company, was praised by Rainer Plum (picture) and Timo Renz, because it – principally through the new Wieselhuber concept – had given the health food business a modern and up-to-date image. "Our launch on the internet is very lively," said Renz about Neuform.de. He is from the consultancy Wieselhuber that is responsible for advising Neuform. He said that for a good three months they had also been operating an attractive internet shop to supplement the local health food stores.

Regrettably, the world trade fair for organic products recorded a significant fall in visitor numbers this year. The main reason may well have been insufficient preparatory work – last year, publicity for BioFach was changed from print and online to the internet alone at www.biofach.de  and http://oneco.biofach.de. The successful trade fair magazine with a circulation of 180,000 copies that were sent to 160 countries was discontinued after 20 years. This could now turn out to be a boomerang. Added to this, the increasing competition in Germany from BioNord and BioSüd is playing a more significant role. (Picture on left: Bioland carried out a cookery competition that was keenly followed by the public near the Bioland restaurant called Biotoque)

Tipp: www.biofach.de

22.02.2012

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