I arrived in Taipei last week. A very cool city! On my first day I was walking past the Taipei International Exhibition Centre (I was actually on my way to meet a friend for coffee!) when I saw big posters advertising the 7th Asia Organic & LOHAS Expo from 31st October to 3rd November. I had come across the term LOHAS several times in Taiwanese stores and on product packaging – obviously organic and LOHAS is a lifestyle and/or marketing trend in Taiwan just as much as in other Western and Asian countries. I decided that I simply had to visit the Organic & LOHAS Expo – and it turned out to be a compact and interesting little show.
The show was open to the public, by the way, and tickets were the equivalent of 3.50 Euro so the trade fair was quite busy, lots of families and children. There were just over 100 exhibitors, primarily from the food and beverages industries.
Amongst the exhibitors were many tea growing companies which is no surprise considering that Taiwan is famous for its tea. Speaking of which, I had no idea there were so many delicious varieties of Oolong tea! I have since become quite a fan of Oolong, a tea type I hadn’t really liked before coming to Taiwan.
But to return to the trade show: Besides the tea companies there were also a several coffee companies. Coffee is another beverage which is playing an important role in Taiwan – Taipei, for example, has the most marvelous cafés and, in fact, the city is considered one of the major coffee capitals of the world. Although franchised coffee chains like Starbucks also operate in the city, Taipei has a wealth of independently owned little cafés and coffee-roaster places, every single one of which is unique: with a different interior design/café concept, specializing in a certain type of coffee or coffee-preparation technique. For example, “hand-drip” (i.e. hand-filtered) coffee is a big thing here.
And the number of tea beverages (especially tea-with-milk varieties – “tea latte”) is simply staggering, even in Starbucks outlets. I spent the last few days walking around the city in different neighbourhoods, and in some streets and alleyways there seemed to be a coffee place every ten feet or so. If you like cafés as much as I do, Taipei is a wonderful place to visit.
But yet again, let’s return to the show! Other exhibitors included organic cotton clothing companies, a cookery and kitchenware manufacturer and companies selling dried foods, rice, oils and beverages. However, there was also exhibitor which sold a certain type of fish and a stand with fresh dragon fruit. I had a nice chat with a lady from a company which imports Riesling wines from Germany and Austria and tried a rose drink made by Rose Box, a company which specializes in rose waters, dried rose petals, rose jam and various rose beverages.
There was just one beauty manufacturer at the show: EverGoods is the first Taiwanese C&T company to have received COSMOS Soil Association organic certification for its Naveen range of cosmetics (the first time I’ve seen the new COSMOS logo on a cosmetics product, by the way). Naveen’s portfolio includes hair care, body care and skin care. EverGoods also have two non-certified organic ranges – True Beauty and anti-ageing line Karen-In – and they manufacture organic range La Vie Naturelle for organic Taiwanese retailer Leezen. Leezen seems like an interesting company – I’ll see if I can visit one of their stores before I’m leaving Taipei.