Natural & Organic Products Europe April 2019

A Bright Future for Organics!

Note: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and editors of WholeFoods Magazine.


Organic, natural, ethical, vegan, sustainable and eco-friendly are all widely used terms you’ll see at this weekend’s trade show for buyers of natural and organic products Natural & Organic Products Europe 2019. Located at ExCel London this weekend, with an expected attendance of 10,000 industry decision makers, the event will offer a variety of educational and promotional events including:

  1. A natural foods show, “The future of food,” featuring seminars on organic fair-trade, the vegan/plant-based movement, the agricultural and environmental impact of organic with input from the UK Soil Association as well as live demos and new product launches. Featured speakers include the Sam’s brothers, credited with opening the UK’s first macrobiotic restaurant and natural food shop, both esteemed founders of the UK’s natural foods movement. The impact of Brexit as well as ‘organic’* GMOs will be discussed.
  2. A natural “clean/green” beauty and spa show will offer diverse seminar topics e.g. renewing your skin from the inside out, sustainable/renewable cosmetic packaging and plastics regulations, UK and global cosmetic market trends and the newest in ethical natural beauty products.
  3. A natural health show featuring global trends in natural and organic, application of herbal remedies for preventative health care, responsible packaging, the conscious consumer** live demos and the newest innovations in natural health.
  4. A natural living show featuring the newest products and innovations for natural living including natural cleaning, dishwashing and laundry products, sustainable bamboo fibre cups, activated charcoal toothpaste, sustainable fibre fitness wear, reusable produce bags made from organic cotton, beeswax food wraps, aroma diffusers and more.

Show Description Definitions

*Organic GMOs?

According to the seminar blurb “genetic engineering techniques promise to be closer to natural plant breeding than ever and there are some who believe that genetic modification has a role to play in the future of organic agriculture.” Coming to a conclusion which is rather shocking and does not make sense to long time GMO activists, this seminar considers whether the underlying philosophies of GMOs are in harmony with those of organic? “Would farmers and the public ever accept such a change? What are the implications for the USPs of organic brands?” According to the show program, this session brings together experts in farming, plant breeding and organic business to fathom the implications.

** Conscious Consumers

According to the UK Soil Association ‘ethical’, ‘conscious’ and ‘mindful’ describe a much greater percentage of today’s shoppers. Many consumers want to do the right thing by making choices which do not harm the environment or society as a whole. For example, consumers may make dietary and purchase decisions which support climate change, environmental and animal welfare. These choices may have a strong effect on market trends.

UK Natural & Organic Market Trends

Record market growth in the UK organic sector make the London location of this years Natural & Organic Products Europe show an ideal choice. With headlines boasting a record level rise of organic food and drink sales, UK organic sales rose by 6% to a record £2.3 billion in 2018. Researchers have suggested that home deliveries and sales via independent outlets are the largest drivers. However mainstream supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi are also boasting record organic food sales. According to recent surveys including the UK Soil Association’s ‘Organic Market Report’ 30% of all UK organic sales now take place online. Although the organic sales may seem modest in comparison to the overall UK food and drink sector whose annual sales total more than £112 billion, the rise in organic sales remains significant. Supermarket organic sales went up 4.2% to £1.5 billion, whereas independent shops including health food stores, farm shops, deli and fancy food stores, as well as retailers like Planet Organic and Whole Food Markets experienced a growth rate of 9.7% sales increase. Home delivery services went up by 9.5% to 286 million. The reports say that consumers are also buying more organic non-food items including beauty products (24% rise in sales) and textiles (25% rise in sales).

According to the UK Soil Association, shoppers seem to be putting a greater value on transparency and traceability when choosing organic products. Organic guarantees those values and is seen by consumers as ‘the healthy, ethical choice’ with regard to both nutrition and environmental impact. Consumer demand is also fueling UK organics in the catering and restaurant categories with significant sales growth in these areas as well.


Implications for UK Organics

Simply defined, Brexit is an abbreviation for “British exit” and refers to the UK’s 2016 decision to leave the European Union (EU). The decision had and continues to have an effect on global markets and trade. When considering the implications for UK organics, experts feel that Brexit could cause unnecessary delays in UK organic global trade which may be detrimental to organic businesses wishing to sell outside of the UK. However, other industry pundits feel that future trade agreements resulting from Brexit negotiations could create greater opportunities for UK agriculture to step forward as a global leader in food safety and environmental/sustainable standards.

When all is said and done, this year’s Natural & Organic Products Europe Show forecasts a bright future for UK organics as well as continued EU trade and cooperative agreements. If you are in the vicinity, pop in and enjoy the show!