BioFach and Vivaness Congress offers more than 120 sessions
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The BioFach and Vivaness Congress offers knowledge from the organic world. Photo © Karin Heinze
In four weeks, the international organic food and natural cosmetics sectors will kick off the year with their annual gathering in Nuremberg from 14 to 17 February 2018. This is when BioFach, the world’s leading fair for organic food and Vivaness, the international trade fair for natural and organic personal care, will again open their doors to an expected 50,000 and more trade visitors. The BioFach and Vivaness congresses combined represent the No. 1 knowledge transfer and networking event for the organic sector.
The Congress attracts enormous interest from all market players year after year. In 2017, more than 8,000 delegates used the industry and knowledge-sharing platform featuring more than 120 different sessions to obtain information and network with one another. What are the current drivers for the organic food and natural cosmetics sectors, what are the highlights offered by the BioFach and Vivaness Congress 2018 and what priorities will the industry be defining for the focus topic “Next Generation”? Answers to these questions gives Mildred Steidle, Managing Director Organic Services, who organises the Congress since years.
Ms Steidle, what struck you as you were looking through the submissions for the “Call for Ideas” for the congress – what are the issues that matter to the industry in particular at the moment?
As in previous years, there was huge interest in actively contributing to the congress, with more than 200 proposals to be evaluated and categorised. The range of topics is wide and reflects the diversity of the organic sector and its love of discussion. One of the dominating topics in 2018 will be once again the revision of the EU regulation on organic farming. Now that the way has been paved for a new European legislative framework for organic food, following more than three years of uncertainty, we need to fathom out what the precise impact will be for companies and market participants. The EU Commission itself will be providing information, and on each of the congress days players like the German Federation of Organic Food Producers (BÖLW), or the IFOAM EU Group, will cover issues relating to the implementation of the new legislation and its effects.
Congress Session on Organic 3.0. in 2016. Photo © Karin Heinze
Focus on organic agriculture and climate protection
What is noticeable in 2018 is the focus on organic agriculture, i.e. on primary production itself. How can we optimise systems in the face of global challenges like climate protection, global food security, ground and drinking water protection and the decline in biodiversity? And it basically also comes down to the question of how future organic farmers can be attracted to the industry and trained in the light of constantly growing markets.
As far as the natural cosmetics sector is concerned, the discussions will centre on how certified natural cosmetics can endure and set themselves apart from semi-natural cosmetics in the international cosmetics market, but also on the question of communication in times of digitalisation, to name just a few of the topics from the Vivaness Congress. In 2018 the congress will once again offer a high-calibre, professionally sound knowledge forum for the sector. As usual it will be held in Hall 7A.
Every year at the BioFach and Vivaness congresses, the latest figures and statistics from the respective sectors are not only announced but the resulting trends from these market research findings are explained and explored. Can you provide us with a bit of an overview here?
Market research and evaluation are topics that will dominate the first and second days of the fair in particular: On the Wednesday, for example, with the release of the international organic sector’s statistical yearbook “The World of Organic Agriculture” (Wednesday 14. February, 16:00), followed by the “Global Organic Market Overview” on Thursday at 10:00, where the market data from the yearbook will be analysed and explored in more depth.
Vivaness pursues the same format. Market research will take centre- stage at the event “Natural Cosmetics Market 2017, Data - Facts - Forecasts” on Thursday 15 February at 12 noon. This will be followed on Friday at 10:00 by the international review “Global Natural & Organic Cosmetics Market”.
Cosmetics market figures and development at the Vivaness Congress. Photo © Karin Heinze
Keyword “Next Generation”: What can congress delegates expect in this context?
Already we can say that the focus topic “Next Generation” has really hit the spot, with numerous players taking up this issue for inclusion in their congress presentations. One exciting aspect is the bridge that is being spanned between the next generation and the pioneer generation, which is reflected in the kind of people taking the stage. So we can look forward to a few young faces who will discuss the concepts and visions of the organic sector of the future. In 2018, issues of company succession, and how generational change can be actively managed, will also get more attention. And last but not least, the congress will also explore the question of how young talent can be inspired to get involved in the organic sector on a long- term basis.
Assuming that a visitor could only take part in three events, what would be your personal top 3 recommendations?
One highlight that I am particularly looking forward to is the presentation by youth researcher Simon Schnetzer on Thursday 15 February at 11:00. He will talk about generations Y & Z and will explain, for example, how young people can be inspired.
Another event that has a big mark against it in my calendar is the presentation “Framing: Do we speak organic?” on Friday 16 February at 14:00. Communicating carefully and using language responsibly is an issue that needs to put even more into the spotlight in the light of “fake news” and Trump’s “alternative facts” and is of interest not just to people involved in PR.
And lastly, another look at the “Next Generation”: Since 2002, the Ökolandbau trainee programme has been qualifying university graduates for the organic sector. Many of them are now in management positions. On Thursday 15 February at 16:00 there will be a discussion about how the class of 17/18 sees the organic future. The content and format of the presentation is entirely in the hands of the trainees.
Another interesting discussion is “Leadership in the next organic generation” on the Thursday from 13:00, when “Next Generation” managers will discuss strategic ideas and development priorities.
Of course the 2018 Congress offers much more than the presentations described here, and yes, this is my very personal selection. So we invite you to join us and take a close look at the programme.
BioFach and Vivaness - one of the main events of the organic world. Photo © Karin Heinze
Forums and thematic areas BioFach and Vivaness Congress 2018
The BioFach Congress is organised thematically and into forums. Alongside the main thematic and interdisciplinary focus in 2018, which is “Next Generation”, the congress also features the BioFach Forum, Sustainability Forum, Science Forum and Fachhandel (specialist retail) Forum, the latter only in German. The Vivaness Congress covers the following thematic areas: Markets & Analyses, Trade & Sales, Consumer Insights & Communication and Design, Packaging & Performance.
Ticket shop open
Trade visitors can secure their e-ticket for BioFach and Vivaness in ahead of the event. The ticket shop offers advance ticket sales until 9 February 2018.