Sweden’s Fabian Olli Johansson crowned best Nordic Organic Chef 2015 at the show
MalmöMässan, in Sweden, was buzzing with activity over 1-2 November, as nearly 4,000 attendees packed the aisles of Nordic Organic Food Fair and Natural Products Scandinavia – the Nordic region’s biggest trade shows for natural and organic food and drink, health, beauty, eco-living and self-care products.
Busy, fantastic, diverse, interesting, useful, and impressive – is just some of the feedback received from attendees so far; with many calling it an ‘essential visit’ for seeing innovative new products and trends in the thriving Nordic market.
The co-located events featured 345 exhibitors and welcomed 3,930 attendees from over 2,000 companies and 59 countries across both days (compared to 3,558 in 2014).
Swedish and Danish visitors were by far the show’s biggest audience (67%), with key buyers and managers from many of Scandinavia’s biggest retailers, health stores, pharmacy chains, wholesalers and distributors, public kitchens, and supermarkets represented; including ICA Sverige, Axfood, Dansk Supermarked, Coop Sverige, Coop Danmark; Life AB, HKC Egenvård, NBTY International, Fazer Food Services, Aldi, Ikea, Lidl, Danasan, KåKå, Dagrofa, Norges Naturmedisinsentral, Sunkost, Urtekram International, Københavns Madhus, Orkla, Svensk Cater, Hälsokraft, Apoteksgruppen, Gymgrossisten, Åhléns, Mat.se and Magasin du Nord.
“Products and innovations developed by passionate people and values-driven business is the future,” says Alia Jassim, brand manager at Orkla Foods Sverige, “it was great to see so many talented and inspiring entrepreneurs in one place!”
“A fantastic show, with lots of interesting and innovative suppliers,” says Mads Buus Nielsen, category manager at Dansk Supermarked A/S.
“Great for spotting current trends and growing categories, I’ll definitely be back next year,” says Minna Jacobsen, category planner at COOP Danmark AS.
“I have visited the show every year since its launch, and am always impressed by its mix of new and well-established exhibitors and comprehensive seminar program. I would strongly recommend it to everyone involved in the natural health segment,” says Peter Svorono, managing director of BestCase AB (founder of Nature and a former MD of Life Sweden).
“It’s amazing how quickly Natural Products Scandinavia and Nordic Organic Food Fair have become established as important, effective business events for this region’s thriving natural and organic sectors. It’s only been four years since we first launched here, and there are so many exciting opportunities for growth ahead. No wonder so many of our exhibitors have already signed up for 2016! Big thanks must go to our association and media partners for their continued invaluable support, our exhibiting companies for helping to make the show look so spectacular, and the visitors who came out in their thousands!”
“This is always a good show but this year has been the best! We only do two shows a year, this show and Natural & Organic Products Europe in London and that keeps us busy all year!” says Kris McGowan from The Raw Chocolate Company.
“It’s been fantastic! It’s our first year at the show and we can’t believe how good it’s been. I’ve found export opportunities from Japan, Norway and Denmark. There has been so much interest in our product – it’s totally awesome! We’ll definitely be back next year!” says Tony Gerasovski, owner of Tony’s Pizza (Foodster AB).
“For anyone who is planning to enter the organic market in Scandinavia, this show is paradise! Everybody is here; the supermarkets, wholesalers, distributors – I could not ask for more and that’s the truth!” says Peter Kirwel, senior sales manager at Biovegan GmbH.
“The reaction to this year’s show has been fantastic. From the moment the doors opened, there was such a vibrant energy and buzz that continued throughout the two days. It really found its ‘wow’ factor for 2015,” says event director Anne Seeberg from organiser Diversified Communications UK.
Natural and organic is big business in the Nordic region – and with growing consumer awareness and spending, it’s set to get even bigger. According to Cecilia Ryegård, editor and founder of Ekoweb, “the future is bright [for organic]”.
“People are asking why not organic, instead of why organic, that’s a big change in consumer attitudes,” she says, highlighting that even ‘modest’ projections put the Swedish organic food market on course to double by 2025. On the flipside, lack of raw materials/organic farmers could “be a big problem for future growth”.
The Nordic market for natural and organic cosmetics is also one of the fastest growing in Europe, with sales projected to reach EUR 200 million in the coming years.
“Scandinavia has some of the highest expenditure rates for natural and organic products in the world,” comments Amarjit Sahota, president of Organic Monitor.
