BioFach: The biggest meeting of the organic industry worldwide

Author: Kai Kreuzer

For the first time ever, this year the organizers are expecting a slight decline in the number of exhibitors and visitors. However, this downturn will in no way affect the great atmosphere that prevails in the exhibition halls. Instead of a Country of the Year, the focus is on a theme: Organic + Fair. The wealth of information presented in the congress continues to grow, the number of events having this year expanded to about 180, in contrast to the 100 – 120 just a few years ago. Simonetta Carbonaro (picture) from Italy will give the opening speech at BioFach and Vivaness in Nuremberg on Wednesday, 17.2.2010. Ms Carbonaro is a professor at the University of Boras in Sweden and an expert on consumption psychology, innovation management and strategic design management.


In a detailed interview with the publication Lebensmittelzeitung the professor, who is a critic of consumption, explained: “It’s not a question of abstinence. It is a question of a kind of restraint that represents a new confidence in the future. I have often paraphrased it as “a sober happiness”…in this sense, restraint has nothing to do with renunciation but has to do with fulfilment.” The following makes us prick up our ears: “We have to break the vicious circle of ‘hyper-consumption’. No longer more and more of what is basically always the same but a little less, and of the best.” (Picture: For the first time for many years, there is a fashion show for visitors to the fair)

Katherine DiMatteo (picture), President of the patron IFOAM, and Dr. Ulrich Maly, Lord Mayor of Nuremberg, will welcome the audience at the opening ceremony. Attendance is by invitation only. The presentation of the Sales Hit of the Year Awards takes place at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, 17.2.2010, in the Exhibition Centre, CCN Ost, level 1, Hongkong room. Some 2,500 companies present their products to visitors this year.

The special show Organic + Fair takes place at BioFach 2010 for the second time, this year in hall 5 with 50 exhibitors compared with 29 last year. An exhibitor’s declaration for each product explains the background and why the product is exhibited at Organic + Fair.
“Lots of people have been discussing our approach,” says Udo Funke, the head of BioFach and Vivaness, in a conversation with Organic-Market.Info. He is referring to the fact that BioFach requires organic certification from exhibitors in Organic + Fair but this is not the case with Fair Trade, where it is sufficient for a firm simply to state why certain products can be regarded as fair. Prior to BioFach, different views were expressed, who regard fair trade certification as essential. (Picture on left: Organic + Fair at BioFach)

The focus on fair trade is also reflected in the congress programme, with 14 events offered by the Fair & Ethical Trade Forum at NürnbergMesse from 17–20.2.2010.

Only later will we be able to judge the effect on business of holding the fair from Tuesday to Saturday instead of from Thursday to Sunday.  "After the last BioFach, we wrote to 1,400 visitors of importance for the specialist trade and asked them to fill in a questionnaire,” explains Udo Funke (picture). He says that around 10 % replied that they would not come if BioFach did not run until Sunday. The specialist trade committee had recommended holding the fair earlier in the week, mainly because the international exhibitors in particular did not get any visitors on Sundays and for this reason began dismantling their stands early. Also, German exhibitors had complained that many of the visitors on Sundays were non-specialists. Both groups wanted to use the Saturday evening or Sunday to get back home, before the new weeks starts.
(Picture on right: Head of BioFach Trade Fair Udo Funke on a fact-finding tour of an organic supermarket in Vienna)

The congress parallel to BioFach and Vivaness from 17–20.2.2010 offers a comprehensive programme of presentations again this year. With some 180 individual events and six different main sections, the congress reflects the issues that currently concern the sector and shows trends and developments. The various blocks of topics in the programme of presentations, which are given in German or English, are colour-coded for clarity: Vivaness, Fair & Ethical Trade, Fachhandelstag, Wine, Textile (picture: fashion show) and Catering Forums. Attendance at the congress is free. The complete programme is available in the fair journal or on the Internet. Some 8,000 visitors attended the congress last year.

The "ask" Internet database for  BioFach and Vivaness, which can also be found on the BioFach home page under “Product range”, covers 30 different categories from basic food to green finance. A list of all exhibitors is also available there. Users immediately obtain a list of the relevant companies by clicking one of the categories. Simply clicking the five-pointed star to the right of a company name adds the name to a list of companies to visit. This list can also be saved for a longer period if the user registers.

250 international wine exhibitors (picture) present their products at BioFach 2010, most of them in the Wine Hall (hall 4a). The wine segment has another highlight in store this year, when BioFach and MUNDUSvini/Meininger Verlag present the first MUNDUSvini BioFach International Organic Wine Award immediately after the opening ceremony.  Some 622 wines were tasted and judged by an international jury of 40 experts before the event. Judging is based on a 100-points system involving smell, taste and an individual scoring system in line with the standards of the OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine) and the National and International Union of Oenologists. Information about production, wine making, regulation etc. are available in the Wine Forum at the congress, with 15 seminars.

Eco-textiles are increasingly en vogue. At this year’s BioFach, attractive fashion shows take place two to four times a day on a catwalk in the Textil-Area. Each show will last 15–20 minutes and really boost the attractiveness of the eco-textiles display area. About 15 companies from the eco-fashion & natural textiles segment present their collections at the fashion show in hall 8. A short video about the fashion show during a press conference for last year’s BioFach and Vivaness is available on the Internet. (Picture on right: The Viennese eco label “Göttin des Glücks” - Godess of hapiness - presents its new collection to Udo Funke representing BioFach)

Four events are devoted to organic agriculture and marketing in Africa on Friday, 19.2.2010. Three to five speakers are scheduled for each of the topics. The speakers on the status of organic marketing in Sub-Saharan Africa include Charity Namuwoza from the Organic Association in Uganda, Nogamu, and organic shop owner Su Kahumbu from Green Dreams in Kenya. What governments can do to support the organic sector is discussed by Sophia Twarog, UNCTAD, Hervé Bouagnimbeck, IFOAM, Moses Muwanga, IFOAM World Board, and Aggrey Bagiire Henry, Ministry of Agriculture in Uganda.

Hot from the press for the opening of BioFach and Vivaness is a flyer with some 30 addresses of restaurants serving organic food in Nuremberg and the surrounding region. For many years it has been difficult for BioFach visitors to find somewhere to enjoy organic food after the exhibition. The flyer will be on display the whole year round at various places frequented by tourists. The initial circulation of the organic guide is 20,000. The flyer has been prepared with the support of NürnbergMesse, the Environment Department and Department for Economic Affairs in Nuremberg, and Bio-Innung e.V. As a result of the very constructive cooperation between all concerned, banners will be mounted in the Nuremberg city centre in future to attract more attention to organic during BioFach.

Natural personal care and wellness – a blossoming market. The top natural cosmetic events at Vivaness indicate a variety of questions. Which sales channels are particularly successful? Which labels and quality symbols are also catching on internationally? How can customers be retained, what trends are emerging? Find the answers to these and other questions at Vivaness, which takes place parallel to the world-leading exhibition BioFach again in 2010. Some 180 exhibitors look forward to seeing you.

The many stand parties organized by various exhibitors offer the opportunity for personal talks behind the scenes over an aperitif and a bite to eat. Others such as the Italian restaurant in hall 4-110 present hot music and a full dinner.
Many a conversation is held or new contacts made in the relaxed atmosphere from 6–9 p.m. on 18.2.2010. Besides the officially registered stand parties, there are a variety of smaller celebrations on individual stands which are only notified to the relevant customers. A list of some 20 events is available on the Internet.

A huge roof is being built over the entrance area to CNN Mitte, so that visitors can walk from the underground station without getting wet (picture on left). At the moment, however, you have to navigate right or left round the building site.


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