The Natural & Organic Products Expo (NOPE) at Excel in London last Sunday and Monday brought together some of the leading players in the natural products sector in the UK and Europe.

We were there for our 18th consecutive year – and have been witness to the burgeoning of this sector over this nearly two decade time frame. This expansion has happened only because the sector is so strongly and enthusiastically supported by an ever-growing number of citizens. As it matures, the sector is also becoming more resilient and less fragmented – and is able to better resist manufactured negative news headlines and regulatory challenges.

We’ve put together an 8 minute video from the weekend to give you a flavour of what the sector’s about, including its potential to contribute to ever increasing amounts of health in communities.

"The bustling, dynamic natural products industry has done remarkable things for public health over the last half century or so. Yet it remains largely unappreciated by government and health authorities - and continues to be challenged by those with interests in healthcare systems dominated by pharmaceuticals and over-zealous regulators. The sector’s growth - and the development of the scientific evidence base that underpins it - has been buoyed by unwavering support from the public as more and more people continue to opt for natural health as their mainstay.

Let’s have a look at just two breakthroughs that show the kind of support the sector provides for the public."

Interview with Chris Speed, vice president global sales & marketing, NattoPharma talking about the importance of Vitamin K2 as a key intervention for osteoporosis and the lack of general understanding of its importance among most medical doctors.

Interview with Paul Grimm, vice president sales & marketing, Wiley's Finest talking about the omega 3 index test and the importance of omega 3/fish oils for a wide range of health conditions. 

"At ANH, we’ve worked closely with Pukka Herbs for over a decade on campaigns to help ensure the public continues to have access to a diverse range of high quality organically grown herbs that are consumed in teas and supplements. During this time, led by its founders Sebastian Pole and Tim Westwell, Pukka has expanded its mission for both people and plants into over 30 countries and in 2017 the company was, controversially in the eyes of some, acquired by Unilever. I now sit on the company's Mission Council and I caught up with Sebastian at the show to find out if he was planning to hang up his hat and put his slippers on any time soon."

Interview with Sebastian Pole, co-founder & master herbsmith, Pukka Herbs stressing that the health journey is very much still ongoing, the power of plants and the amount of work still to do to achieve the bigger mission.

"Natural products find their way to the public in a variety of ways, notably through retail, via practitioners and of course, increasingly, through the Internet. We catch up here with Cheryl Thallon, managing director of Viridian Nutrition - a gold member of our Vanguard Club - and a stalwart for the UK and Ireland’s health stores - as well as with Mike Abrahams, owner of Wild Oats in Bristol."

Interview with Cheryl Thallon, founder & managing director, Viridian Nutrition talking about the role of health stores as community hubs where the public can be supported in ways in which they can't in primary care/GP clinics.

Interview with Mike Abrahams, founder & owner, Wild Oats, Bristol on training and education in health stores.

"One of the fastest growing product categories the natural products industry has yet to experience during its one hundred plus year history is CBD - the non-psycho-active cannabinoid from hemp. The almost viral growth of CBD has happened over just two years internationally and for many people CBD has now become something of a panacea when it comes to health. In some parts of the world however, such as the UK and a growing number of European nations, CBD now faces serious regulatory challenges. That’s despite a blemish-free safety record for properly manufactured products and a rapidly emerging evidence base supporting its usefulness in health care. Challenges like this are of course not new to the sector and companies and the public are standing shoulder to shoulder in an effort to ensure freedom of choice for these invaluable products is maintained, not only for this generation but also for the next."

Interview with Jade Proudman, founder & CEO, Savage Cabbage talking about the CBD market, regulation and the need for consumers to know what they're buying.

Interview with John Puckett, CEO, Barlean's on education around CBD oil and following the law to keep governments from banning it altogether.

"This is an exciting time for this sector that’s benefiting from the increasing body of scientific evidence showing that most of the answers to the problems facing humanity and the planet come from understanding and respecting our inter-dependency on nature. Large swathes of the public now understand the need for not only cleaner and more wholesome diets but also are demanding cleaner and more wholesome approaches to healthcare that reduce the reliance on new-to-nature chemistries in the form of prescription drugs now rated as the third biggest killer in the Western world."

"At ANH we are pioneering a new model for community based health care through our sustainable health systems campaign. The approach will allow the evaluation of multi-factorial approaches - that include  healthy diets and lifestyles - as well as a wide variety of other interventions that remain outside the mainstream medical system. It is critical that we understand better what we need to create health - rather than just manage disease. There are hundreds of thousands of  people who are out there benefiting from these systems - yet - as yet - we don’t have ways of capturing their positive experiences, especially if they don’t become a health statistic because they’ve kept themselves healthy for most of their lives. Health creation is all about respecting our role in a much more complex ecological system and working with nature rather than against it."

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