“The Nordic market for natural and organic cosmetics is growing by about 10% per annum, compared to about 5-7% for Western Europe. Increasing distribution is a major driver of market growth, with natural and organic cosmetics making inroads in department stores, beauty retailers, supermarkets and the spa channel. Although specialist retailers (health food shops and organic food retailers) still generate the bulk of sales in the Nordic region,” he says. His colleague, research analyst Iveta Kovacova, was at the show, presenting the latest figures.
It’s a similar story for the Nordic health and wellness market. Stefan Anbro, senior analyst at Euromonitor, shared the latest data and trends at this year’s show focussing on packaged foods (including organic, food intolerance, fortified/functional, naturally healthy, and better for you).
According to their research, although the Nordic countries only represented 5% of the total population of Western Europe their share of retail value sales in the health and wellness packaged food category was a massive 28% (compared to 19% for Western Europe). With Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden all continuing to spend more per capita per year than any other country in Western Europe.
Other show highlights included Natural Theatre sessions featuring Irene von Arronet, co-founder of Natural Organic Cosmetics Sweden, current affairs analyst Per Grankvist, Francesca Morgante, label manager at NATRUE, and Elodie Toulouze, international certification officer at Ecocert Greenlife.
Whilst Organic Theatre sessions featured John Schoolcraft, creative director of Oatly, Thor Jørgensen, COO of Netto International, Charlotte Bladh André, chairman of Organic Sweden, Marco Schlüter, director of IFOAM EU, Per Kølster, chairman of Organic Denmark, Johan Cejie, sales manager at KRAV Sweden, Marja-Riitta Kottila, executive director at Pro Luomo Finland, and Maiken Pollestad Sele, senior advisor at Oikos – Organic Norway.
The new Natural Beauty Theatre also proved popular, hosting two ‘beauty hours’ per day to enable exhibitors to demonstrate their latest product innovations to visiting buyers.
New for 2015, was the launch of the Nordic Organic Chef Competition, hosted by the Swedish organic chef association Föreningen Ekokockar (in association with KRAV Sweden and Menigo), on Monday 2 November.
The inaugural champion – Fabian Olli Johansson, a chef at Lilla Bjers in Gotland (who was recently crowned Swedish Organic Chef of the Year 2015), impressed the judges with his ‘simple and tasty’ chicken dish. Fifteen-year-old Norwegian chef Sebastian Skauen Johnsen, who fractured his left hand just days before the competition, was runner-up.
As ever, the show’s Natural & Organic Innovation Showcase was a hive of activity – and the first port of call for many visiting buyers. Featuring a record 105 product entries for 2015, showcase visitors voted for their favourites on Sunday 1 November (between 10am and 3pm). The winners of this year’s Natural & Organic Awards Scandinavia include:
• Best New Natural brand
Boosting Astaxanthins, Simris Alg
• Natural Life Time Achievement Award
Karl Kristian Bergman Jensen and Marinus Blaajerg Sørensen, New Nordic
• Best New Eco/Natural Living Product
Palm Leaf Slipper, Biolief
• Best New Health & Nutrition Product
Chia Oil Omega 3 capsules, Lime Pharma Aps
• Best New Natural Beauty Product (cosmetics, haircare, beauty supplement)
Hemp Oil Intensive Conditioning Hair Mask, Biofood-Biolivs
• Best New Natural Skincare (body & Face)
Vilact Skin Cream, Pharma GP
• Best New Natural Drink Product
Chai Latte, Chalo
• Best New Natural Food Product
Inspiral Coconut Pecks, Inspiral Visionary Products
• Best New Organic Brand
Jymy Ice Cream, Suominen´s Milk – Little Ice Cream Company
• Butikstrender Most Unique Product Award
Raw Cocoa nips with Yacon syrup, Q–Organic
• Organic Lifetime Achievement
Eva Fröman and Mimi Eriksson Dekker, EkoMatCentrum
• Best New Organic Drink
Caliente – Not A Soft Drink, Dagsmeja AB
• New Organic Special Diet Food (Vegetarian/Gluten Free)
Sundried Tomato & Pesto Kale Crackers, Planet Organic
• Best New Organic Food Product
Jymy Lakrits Ice Cream, Suominen’s Milk – Little Ice Cream Company
“We’re extremely happy, the show’s been really good for us. We’re already well-known in Finland but have been looking for more export possibilities – and this show has done the job perfectly! The quality and quantity of contacts has been excellent, it’s been two days of non-stop talking. It’s exceeded our expectations, and we have already rebooked for next year,” says Horst Neumann, CEO and founder of Suominen’s Milk.
Nordic Organic Food Fair and Natural Products Scandinavia will return to Malmö, Sweden, in October 2016. For more information, please visit www.nordicorganicexpo.com and www.naturalproductsscandinavia.com.