The pandemic has strengthened the trend towards sustainable consumption in the food industry – a shift that is also reflected in the world’s leading ingredients show Fi Europe combined with Hi Europe, as the organic and natural ingredients zones are both on a growth trajectory. The Fi Global team is currently expecting a total of 17,000 visitors in-person and/or virtually, with a strong focus on relevant audience for business and networking and the quality of attendance: 72 percent of the pre-registered attendees have purchasing power. The trade fair will be held online from 22 November, and in-person in Frankfurt from 30 November to 2 December.
In terms of floor space, compared to the total show, the organic zone has grown by 49 percent with exhibitors this year including Mainfrucht, Meurens Natural and La Sanfermese Agro & Food. The natural ingredients zone, meanwhile, has grown by 46 percent and will be welcoming exhibitors such as Herbstreith & Fox KG Pektin-Fabriken and Plantex SAS. “This trend has been present for a number of years but now has become even more apparent as a result of the pandemic. Furthermore, the combination of Food ingredients and Health ingredients Europe highlights the importance of naturalness in ingredients with health benefits”, says Julien Bonvallet, Fi Global Brand Director.
The agenda for the show, with Fi Conference, Innovation Hub, various theatres, and the competitions Startup Innovation Challenge and Innovation Awards, will also address topics such as upcycling, alternative sourcing solutions and more efficient manufacturing processes. Sessions include ‘Creating a more sustainable future’, in which Siska Pottie, Secretary-General of the European Alliance for Plant-based Foods, will be reviewing the European plant-based market. Also speaking is Paula Schmidsfelden, of The Carbon Trust, who will be discussing ‘Product carbon footprinting & labelling: How to drive decarbonization in the food industry’. Roquette, meanwhile, will be presenting a company case study on ‘Adapting to rising consumer expectations with a plant-based approach’.
Consumers want sustainability
With a total of 800+ exhibitors expected on the show floor, more than 150 companies have already signed up for the natural or organic zone. One of them is HoneyGreen+, a supplier of beehive products, natural sweeteners and functional ingredients. Vanessa Morice, Commercial Director at HoneyGreen+, comments: “The world demands natural responses to a global need for health, well-being and beauty. We have already observed how changes triggered by the pandemic have accelerated some of the trends predicted to occur over the next five years. And consumers are looking for transparent brands, as they want to know how their actions can help protect their community and environment.”
These views are confirmed by Fi Europe’s business analyst partner, Innova Markets: One-third of consumers worldwide expect companies in the industry to commit to sustainability, while 20 percent are also willing to spend more money on such products. In the Innova Lifestyle & Attitudes Survey 2020, respondents indicated that COVID-19 has increased their focus on sustainability, for example, by buying regional products, recycling/upcycling and avoiding food waste. A study commissioned by The Nature Conservancy found a shift among consumers and businesses from wanting food that does not harm to actively seeking out products that do good.1
Trade shows can make a difference
As the world’s leading ingredients trade show, Fi Europe combined with Hi Europe has set itself the goal of paying ever-closer attention to ecological aspects when designing the event. These include energy-saving LED lighting in the exhibition halls, renewable energy sources and waste reduction, for example through the use of recyclable exhibition carpets. There will also be partial replacement of printed material, with a comprehensive mobile app and QR codes guiding attendees to digital publications instead.