Natural & Organic Products Europe 2012 took the spotlight last week end with all exhibition space at London’s Olympia fairgrounds entirely sold out to 600 exhibitors from all around the world, who presented an exclusive array of some of the best natural, organic, Fairtrade, free-from and eco-friendly products to over 7500 professional trade buyers.  This year the show reflected increased presence of new companies including organic meat and dairy producer Laverstoke Park Farm; shea butter skin care supplier Monshea; beauty distributor Kent Cosmetics; drink importers Thirst Quenchers; Indian Snack manufacturer Cofresh; British healthcare company Stanningley Pharma; Irish functional foods supplier Aveena Phytotherapy and Serbian Natural Foods, UK distributor of Foodland’s natural fruit juices, preserves and spreads.

Many returning exhibitors were hosting new product launches across all categories to be introduced to UK and European retailers at the show – including MARAP, Pukka Herbs; The Redwood Wholefood Company; Natracare – Bodywise UK; Urtekram; Igennus; Earth Friendly Products; Nature's Path Foods; UAS Laboratories; Nutri; Essential Trading Co-operative; Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps; Sci-MX Nutrition; Quantum Nutrition Labs; Kara Dairy Free; UnBEElievable Health; NatOrigin; Amy's Kitchen; Protexin; Natur Boutique; teapigs; Primera Technology; Bentley Organic; Natural Balance Foods; Eterno Naturals; Pravera; Bio-D and organic and holistic pet food specialist Lily's Kitchen.

NOPE introduced two new sections – Health & Nutrition and Natural Living, which joined the Natural Food Show and the Natural Beauty & Spa area. International pavilions present included Brasil, Indonesia and Australia, the USA, Austria, France, Latvia and Italy. Demeter and the new Vegan Pavilion (hosted by the Vegan Society), were additional highlights along with UK pavilions that included the HFMA; the Organic Trade Board (OTB); FoodLovers Approved; West Country Food & Drink; and the Soil Association’s Organic Marketplace.

Lively kitchen demonstrations and expert-led seminars in the Keynote Theatre and Natural Beauty & Spa Theatre run alongside the central exhibition on both days of the show.  Opening day highlights included ‘The High Street Fights Back’ – a special panel discussion on the future of independent retailing, plus sessions from leading nutritionist Patrick Holford and medical health journalist Jerome Burne; Sebastian Pole (Pukka Herbs); raw food guru Shazzie; Jay Pindolia (The Vegetarian Society’s Cordon Vert Chef Of The Future 2011); Dr Marilyn Glenville; and Green & Black’s. The conference program included a seminar on the organic industry’s latest hot topic – ‘New EU-US Organic Trade Arrangement: Export Opportunities’, hosted by Lee Holdstock, trade relations manager at Soil Association Certification and Amarjit Sahota, president of Organic Monitor.  Until now, there has been very little trade between the US and EU organic markets because of differences between USDA and EU organic standards.  This session took a detailed look at the new equivalency arrangement between the US and the EU and what it means to European/American organic enterprises. “The new trade arrangement will have a significant impact on global trade of organic food and drink.  Until now, organic food exports have come into these two regions from producers across the world, however there has been minimal inter-trade between Europe and North America.  The agreement is bringing the global organic market closer together, and is a possible prelude to a single standard for organic products.”

Monday’s packed-programme of seminars and demonstrations will also include sessions from Helen Browning OBE (chief executive, Soil Association); Tim Bouget (co-founder of ODE, Sustainable Restaurant Of The Year); Jason Church (Coeliac UK’s Gluten Free Chef Of The Year 2011); Susan Ma (founder of Tropic Skincare and star of the BBC’s The Apprentice); Sebastian Parsons (Dr Hauschka); and leading eco-chef Barny Haughton.