Destination-Kerala-Rudy-(3)

London: A major show bristling with natural and organic products had its two-day run at the spacious ExCel exhibition centre here, ending on April 3.

It showcased the year’s best new products, insights and innovations. Ayurveda in various forms surfaced on the stands of more than 100 exhibitors, alongside coconut and turmeric as well as other spices.

Called Natural & Organic Products Europe, the annual event celebrated its 21st appearance and drew more than 10,000 visitors, bringing together 700 leading exhibitors from around the world along with key buyers and retailers spanning the food, beauty, health and eco-label categories. A delighted Carol Dunning, the event’s director, said it was an “exciting time” for the industry which retains its “can-do attitude, energy and positivity”.

She was backed by the Soil Association’s latest organic market report which stated that the UK’s organic sector is “thriving”, now worth more than £2 billion, with a 7.1 per cent increase in total organic sales in 2016.

Representatives from big names like Amazon, Boots, Aldi, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Ocado, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Superdrug, Lloyds Pharmacy, John Lewis, Holland & Barrett, Whole Foods Market, Infinity Foods, Planet Organic, The Health Store, Suma, Revital, Harrods, TK Maxx, John Bell & Croyden, Debenhams, Pret A Manger, Abel & Cole, Costco, Marston’s, BaxterStorey, Sodexo, Elior, Glendola Leisure, Aramark, Fenwick, Hilton, LoveLula, Naturisimo, Victoria Health, Feelunique, The Natural Dispensary, The Hut Group, BigGreenSmile, GNC, NBTY, CLF Distribution, Simply Wild, Bio-Planet, Axfood, nemlig, Helsemin, Biofood, Udea, Ruohonjuuri Oy, and Life Europe, were joined by independent retailers, wholesalers and distributors from across the UK and Europe who were busy talking to exhibitors as well as networking and attending several talks given by experts.

The show, described as “great, intense and exciting” by CEO Paul Moore of the Organic Trade Board, launched thousands of new natural and organic products across the European market, including supplements, botanicals, herbal medicines, superfoods, and products encompassing personal care and beauty, eco-household, and food and drink products.

There were international pavilions from Italy, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey, Greece, France, and the USA, a new Vegan World area (supported by The Vegan Society), the Soil Association & Organic Trade Board Pavilion (now 60 per cent bigger), Soil Association Organic Beauty Pavilion, Thai Beauty, and NATRUE Pavilion.

Destination Kerala spoke to Vicky Henley, CEO of the Coconut Company which has been in business for just over two years and produces 17 flavoured juices as well as organic coconut vinegar, oil, nectar, flour and milk. She imports around 10 to 15 tons of coconuts each quarter from the Philippines and Sri Lanka and says. “I’m always looking for opportunities to expand and innovate and would be happy to consider any approaches from Kerala.”

Living Ayurveda Products had an eye-catching stand manned by territory sales manager Dhaval Bhatt. He told Destination Kerala: “We have worked with Dr. Brennan, an Ayurvedic practitioner, to produce three organic SuperFood powders for the three main mind-body types – Vata, Pitta and Kapha.” Sampling, he said, gave customers the opportunity to notice “an immediate balancing effect” after taking the powders. The Vata powder includes cinnamon and the Pitta contains fennel for “delicious flavours.” He also distributed a booklet on the three Ayurvedic types including recipes for soups and smoothie drinks with associated spices like hing, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, cumin, ginger and turmeric.

Turmerlicious produces a hot drink of the same name made from a blend of turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, coconut milk and coconut sugar. Turmerlicious says the drink is “dairy-free, caffeine-free, gluten-free with no artificial preservatives and no refined sugar.” Flavours are vanilla, ginger, choco and chill choc.

Amit Seyani, MD of Dash Organics – slogan “we are undeniably coco about coconuts!” was busy dealing with enquiries about his organic coconut water. “Our product is a great way to hydrate and stay nourished,” he said.

Jaindi Exports of Sri Lanka showed its frozen coconut water as well as coconut butter and cream, plus curry powder and curry leaves.

Rash Nagar, MD of the Pure Juice Company, handed out samples of his organic “never from concentrate” drinks. He told Destination Kerala: “The juices are processed to minimise oxidation while retaining all the goodness and giving the best natural taste.” Flavours include pomegranate and watermelon.”

Skincare and beauty lotions, potions, creams and sprays, all emanating from the bountiful cupboards of Mother Nature, attracted armies of women applying products to the backs of their hands and giving them sniffing approval. A vegan intimate personal lubricant for women’s sexual health and wellbeing, launched without any animal testing, promised “gentle additional moisture ” by its German manufacturer Pjur Med. Organic pioneer Daniel Galvin Jr., a celebrity hair colourist, presented four product lines, including OrganicHead, the first salon brand to be registered with the Vegan Society. He said: “Consumers are becoming more aware that what they put ON their body is as important as what they put IN their body.”As a result the last few years have seen a huge growth in demand for organic beauty products, particularly those awarded with legitimate kite marks from independent certification bodies such as the Soil Association. Good Bubble, which manufactures a collection of “natural, superfruit toiletries for babies and children” launched its new pure coconut oil product, “lightweight and non-greasy with a natural coconut scent, a multi-purpose moisturiser”.

Mahi Naturals displayed its “natural skincare brand for eczema and psoriasis” including coconut oil, as well as its bamboo toothbrushes. Tropica had its traditional Malay beauty recipes and premium virgin coconut oil, “one of nature’s very best ingredients for skin”. Its spa range offers coconut massage oil, herbal cream, cleansing oil and moisturiser. Dr. Bronner displayed its natural soap. “The production of the coconut, palm and olive oils we put in our soap helps to improve the livelihoods of farmers, workers and communities that produce them”, selling throughout the world. The Konjac Sponge Company said its products deliver the “most amazing cleansing experience using the purest, most natural ingredients”.

Health-boosting advice assailed visitors from all sides highlighting the value of organic and gluten-free products with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and suitable for vegans and vegetarians. “No salt added” was another reassuring slogan.

Motion Nutrition showed its health food and sports supplements, including organic coconut whey protein as well as coconut water “one of the most popular natural hydration drinks thanks to its high electrolyte content”; Fudco offered a variety of teas including flavours of spiced masala, cardamom, herbal ginger and cinnamon and aniseed, promising that “ginger warms, aids digestion and boosts circulation; cardamom is mood-enhancing, eases brathing and aids digestion; cinnamon improves circulation and reduces fatigue; pepper boosts circulation, digestion and nutrient absorption, cloves warm and relieve pain; and nutmeg eases digestion”. Mr Organic showed its range of Italian sauces, pasta, rice, beans and spreads chilli and garlic and red pepper pesto.

More than 70 speakers were in full flow and talks included topics on improving digestion, fermented turmeric creating a “bio-active, living powerhouse”, various forms of stress, the myth and reality of sugar,using food as medicine, the potential for vegan beauty products” and a host of others in three packed theatres. Live cooking demonstrations included sessions by Dr. Rupy Aujla who is also a chef creating recipes with “health benefits” in mind.

In a recent issue of Casual Dining magazine, group editor Tristan O’Hana commented that consumers these days are requesting “gluten-free,dairy-free, meat-free, nut-free and anything else-free…and as humble servants of service, the effortlessly accommodating operators among you will happily oblige.”