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NOPEX takes decisive stance against 'unwanted visitors'

Following feedback from exhibitors that too many companies are attending shows to sell to both exhibitors and visitors without exhibiting, Natural & Organic Products Expo (NOPEX), held at ExCeL London on 14-15 April, took decisive action which, according to the organisers, Diversified Communications, led to a significantly improved event.

The presence of companies selling their services to stand holders, who have invested significant sums in attending, and setting up camp in cafes and shared areas, has become a growing problem for organisers, with increasing numbers of exhibitors stating this as a reason for not attending trade shows and others saying they will attend as visitors instead of exhibiting.

According to Jenni Sandells, Marketing Director of NOPEX, the problem had to be addressed: "We have always had a robust process, but we recognised that further action was needed. We knew we couldn't carry on letting anyone in based on trust, with both sellers and sample collectors becoming an increasing problem. So, we took decisive action, with every single visitor vetted for relevance.

"It was a time-consuming process and resulted in a staggering 34% of registration being denied entry, via an email before the event. With the events industry so focused on numbers, it went against everything we have learned, and it was scary to see so many people being denied entry. However, it also illustrated the scale of the problem. And I'm delighted to say that, although we did see a drop of 16% in total attendance, the number of legit buyers was up, the quality was better, and our exhibitors had a much better show!"

Michelle Sadler's two decades as HFMA science supremo

Dr Michele Sadler is celebrating 20 years as Scientific Advisor to the Health Food Manufacturers' Association (HFMA).

Martin Last, HFMA Director General comments, "Michele has been and continues to be a great asset to our work at the HFMA, bringing guidance and understanding of the scientific issues that we face in this industry. Her contribution as an expert supports us across many aspects of our activity and we are extremely grateful for her dedication and hard work over the past 20 years."

Michele says, "The 20 years I have been working with HFMA have been an enriching and rewarding experience during which many changes and developments have taken place, not least the emergence of a number of critical EU Regulations for the industry, publication of key consensus reports and important committee deliberations and, of course, Brexit. It has been gratifying to see HFMA go from strength to strength during this period - and long may this continue."

Vegfest's plea for cash

Vegfest UK founder Tim Barford has launched an impassioned appeal for cash to grow his vegan events while maintaining support for charities, independents and social enterprises such as community interest companies (CICs).

He says the crowdfunding campaign aims to bridge the 2024 deficit and ensure the continuation of VegfestUK and its positive impact into 2025 and beyond.

"Despite working hard to keep stall prices accessible for independents, charities and CICs, the financial impact of the past few years continues to be felt," he says. "We've secured sponsorships and grants, but achieving financial stability for 2024 requires additional support."

Details and video at

Veganuary's global success

Twenty-five million people took part in Veganuary this year and more than 2,000 vegan menu options were launched globally, according to YouGov surveys in the core campaign countries.

A record-breaking 300 businesses and organisations took part in the Workplace Challenge around the world, with more than 115 joining in the UK, including Salesforce, DocuSign, Claire's Accessories, numerous NHS Trusts, Just Eat Takeaway, British Association for Sustainability in Sport along with several football and rugby clubs and many more organisations.

There were more than 10,000 international media mentions of Veganuary including on the Graham Norton Show, Eastenders, BBC Winterwatch, Countdown, This Morning and Saturday Kitchen as well as features in the Guardian, Observer, Telegraph and Daily Mail.

Founders Jane Land and Matthew Glover (pictured) started Veganuary at their kitchen table in York a decade ago.

EU clamp down

The European Parliament has given the green light to a new EU law that will ban widely used environmental claims such as 'environmentally friendly', 'natural', and 'biodegradable' unless they are well supported by evidence.

The directive aims to protect consumers from misleading marketing practices and help them make better purchasing choices.

Call for health warning on ultra-processed foods

Medical doctor and broadcaster Chris van Tulleken says it is time to apply a 'tobacco control approach' to ultra-processed foods, including a mandatory requirement to display a large warning label on all UPFs.

Van Tulleken, author of the best-selling book Ultra-Processed People, is clear that the explosion of diet-related disease requires a comprehensive regulatory response and says the 'personal responsibility' argument often mounted by industry lobbyists is now "dead and buried".

How aware are we?

Ever since Shrove Tuesday was invented by Anglo-Saxons (get your sins shriven before Lent begins), and its subsequent adaption to pancake rituals, there has been a fascination with awareness days.

Well, maybe Christmas or its predecessor Saturnalia got there first.

In the US, recent nominated days have included National Brown Dog Day, National Ukelele Day, National Tater Tot Day and even Bubblegum Day.

In the UK we have some strange ones – National Sickie Day anyone? – but here are the important upcoming longer-term ones for our trade:

Read more news in our latest issue here...