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What’s going on?

CBD, packaging, vegan – even the humble loofah has a trend-setting role to play as the industry swoops on ExCeL London for Natural & Organic Products Europe.

More than ever before, the health food industry’s Big Show is going to provide retailers with ideas and pointers for innovation and expanding trade just as the doom-mongers are predicting the death of the high street.

Natural & Organic Products Europe always attracts the leading innovators, influencers, trailblazers and decision makers but this year the 10,000+ visitors will want to quiz suppliers about several burning issues.

Will I have the freedom to sell the burgeoning number of CBD products that are coming on to the market or will stuffy legislators take away this lifesaver?

How can I capitalise on blossoming vegan demand – and has anyone created an appealing cheese alternative?

How can I meet customer expectations to reduce plastic packaging and remove microplastics in household and toiletries?


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Will organic produce always be more expensive than non-organic when the market shows increasing consumer demand?

What advances have been made in VMS delivery systems?

What’s the next miracle that quality probiotics can offer, according to scientific research?

And how will Brexit affect the health food sector?

Show organiser Diversified Communications UK asked some of its regular attendees to share their insights on the key trends they think will be shaping natural and organic health food retailing in 2019. More than 700 exhibitors will showcase the best choice of eco and clean label products from around the world – including supplements, superfoods, personal care and beauty, natural living, and food and drink.


Graham Keen, Health Food Manufacturers’ Association executive director

I have been saying for a while now to anyone who will listen that we are receiving very clear signals that our industry is being scrutinised by the enforcement community. So staying the right side of enforcement authorities is important. In terms of product opportunities, three obvious areas set for continued dynamic growth are CBD-containing products, turmeric and curcumin-based products and supplements targeting children, e.g. gummies. But we’re also expecting to see a rising interest in personalised daily vitamin subscriptions in 2019, as people adopt more unique diets and also see the benefits of the subscription model in their busy lives.

Fiona Klonarides, founder of The Beauty Shortlist

Hemp is an extremely fast-growing crop with a multitude of uses, not just for beauty and wellness, but also fashion, paper, packaging, bags and more. CBD’s flexible delivery methods (e.g. drops, tinctures, gummies, salves) could make it this year’s most in-demand stress, sleep and pain solution. There’s still a lot of confusion between CBD and THC though (THC being the substance with mind-altering effects), but as we all start reading more about it, and with more online and bricks-and-mortar CBD stores opening up, it’ll be better understood.


Richard Anderton, buyer at The Health Store

One major area we are seeing growth in is consumers seeking alternative to plastics in the home and natural cleaning aids for the kitchen, such as coconut- and loofah-based scrubbers/scourers that remove the need to use plastic products that release microplastic into the ecosystem every time we use them. Consumers are looking to be sure the products they buy are fully compostable down to molecule level, and not just biodegradable.

Joe Jackson, director of Apothecary 27

I think that the zero waste and refill movement will have a great impact on the health and wellness industry this year. Not only are people becoming more conscious about the food they’re eating, but they’re also questioning what their food is being packaged in, and whether it’s necessary. This is driving people into their local health shops and zero waste stores to not only reduce their waste, but to also learn how to do it effectively. We have more and more people requesting more refillable goods, such as food and body care.

A world of vegan innovation

With over a third (39%) of the show’s pre-registered visitors looking to source both vegan and vegetarian food at the show, the Vegan World Pavilion will showcase brands from the UK, Europe, Southeast Asia, Canada and USA.


More than 400 natural and organic food and drink companies will exhibit across the entire show, 60% of them expected to include vegan products.


The Vegan Society, supporting the vegan pavilion, will exhibit alongside many brands holding the Vegan Society trademark certification.

Trademark marketing manager Abigail Stevens says: “With The Economist calling 2019 the ‘Year of The Vegan’, it’s clear veganism is a trend that continues to sustain significant growth, not only in the UK, but around the world. The market for vegan food, health products and a full vegan lifestyle is constantly growing.”

For an exhibitor list, visit


Shona Wilkinson, director of Shona Wilkinson Nutrition

It’s not enough to just have a good product nowadays – our consumers are demanding so much more and have huge environmental expectations. They are also willing to pay more for products which show environmental responsibility. Products will be examined, and questions asked about the ethics around the ingredients, the packaging and the company. Are the ingredients ethically sourced, are they sustainable? Transparency and traceability will be incredibly important.


Bettina Campolucci Bordi, plant-based chef and blogger at Bettina’s Kitchen:

Plant-based, also known as veganism, is going mainstream and is definitely here to stay. This year many big retailers and chains have added vegan options to their product lines. Meat replacements also seem to be a steady growing industry, Beyond Burger paving the way, along with new trends such as jackfruit that started last year but is only now catching on properly.


Rick Hay, nutritional director at Healthista

Plant-based options will continue to expand as people seek both more ethical and sustainable products. I think there will also be more interest in both the vitamin and botanical sectors in therapeutic phytonutrients like berberine in Barberry and Safranal from saffron, for example. Newer superfoods will also come to the forefront, with algae being one of them.



Richard Anderton, buyer at The Health Store

The digestive category (probiotics, digestive aids, stomach-related) will continue to dominate in 2019. As more consumers come to realise that the digestive system has a profound effect on many aspects of the body that initially seem quite unrelated to the stomach, the demand for targeted products will grow.

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