Well everyone in the organic movement / industry knows BioFach. But I believe there must be a lot pf people who visit BioFach who don’t really know the history. I made a presentation to the group of Finnish companies exhibiting at BioFach this year some weeks back. I wanted to give them some background information: when and where was BF started. It was surprisingly difficult to find that information anywhere. You don’t find it at www.biofach.de. It took quite a lot of effort on google to find anything but finally I did find an article from the German EVE magazine – actually the number published for this BioFach. It hadn’t reached me in print yet. BioFach becomes 20 years this year! It started in 1990 in Mannheim. It moved to Wiesbaden, to Frankfurt and in 1999 to Nürnberg. In 2001 Nürnberg Messe acquired BioFach.
I visited BioFach for the first time in 1995 in Frankfurt. We were the first from Finland to exhibit in 1996.I organized the Finnish pavillion in 1997 when the Nordic countries where the Region of the Year. Since 1996 I have exhibited almost every year. Since 2004 I have exhibited with Organic Food Finland, the export group for organic products from Finland. This year there will be 7 companies from OFF and 4 others companies exhibiting from Finland – the biggest number since 1997.
This is also the first year since 1997 that we are back to some kind of Nordic cooperation – if only between Finland and Sweden. Denmark – where the organic export business is by far bigger – is Country of Year with a huge 1000 m2 stand area in Hall 1. Finland and Sweden – under the “Organic North” banner will have 300 m2 together in Hall 3. Good start and I hope we will benefit from each other.
As you can see “Organic North” has been designed as one block in two parts. We hope to benefit from each others pre-marketing and communication and we are arranging the Friday Night Party together. Welcome! The Swedes have made a lot of noise about Janne Schaffer – the former ABBA guitarist – who will play live on Friday Night. ABBA is obviously important! Snack will be provided from both sides and as the Finnish speciality of 2009 we are providing the drinks: organic sparkling wines from ViiniVerla, the only organic berry winery in Finland. Come and have a taste! I think ViiniVerla will need to find only 1-2 customers in Europe and the business is pretty much done. And you’ll be surprised by the taste and quality. They do have liqueurs and spirits as well!
The other first time ever is the fact that the Finnish Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Mrs Anttila will visit BioFach. Until now we have done BioFach pretty much alone – or let’s say business driven – without the kind of political support f.ex the Danish and Swedish organic industry is getting. No speeches and press conferences etc with lots of people in black suits. I’m not sure how much it helps the business anyway but I certainly do believe that it will have a profound impact on the understanding of the organic industry on the side of the Finnish Minister. Only once a higher-ranking official from the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture has visited BioFach – and that was in 1997! I think they don’t have a clue of how big the business is. And why have they never come? I am afraid the main reason might be pretty “funny”. Week 8 is the winter holiday week in South Finland. You go with your family to Lapland, to the Alps or whatever but you don’t go to an exhibition in the middle of Germany. Guess who hasn’t had a proper winter holiday with his kids since 1995?
Well – see you all at BioFach next week and let’s hope the economic downturn isn’t affecting the number of visitors too badly. See you!