Organic Marketing Forum: an increase in the number of exhibitors and visitors
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
This year's edition of the Organic Marketing Forum took place in Warsaw from 17 – 19 June 2013 (see pictures). About 380 visitors from 27 countries came to the Polish capital to learn more about the European organic markets and to make new business contacts. The organisers registered a growth of 8% on the number of visitors, 14% on the number of exhibitors and a 30% increase in exhibition space. Thus the OMF is the largest organic business meeting in Central and Eastern Europe again. “The growth of the Organic Marketing Forum in scope and quality reflects the growing interest of businesses and consumers in the organic sector of Central and Eastern Europe", says Bernhard Jansen, CEO of EkoConnect. "For example: five years ago no organic food producer or retailer existed in the Ukraine. This year, about 30 company representatives of this region came to Warsaw to present their products and to find suppliers for their stores". In Poland and the Baltic states, a dynamic growth of the business sector of about 10 - 15 % per year can be observed. In Poland, the number of processors increased to more than 310 in 2012.
In addition to the food market, the sector of raw materials was a main focus of the Forum. In this sector, well-known commodity producing countries like Ukraine, Lithuania and Slovakia extend their offers and new countries like Russia and Moldova are starting to offer raw materials. Also in Poland, the organic area has increased by more than 100% in the last 5 years, to about 660,000 ha in 2012. Concerning the further development of the organic sector, many participants of the OMF saw a threat in the planned free trade agreement between the EU and the USA.
Following the new subtitle of the OMF "European East-West organic trade exhibition and networking conference", the focus of the event - besides the exhibition and conference - was on new networking elements. In particular, the new Speed Networking Sessions turned out to be a valuable support for business participants: a buyer and a seller were facing each other in chair rows for product specific two minute meetings and on a signal, they moved one chair ahead. "Never before have I made so many new contacts in such a short time and additionally had so much fun”, comments Andrej Crednik of Mediacor from Slovenia. Other participants signalized a positive feedback on the sessions too and expressed their interest in participating again next year. Approximately 20 companies also used the opportunity to introduce themselves in short lightning presentations in the exhibition hall.
A training for Polish retailers was also introduced that included elements of marketing, personal management and cooperation possibilities with other shops. Experienced organic traders shared their know-how like Meinrad Schmitt (Terra Naturkost), Georg Kaiser (BioCompany) and Karin Lösch (Communications Consulting Klaus Braun).
The Ukrainian company Organic Original LLC received the award Best of Organic for their sunflower oil. Grupa producentów Ekologicznych Dolina Gryki Sp. z .o. received the second award for their organic rice product and the third prize went to Hanegal A/S from Denmark for their salami snack. During the evening get-together in the Warsaw restaurant Lanse, about 150 visitors enjoyed an organic buffet dinner in a non-formal relaxed atmosphere. An expert jury awarded the best Polish organic food shops, organic chains and supermarkets with the Organic Polish Point of Sales Award. An excursion to organic producers of herbs, grain and milk as well as to organic shops in Warsaw and the close region took place on the third day of the forum. More information is available at: www.organic-marketing-forum.org.
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