Organic Food: the bio reunion

Susana Andres-Omella

‘Celebrating the ecological world’ is the trade fair’s slogan, which this year has devoted a large space to free presentations on Ecodesign, Marketing and communication

 At Fruit Today euromagazine we interviewed Susana Andrés Omella, Manager of the project.

What prospects do you have for this 2nd edition?

Celebrating the ecological world is this year’s slogan and, therefore, there will be a celebration atmosphere, both at the fair and at the party, on the 8th and 9th of September.

We have moved to Hall 8 at IFEMA, with a gross surface area of 13,000 m². At the 2019 launch we had over 400 exhibitors and 5,000 visitors. At this post-pandemic edition we should reach around 300 stands, mostly belonging to those who already exhibited at the first edition, and are increasing their surface area. Regarding visitors, we expect around 2,500-3,000, mostly from the Spanish mainland due to the exceptional situation. After a survey carried out on visitors in 2019, 85% answered that they were certain/almost certain that they would visit Organic Food Iberia in 2021.

By halls, Andalusia, Madrid, Murcia, Extremadura, Community of Valencia and La Rioja are all repeating their presence. Without forgetting ECOVALIA, the main sponsor. We have new regional incorporations with Navarra and Castilla-La Mancha. Internationally, Portugal Bio and Austria will also be back.

What importance will fruit and vegetables have?

We are still in the middle of the marketing phase and, although we are very happy with the response from the sector, it is still too early to make any specifications according to category. The interesting point is that visitors can find a significant variety of certified ecological produce, ranging from fresh fruit and vegetables, which could make up 15% of the offer, to wine, juices, baby foods…

I feel very proud when I say that trade fair was established thanks to the conviction of a Valencian company producing ecological pomegranates. The idea arose when carrying out business meetings between ecological producers and buyers from the Nordic countries with my consultancy Ibernordik and this Valencian company was the first to believe in the project. The Community of Valencia invested a great deal, through Regina Monsalve, when it was only a fledgling Project, which was started up by Diversified Communications UK and to which IFEMA joined, turning Organic Food Iberia into a success when it was launched.

With Covid, the mixed trade fair model has been imposed, is this the case here? What parallel activities will there be?

Organic Food Iberia will be the 1st international and professional trade fair of the ecological sector since 2020 and we are opting for a 100% face-to-face model. We have a highly attractive programme of seminars, where personalities from the sector will present data, new developments and debates in the Organic Theater, which will also house exhibitions by exhibitors, along with ‘Meet the Buyer’ where 6 producers selected by our “buyer” will present their product, subjecting themselves to questions as to why they should be included on the supermarket shelves and with the option of having a more detailed meeting at a later time. It is an event that is great fun that works very well at our trade fairs in London and at Nordic Organic Food Fair in Sweden. In our Eco Living Theater, other specialised buyers will take on leading roles to choose natural and sustainable products for their supermarket shelves. We also have an Innovation Zone where exhibitors can present their latest developments to win the Eco & Organic Awards, with a prize-giving ceremony to be held on Wednesday, the 8th at 7.30 pm. We also have a strong programme of Guest Buyers.

In bio consumption, Spain is still in 7th position in the EU, but spending has grown by 35% during the pandemic: how can specialised events contribute to maintaining this trend?

Organic Food Iberia and Eco Living Iberia were born as a result of the support from the eco sector in Spain and Portugal. Two years later, we want to support the sector to ensure internal consumption grows. To do this, we have designed a large amount of presentations with specialists from the EU public and private sector and restaurant and catering trade.

The trade fair is the platform and meeting point to give visibility and information to producers who want to know more about how to reach the end consumers, supported by the distribution, retailers, HORECA, the press and specialists in marketing and communication.

We are at an important time for subjects such as the Green Deal. What prospects are opening up for the sector and for the trade fair?

In order for Healthy and Sustainable Food to become increasingly democratic, training is needed and for this reason, the sector has asked us for more training and information about marketing, communication and design. We are great producers, we are leaders, but now we must learn how to communicate this, towards those we are targeting and how to share our values. Therefore, this year we are devoting several presentations to Ecodesign and Marketing. Organic Food Iberia is showcasing itself as a mass promotion centre for ecological, healthy and sustainable food on an international scale. All the products exhibited have EU certification and during the trade fair there are supervisors to ensure that these requirements are met.

 

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