This weekend at the Natural and Organic Products Europe (NOPE) trade show felt like a bit of a time warp. We were all geared up 2 years ago to head to ExCel, London but like everything else, the show was cancelled. Later that year, in 2020, some of the exhibition halls at ExCel were turned into a temporary 'Nightingale' hospital – a far cry from the foremost business to business event in Europe showcasing natural and organic products for the natural health sector.
Fast forward two years and we were back at NOPE to see what's new, catch up with old friends, make new friends and promote our work at ANH, along with our brand new book RESET EATING!
Incredibly, this was our 19th time exhibiting at the show. We've seen so many changes, innovations, developments and growth in the natural products industry over ANH's almost 20-year history (we're celebrating our 20th anniversary on 15th May!). It was wonderful to see the show back, and the halls at ExCel filled with people again. Despite the tribulations of the past 2 years, there were many new products and brands over from Europe looking for a new market in the UK. It seems that that challenges posed by Brexit are not deterring the movement of goods into the UK, as they are for companies exporting.
>>> Our thanks go to Will Apperley (age 14) for touring the show, camera in hand, so we can bring you a flavour of the show, along with comments from Cheryl Thallon, Founder of Viridian and Louise Darvall of Pukka Herbs.
The enthusiasm of 'Zoomed out' exhibitors was evident from the off as everyone revelled in being able to talk to each other face to face again. There really is no substitute for human contact!
As usual, the show was split into four sections: Natural Food | Natural Beauty | Natural Living and Natural Health with plenty on offer from the 800 different exhibitors from around the globe.
The food show saw an increase in exhibitors bringing new vegan foods to the market as demand for these products soars in the face of continued calls for meat production to be scaled back due to its perceived impact on the environment. Having just published a book with a 12-step protocol to becoming flexi-keto, we were probably the least excited to find an explosion of vegan marshmallows so in evidence! As expected, the Vegan World section had expanded with many more sugary treats and snack options, as had the low-sugar chocolate options - some of which were absolutely delicious and still tasted like proper chocolate.
CBD innovation (and regulation)
The explosive growth in the UK CBD market was evident in the wealth and breadth of products being exhibited. The innovation in CBD-containing products was clear to see - from ingestible sprays to teas, to skincare, to intimate products, lip salve and even pump dispensers for coffee shots.
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) released its long awaited list of CBD ingestible food supplement products with credible applications for novel food authorisation on 31st March 2022, just two days before the show. Only 5 companies thus far have validated applications, with a further 65 applications still awaiting evidence, which allows products to remain on sale as applications are processed. A validated application is not the same as an approved application, it merely denotes those products with application files deemed complete.
The product list from these 70 applications currently contains over 3,500 products that can continue to be sold pending validation and approval. As the FSA continues its process, any products marked as 'removed' will have to be removed from sale or they could become subject to local enforcement action.
The FSA novel food application process does not relate to CBD products designed to be inhaled e.g. vapes, or applied to the skin, including skincare, cosmetics and massage oils.
The ANH stand at NOPE '22
Sustainability at the heart
We were heartened to see that for many brands, sustainability is now the name of the game, particularly in the Beauty section where refills, upcycled ingredients and refillables were found in abundance.
With covid still visible in the rear view mirror, and people taking an increased in interest in improving their health and resilience, a range of 'keto foods' were on offer along with black seed oil, supplements in gummy form, immune complexes and liposomal vitamin ranges.
Kids also got a look in with a huge increase in products aimed specifically at children across all sections of the show.
Ultimately, for those in any doubt that Nature holds so many answers for our health and well being, the show proved a great success.