Last weekend I attended Natural & Organic Products Europe trade show in London (17th-18th April 2016). The UK’s biggest natural products fair celebrated its 20th anniversary this year; congratulations! I seem to remember visiting Natural & Organic Products Europe back in 2004 or 2005 (at that time, it was still held in Olympia). However, in 2015 the show moved to the ExCel exhibition centre in East London, out in the Docklands, and this is also where this year’s trade fair took place.
According to trade show organisers Diversified Communications, some 650 exhibitors from the organic and natural food, beauty and supplements industry attended NOPE and there were over 9500 visitors. The trade fair was divided into four sections: The Natural Food Show (which accounted for around 50% of the exhibition space), Natural Beauty & Spa (around 25%), Natural Living and Natural Health (also 25%). Since I only had one day at the show, I focused on the C&T part of the trade fair but also found the time to check out some of the food exhibitors – superfoods, coconut products, raw chocolate, dairy/meat substitutes and free-from foods were much in evidence!
In the Beauty and Food sections of the show there were Natural & Organic Awards Europe showcases: visitors could vote for their favourite new product and a panel of judges then decided on the winning entries in 13 categories. In addition there was a conference program of lectures and presentations on various health and beauty topics and the Natural Food Kitchen over in the organic food section featured live cooking demonstrations. Nice!
And here, in no particular order, are some of my favourite beauty discoveries from Natural & Organic Products Europe 2016, starting with the international exhibitors!
Siam Botanicals is a young organic beauty brand from Thailand. The company was founded four years ago and they were at NOPE for the second time. All Siam products are certified by Soil Association (Cosmos) and their product portfolio includes face and body care, body scrubs and massage oils, some shampoos and even a men’s care range. With the exception of some of the cleansers, all skin care products are based on plant-derived fatty oils (such as moringa, grapeseed, tamanu or rice bran) that are blended with various essential oils. I like!
There are day and night-time oils as well as repairing, energizing and balancing oil blends. The range also offers a number of cleansing products, including two face washes which are based on water and coconut oil, and two oil-based milk cleansers. There is a face scrub powder which you mix up with water and two face polishes that are based on argan oil and sugar crystals respectively. The lip and body balms are equally luscious! At the moment Siam’s products are only available in the UK, they sell the cosmetics through their own webstore. Eventually they also want to enter some of the European countries, the brand representative told me, but for the time being they are focusing their efforts on the UK market. Good luck to them!
I was glad to see organic niche brand Sóley Organics from Iceland at the trade show. In Germany you can order Sóley online and the brand has quite a fan base, especially amongst aficionados of Scandinavian and Northern European beauty. Which includes me! Anyway, it was great to have a chance to check out the brand’s product portfolio in real life and have a chat with the people at the stand. Sóley was launched in 2007 by actress Sóley Eliasdóttir. The brand entered the UK market just this year, hence their presence at NOPE. I was told that Sóley is also selling its products in Hong Kong and Taiwan but at the moment the brand is focusing its efforts on the UK market. I hope that eventually Sóley will also make its way into German retail stores!
And another of my personal highlights: I had the chance to quiz the international sales director of fabulous organic niche beauty brand Andalou Naturals. I had discovered the US brand in a Whole Foods supermarket a few days earlier and was wildly excited to see it at the trade show. I will be posting a detailed brand profile of Andalou Naturals in a few days.
I had first seen beauty brand Sukin in an AS Watson store in Singapore and initially thought it was an Asian brand. However, Sukin is actually from Australia and very successful internationally. In the UK they have a large presence in several organic retail chains – Whole Foods, for example, Holland & Barrett’s and Planet Organic; I was told Sukin has some 1000 POS in the UK. The brand is also present in Spain and Latvia and recently started to distribute their products in Poland, too.
In Germany they are not (yet) available although sometimes you can pick up Sukin products at selected TK Maxx stores. I was told that the brand is very interested in Germany and France but, of course, these are some of the more difficult organic marketplaces…Germany especially. Anyway, at the trade show Sukin presented its new Oil Balancing charcoal face care series which comprises a face scrub, a tonic, a cleanser, a moisturizer and a face mask.
I also saw some old acquaintances at the show – Naturativ from Poland, for example, Lithuanian beauty brands You & Oil and Uoga Uoga whom I had seen at Vivaness trade show this February, body care brand Zoya goes Pretty from Bulgaria (also a regular exhibitor at Vivaness) and Australian sun care company Eco by Sonya from Cosmoprof Bologna last month.
Home grown beauty
And now let’s move on to some of the cool domestic beauty brands I met at the trade show! Several of these were new to me; others I had read about on beauty blogs and so on but never actually seen in real life.
A comparatively new brand on the market is London-based skin and body care brand Urban Veda. Urban Veda’s products are based on ayurvedic principles; the company was founded in October 2013 but have already built up a distribution in the Middle East and Singapore. There are four products ranges in the portfolio – Soothing, Purifying, Radiance and Reviving – which correspond to the ayurvedic doshas. You can determine your specific dosha type by taking an online quiz or filling in a questionnaire in the store.
