Industry confidence in the French organic and natural products market is highly positive approaching the 2017 edition of Natexpo, the French bi-annual international trade show for organic products, helped by a record-breaking 800 plus exhibitors taking space (580 in 2015), new exhibition sectors and special events, and with over 12,000 visitors expected.

Natexpo 2017 will be held 22 to 24 October 2017 at the Paris-Nord Villepinte exhibition center. It is the only international trade event in France dedicated to the organic sector.

"Natexpo accelerates organic trends on a high-potential market: with an organic industry in France posting growth of 22 percent in 2016, France is the most dynamic market in Europe and the second largest by value," said show organizer Spas Organisation.

"Twenty percent of exhibitors are international, and more than 26 countries are represented at Natexpo 2017 bringing together an extensive range of products, services, and raw materials in six areas and ten features to allow visitors to discover the best innovations of the organic market."

The show is divided into Organic food and wine; Health food and dietary supplements; Cosmetics and hygiene; Ingredients and raw materials –  new in 2017; Services and equipment for retail – new in 2017; and Household and personal products and services.

The organizers said that the introduction of ingredients and raw materials responded to a combination of both increased consumption and – logically – production increases that made it necessary to provide industry professionals with a complete offer.

President of bio distributors group Natexbio and managing director of retailer La Vie Claire, Benoit Soury expressed his approval: “It is an excellent idea to offer people the chance to discover or develop their knowledge of materials or IT solutions connected to our profession. This can only enhance the show’s offering and make it more productive."

Munich-based Frederick Letellier, managing director of Frutelia & Letellier, participated at Natexpo 2015 on the booth of its French wholesaler. "Natexpo 2015 was definitively very interesting. We had plenty of retailer visitors. Most French wholesalers were exhibiting so that it was quite easy to find a way to them and we could introduce our wow!bab cereal bars on the French market. This time we will have our own wow!bab booth to introduce our sprouted mueslis to the French market,” he said.

Mr. Letellier observed France is currently one of the strongest growing organic markets in Europe with a significant interest in innovations, in particular for the organic vegan range. "There are plenty of opportunities at Natexpo but only if you collaborate with well introduced local trade partners and if you understand the French way of doing business," he said.

Present at the Canadian Organic Trade Association booth in 2015 was Yannick Dheilly, Trade Commissioner (Agriculture, Agrifood, Fisheries, Environment) at the Canadian Embassy, Paris.

Mr. Dheilly said he was happy with the quality of the buyers at the 2015 event. "Although the show is focused on the French market, it is an excellent opportunity to meet with potential distributors, customers (chains) and store managers. Organic distribution and retailing are well structured in France, so buyers are easy to identify, but you need local distribution. It is interesting to talk to store managers as they give critical feedback about how products are perceived at the consumer’s level," he said.

The international area of the event is up 60 percent compared to the previous edition of Natexpo. Countries being welcomed for the first time this year include Morocco, South Korea, Austria, and Lithuania, while The Netherlands and Canada, among others, decided to organise pavilions. 

A specialist bio shop opens every two days in France. "What is remarkable is the strength of specialist bio retailers who are the pioneers and remain the more dynamic retailers in the French distribution network," said the organizers.

The exhibition also offers the organisation one-to-one business meetings to enable its exhibitors to meet major buyers from all over the world.

Natexpo is also the showcase for health foods and dietary supplements. In 2016, dietary supplements in France recorded a 5.3 per cent growth over 2015. Over 100 suppliers from France and abroad will exhibit in the Health Food and Dietary Supplements sector.

The Organic Cosmetics and Hygiene sectors at Natexpo are 20 per cent larger this year, while the French organic cosmetics market grew by 12 per cent in 2015. According to the Agence BIO/CSA Barometer 2017, 43 per cent of French people bought this type of product in 2016, compared with 24 per cent in 2013.  

Special events and displays include the First Organic Ingredient Forum; the New Products Gallery; the Cosmetics Innovations Village Feature; and the Economic Forum seminar.