Record breaker: Natural & Organic Products Europe sees 10% increase in attendees

Last month’s Natural & Organic Products Europe saw a record 10,226 total attendees from 86 countries pass through its doors over the two-day event.

Thanks to a 10% increase in attendees for 2016, the 20th anniversary edition played host to the biggest trade showcase (and celebration) of the natural and organic industry that the UK has ever seen. Over 650 companies exhibited at the show, promoting natural, organic, fair trade, free-from, vegan, and vegetarian brands from 46 countries.  The central exhibition was complemented with a packed programme of seminars and live cooking demonstrations.

Amazing, impressive, inspiring, engaging, exceptional, and enjoyable – are just a few of the words attendees have used to describe the show so far; with around 89% of surveyed visitors rating their experience as excellent/good (3 out of 4 visitors said excellent/very good).

“What an awesome show, it seemed like the whole industry turned out!” says event director Carol Dunning.  “There was so much excitement and anticipation before the show even opened this year, which just continued throughout the two days.  The aisles were packed with thousands of knowledge-aware retailers and buyers ready to do business, and many of our exhibitors have had their best show ever.

Big name buyers pack the aisles
Representatives from many of UK’s major supermarkets and multiples, specialist retailers, wholesalers and distributors, pharmacies, restaurants and contract caterers, hotels, salons and spas, and independent health food stores, were in attendance.

Among them were well-known brands like Whole Foods Market, Planet Organic, Holland & Barrett, Boots, Waitrose, Tesco, Ocado, Aldi, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Amazon, Superdrug, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Infinity Foods, Harrods, Costco Wholesale, The Health Store, Wholefoods Wholesale, TK Maxx, Abel & Cole, EAT, CLF Distribution, Suma, Revital, Fenwick, Love Lula, Naturisimo, Cult Beauty, Victoria Health, The Organic Pharmacy, BigGreenSmile, The Hut Group, LloydsPharmacy, Whitworth Chemists, Hilton Worldwide, Metropolitan Pub Group, Sodexo, Compass Group, Carrefour, and Life Europe AB.

As in previous years, the show also attracted a large contingent of international buyers (up 23% on 2015).

“What a tremendous show!  Natural & Organic Products Europe has all the variety and diversity that our team is looking for, all in one place.  It’s the best show of the year for discovering exciting new natural and organic products and suppliers,” says Benjamin Woodgate, marketing director at Whole Foods Market UK.

“Newness is crucial to our business, and nowhere in the UK is there more innovation that is relevant to my business than this show,” says Al Overton, head of buying at Planet Organic.

“Newness is crucial to our business, and nowhere in the UK is there more innovation that is relevant to my business than this show”

“Another fantastic year at Natural & Organic Products Europe, bringing together some great brands and innovation that really help to drive our businesses.  The seminars, panels, theatres and kitchens really stepped it up this year, creating lots of buzz and giving great insights into our exciting industry,” says Lucy Pottinger, head of category – beauty & aromatherapy at Holland & Barrett International.

“I was able to reconnect with current suppliers and start some really exciting conversations with new brands, which I’m looking forward to following up on over the coming months.  It’s definitely a must-attend in my diary for next year!” says first-time visitor Kerry Buckley, ROI buying manager – positive healthcare at Boots Ireland.

“Natural & Organic Products Europe is the highlight of the year in the natural beauty industry, and 2016 was no exception.  It was a great opportunity to talk to existing suppliers and there were so many new, innovative brands that we’re excited to start working with!” says Sonia White, managing director of LoveLula.

“What a great way to help Natural & Organic Products Europe celebrate 20 years.  Building on last year’s move to ExCeL, this year was even more vibrant and diverse, with a positive vibe throughout, proving once again that it is the go-to show for all of the buyers in the natural sector,” says Richard Anderton, product manager (buyer) at The Health Store.

“It was a great show.  I found fantastic new brands and made some good new contacts,” says Niall Power, buyer at John Bell & Croyden / LloydsPharmacy.

