The Natural Food Show at Natural & Organic Products Europe is back in London this weekend (doors open at ExCeL on Sunday 7 April) with its usual unmissable line-up of talks by the industry’s leading pioneers, influencers and business leaders.
The Soil Association, Organic Trade Board (OTB), Beyond GM campaign group, and The Fairtrade Foundation are among the headliners confirmed to take part, hosting a series of insightful Keynote sessions and inspiring panel debates on topical issues focusing on (but not limited to): organic farming and retailing, sustainable food production and systems, the role of GMOs, ethical consumption and social enterprise, and the continuing rise of conscious consumerism.
“I cannot envisage the Soil Association ever not being part of this event,” comments Lee Holdstock, trade relations manager at Soil Association, “It’s an established ‘must’ in the industry calendar and a fantastic chance to grow, learn, be inspired, meet old friends and, of course, do business!”
Speaker highlights include:
- Why organic is the solution – the Soil Association’s Lee Holdstock examines the real-world relevance and urgency of organic as a long-term sustainable solution for food production.
- Why Fairtrade? What makes the difference – Cliona Duffy, senior partnership manager at The FairTrade Foundation, outlines the successes of The Fairtrade Mark 25 years on and explains more about its latest campaign calling for farmers and workers to receive a living income.
- The Conscious Organic Consumer – Clare McDermott and Finn Cottle from the Soil Association are joined by the OTB’s Aileen Nicol, Triodos Bank’s Simon Crichton, and Ethical Consumer’s Joanna Long to discuss the latest organic market trends and how it delivers for today’s increasingly ethical, conscious and mindful consumers.
- From the Summer of Love to today’s organic marketplace – Craig and Gregory Sams, the brothers who helped kick start Britain’s natural food revolution in 1967 and created iconic brands like Harmony Foods, Whole Earth, Realeat Vegeburger (the first ever vegeburger) and Green & Black’s, will be sharing their insights, images and anecdotes a-plenty on 52 years of whole food history.
- In conversation with Heather Masoud – the co-founder of Zaytoun talks to Michael Wale, about her motivation for building a successful social enterprise, which sells an award-winning range of Palestinian fine foods.
In a first for the show, Beyond GM directors Pat Thomas (a former editor of the Ecologist magazine) and Lawrence Woodward, will be hosting a lively debate exploring the role (if any) that new genetic engineering techniques could have to play in the future of organic agriculture.
The panel, also including Huw Jones, Professor of translational genomics for plant breeding at Aberystwyth University, and the OTB’s campaign director Aileen Nicol, will take Ms Thomas’ recent article ‘Can organic GMOs ever be a thing?’ (first published in H&C News last year) as a starting point, culminating in an audience vote on the question that will, inevitably, split opinions for years to come.
Trends, Trade & Brexit
One topic expected to dominate conversations at the show is, of course, Brexit. With over 10,000 attendees expected from across the UK and around the world (and taking place just days before the EU’s current 12 April deadline), Natural & Organic Products Europe presents a unique vantage point to gain globe-spanning views on the challenges and solutions ahead. Given the current market uncertainty, no theatre sessions on trends and insights would be complete without some ‘clarity’ on Brexit.
Step forward Simon Wright, founder of OF+ Consulting, and Cliff Moss, MD of Health Sales Group, who’ll be hosting back-to-back sessions on Monday 8 April (from noon in the Natural Food Talks Theatre) giving vital pointers on maximising sales and navigating potential future trade agreements.
Alternatively, over in the Natural Products Talks Theatre (also starting at noon), see Jim Manson, editor-in-chief of NaturalProductsGlobal.com, delivering a fast-paced round-up of the biggest developments in the global natural products industry.
“Using a year’s worth of headlines and real-life industry developments I’ll aim to give a strong sense of how natural and organic markets around the world connect up, both in terms of trade and export opportunities and the shared values we have as a global movement.”
The best of the rest
With 15 sessions to choose from in the Natural Food Talks Theatre there’s something to suit every business need and interest. Catch up on the unstoppable rise of veganism with Lisa Gawthorne, co-founder and MD of Bravura Foods. Learn more about Patrick Holford’s The Hybrid Diet, where variation not moderation is said to be the key to weight loss and improved health. Discover the latest research on seaweed superfoods from Dr Craig Rose, a marine biologist and founder of Seaweed & Co. Or – find out how using Google data (and a bevy of free online tools) can help business owners and retailers predict the next big health trends with Amy McManus, MD and founder of AM Marketing, an award-winning Google Partner agency.
The full speaker programme, including a mix of retailer-focused and supplier-focused sessions, is available to view atwww.naturalproducts.co.uk/seminars. There are three dedicated theatres covering topics related to food, health/wellbeing, and beauty.