Despite the challenges of COVID, and the last-minute Victorian lockdown, this year’s Naturally Good Expo was a resounding success drawing huge crowds of retailers, distributors and media.
The two-day trade show held on May 30-31 showcased more than 220 exhibitors from around the nation in diverse areas of food, beauty, health and homewares, as well as 17 leading business speakers. A multitude of influential buyers attended the event at Sydney’s International Convention Centre with interest ramped up due to increased global interest in health and wellness.
Naturally Good’s Commercial and Digital Innovation Manager, Lynn Ormiston, said the expo which has been running since 2015, exceeded all expectations. “Given the cancellation of last year’s expo due to COVID, we were on high alert throughout the year. However, the crowd turn-out was fantastic with exhibitors saying they were constantly busy with distributor enquiries and meetings.”
Ms Ormiston said the Victorian snap lockdown, which began just two days before the show’s commencement, resulted in a number of exhibitors from the state not being able to make the event.
“That was really unfortunate considering how much effort exhibitors go to, although the majority of Victorian exhibitors were able to make it across to NSW in time, pulling out all stops to get here. Additionally, numerous Victorian distributors weren’t able to make it, however, we have provided their contacts to inquiring businesses and will continue to work with these impacted brands.
“This year has been unprecedented given all the challenges however we did our utmost to put on a COVIDSafe event and the feedback from attendees has been overwhelmingly positive.”
This year, some of the most unusual Australian products in the food and beverage industry were front and centre including functional beverages featuring a wide variety of health benefits such as collagen infused coffee, hangover juice and energising soft drinks, as well as gut immunity-boosting foods containing black garlic, cricket powder, turmeric, seaweed, camel milk and bone broth.
The beauty and personal care industry were well-represented with many products featuring vitamin and nutrient-infused products. Sustainability was also a major draw with chemical-free agents, cleaning devices and waste-free products on display.
The annual Pitch Fest competition was fiercely competitive with innovative businesses including insect producers Circle Harvest, children’s nutrition company Sprout Organic, plant milk business Ulu Hye and seaweed producer Alg Seaweed explaining to judges why their products are ones to watch. Queensland business I Am Grounded was named the winner for their use of upcycling the natural by-product of discarded coffee fruit into sustainable snacks and for providing economic opportunities for impoverished coffee-producing communities.
In addition, the speaker sessions featuring some of the nation’s most knowledgeable leaders provided invaluable insights. Popular topics included Getting Cred with Gen Z, How to Grow and Sell Your Independent Retail Business, and Understanding Your Customers On An Emotional Level For Retail Success.
Keynote speaker Adriana Heinzen from global market research group Mintel said in particular stress and burnout accelerated by the pandemic had created a demand for functional products.
“Food and drink manufacturers will incorporate more substances such as nervines and adaptogens [botanical substances] into products to help the body restore balance and cope with physical or mental stress. Nootropics normally seen in beverages to improve cognitive function will also be more commonplace as will nutrient-packed foods for immunity.”
Ms Ormiston said the expo continues to grow each year with the number of trade visitors and sheer volume of brands exhibiting. “This a reflection of high market demand in the natural products space. We also had a fantastic turnout for our comprehensive Business Summit program on May 28, and had great feedback from exhibitors, visitors and partners. We look forward to planning next year.”
The Naturally Good expo will return to Sydney next year on 6-7 June 2022 at the ICC.