Freshious is another young face care brand from the UK – in fact, they were launched just a few months ago. Each of their five skin care products includes five different oils and extracts; the range is called Skin Food Radiance 5-a-Day – this refers to the five portions of fruit and vegetable you should eat per day. The line-up includes a 2-in-1 Cleansing Milk, a Facial Serum, an Eye Cream, a Day Cream and a Night Cream and the product are currently only available online.
An interesting aromatherapy brand was Wildheart Organics from Edinburgh in Scotland. Founded in 2014, Wildheart offers five ranges of scented candles and diffusers. The brand’s products are distributed through yoga studios and high end spas. Lovely fragrance blends!
Another artisan aromatherapy manufacturer is Zephorium Soul Tonic. The company specializes in crystal-empowered chakra blends which are available as body care products, massage oils or, brand new, as scented candles. The body oils are based on sunflower oil and each colour is infused with a different crystal and scent: Ruby Crystal & Ylang Ylang (red), Citrine Crystal & Grapefruit (yellow), Aquamarine Crystal & Neroli (turquoise), Amethyst Crystal & Lavender (light purple) and so on. Beautiful colours, check out the pic above!
Aqua Oleum is an essential oil/aromatherapy brand founded by aromatherapy specialist Julia Lawless who has also published several books about essential oils. The brand’s portfolio includes some 100 Soil Association-certified essential oils, around 14 carrier oils, six body/massage oil blends and – brand new – a range of floral water face and body sprays. There are twelve sprays altogether; my favourite was the Eau de Jasmin! The floral sprays retail at 4.50 GBP, the massage oils are priced at around 7-8 GBP while the essential oils cost 4-8 GBP.
I was intrigued by Saaf (the word means “pure” in Persian), another interesting skin care brand from the UK. The company was founded in 2004 by Dr. Mah Hussain-Gambles, a UK homeopath and scientist. I like the high quality of the ingredients used in the Saaf products – there are four body care products (a foot balm, a body oil, a hair oil and a body balm) and three face care products: a balm cleanser and two oil serums. The formulations do not contain alcohol, glycerin or other fillers; instead they are blended from a range of different plant-based fatty oils (such as safflower, sesame, rosehip, jojoba), essential oils and extracts and occasionally shea butter or beeswax.
The certifications are also impressive: Soil Association (organic), vegan and halal. As far as I could find out, their products are available primarily through independent organic and health food retailers – I think Saaf is retailed at some Holland & Barrett’s stores – so we’re talking about a selective distribution. The prices range from 14.99 GBP for the foot balm over 19.99 GBP for the serums (which are actually face oils) to 24.99 GBP for the face cleanser and body oil.
I had read about Brighton-based organic beauty brand Raw Gaia but never actually seen the products in real life. They recently repackaged their product portfolio and the new design is beautiful (see pic below)! Raw Gaia was founded 10 years ago and as the name indicates, they manufacture raw cosmetics. In this context, “raw” means that the ingredients have not been processed at high temperatures (similar to raw food products). Besides their domestic market, Raw Gaia is very strong in the Scandinavian countries, I was told.
The brand’s latest product launch is the MSM Organic Beauty Collection. MSM is short for methyl sulphonyl methane which is described as an organic sulphur compound that can help to regenerate skin cells. The MSM range includes an Organic Beauty Cleansing Oil, an Organic Beauty Tonic, a moisturising Organic Beauty Spray, an Organic Beauty Scrub and Organic Beauty Cream.
The UK distributor for German bath and body care brand Kneipp and US balm brand Badger Balm was also at the trade show. I’m a huge fan of Badger Balm, an organic skin care brand from the US. Badger Balm was founded in 1993; in its domestic market Badger sells a wide range of other skin and body care products but internationally, the best-known Badger products are probably the skin and body care balms which are packaged in the cutest little tins. In Germany the brand is only available online; in the UK you used to be able to buy the balms at most Boots drugstores. However, Boots recently delisted Badger Balms – what a pity. Anyway, at the trade show Badger Balm presented its new a 3-sku argan oil based skin care range which was recently launched in the US. The new line includes an Argan Cleansing Oil, an Argan Face Oil and a rich Argan Beauty Balm.
I had also seen the products of organic face care brand Nourish – the brand was founded in 2013 and already have a pretty solid distribution in the UK. The company is based in London and this is also where they manufacture the products; you’ll find them online, in Whole Foods stores or in Planet Organic outlets. I was also told that Nourish is currently looking to increase its distribution partnership with some of the UK’s supermarket chains, like Waitrose.
It was interesting to see the entire Nourish portfolio; I found the Argan Kale range intriguing, especially the Kale Enzymatic Exfoliating Cleanser – kale is such a trendy vegetable in Europe at the moment! The Nourish range comprises around 30 products across eight ranges and they were at Natural Products trade show for the third time. Oh, and next month they’ll be expanding into France: I was told that the brand has just been listed by Paris-based organic beauty retailer Mademoiselle Bio.
What an interesting organic trade show this was! Rather compact yet very trend-driven, especially in the food section. The next Natural & Organic Products Europe trade show will take place from 2nd-3rd April 2017.