“If you only attend one trade show a year, it has to be Natural & Organic Products Europe,” says Randi Henderson, partner at Elixir Health Foods.

“I have been attending the show for 15 years, and the 2016 show was excellent.  As a natural products retailer, Natural & Organic Products Europe is the one event of the year that must take priority on the calendar, as it encompasses so much in two days,” says Ursula Gothard, owner of On the Eighth Day.

“Values are really important to our beauty offer.  Natural & Organic Products Europe gave us the opportunity to meet the people behind the products, understand what their brand stands for and what makes them different from other products available.  It also allowed us to see the latest trends and inspiring products to add to the comprehensive natural and organic ranges we already stock,” says Mark Steele, beauty buyer at Waitrose.

Over 650 innovative suppliers
As its biggest edition yet, Natural & Organic Products Europe launched thousands of new natural and organic products – including supplements, botanicals, superfoods, personal care and beauty, eco-household, and food and drink – onto the European market.

Show features included new pavilions from Soil Association and Organic Trade Board, Soil Association Organic Beauty, NATRUE, Demeter Italy, the Philippines, Thailand, Armenia & Moldova, Turkey, Peru, and Bulgaria.  They joined returning pavilions from Greece, France, Italy, Poland, the USA, The Vegan Society, and the HFMA.

New for 2016, the show also introduced a second New Products Showcase dedicated to Natural Beauty & Spa innovations.  The two showcases combined featured over 320 products, in categories covering food, health, beauty and natural living.

‘Best new product’ winners at the Natural & Organic Awards Europe 2016 (presented at the show by Dragons’ Den investor Deborah Meaden) included Bounce Foods, Booja-Booja, Pukka Herbs, Tsuno, Nutristrength, Tabitha James Kraan, Kinetic Natural Products Distributor, Natrasan, Hope’s Relief & Bodyverde, Inika Cosmetics, YES Organic Intimacy, Lovechock, and Viridian Nutrition.

“We were truly astounded by the level of innovation and quality on display in the New Products Showcases this year.  Whether it be health and nutrition, food and drink, natural living or beauty the entire industry has taken an incredible leap forward,” says Dominic Roberjot, publisher of Natural Products News.

“Natural & Organic Products Europe represents the sharp end of innovation for products and future trends in the organic market, with great start ups and more established businesses displaying the latest in ideas and concepts.  A great, intense, exciting show,” says Paul Moore, chair of the Organic Trade Board.

Free Keynotes & kitchen demos

A brilliant line-up of big-name speakers and top retailers from across the natural and organic world made this year’s three theatre seminar programme its best to date.

Highlights included exclusive Soil Association Certification updates, lively panel discussions; expert Keynotes from organic pioneer Craig Sams, Paul Lindley (founder of Paddy’s Bathroom and Ella’s Kitchen), and top nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville; business insights from Deborah Meaden, Amy Wordsworth (Good Bubble) and Michelle Thew (Cruelty Free International); a standing-room only live pitching session featuring senior buyers from Holland & Barrett; the Natural Health Beauty Awards ceremony; and live cooking demos from Francesco Mazzei, chef patron at Sartoria, and Robert Ortiz, Michelin-starred head chef at Lima restaurant.

Jim Manson, editor of Natural Products News, was also back discussing key retail trends in the independent health food trade, with the latest results of the annual ‘Health Check’ survey.

According to Manson: “Business optimism remains high among independent health store owners as footfall and spend continues to rise.  63% of the 100 retailers polled reported increased store footfall (up 10% on the 2015 survey), while 72% said that average customer spend had risen over the previous 12 months.”

“Digestive health, sleep, and bone and joint health were rated as the top three health or lifestyle drivers of sales, while supplements and remedies, free-from and vegan and vegetarian topped the list of product categories thought to offer most potential for growth,” he said.

The complete findings can be viewed at

A full show review will be available in the May issue of Natural Products News.