The Covid-19 emergency has had a profound impact on the national and international economic landscape, resulting in a slowdown and, in some cases, a complete halt to business activities. Such a scenario has also involved the trade fair system that has been forced to suspend and reschedule events due to the global lockdown. BolognaFiere has responded by identifying, for each of its events and business sectors, the best solutions to kick-start economic activity, starting with its knowledge of the strengths of our businesses and industries but also an awareness of the difficulties that the pandemic has caused.
With the aim of supporting the recovery, the Company has, first of all, introduced a protocol that includes a series of initiatives created to facilitate the reopening of exhibition and trade fair activities, to support businesses, in conditions of complete safety using logistical solutions designed to prevent risky gatherings and to guarantee social distancing thanks to innovative formats suited to the current situation.
Also, for the world of organic and natural products, which over more than 30 years has seen Bologna become the reference exhibition platform for the national and international community, BolognaFiere has developed a specific recovery project to provide support and boost visibility for operators in the sector.
With these objectives in mind, and for a wider reflection on the importance of the sector both from an economic perspective and also considering the growing attention towards the environment, the world of organic and natural products is due to come together in Bologna for the event SANA RESTART from Friday 9 to Sunday 11 October. These three days have been planned to meet the requirements of businesses that need to recommence in complete safety following the pandemic.
“More than 30 editions of SANA and becoming the first Exhibition Centre to receive the 1800 safety certification,” announced Antonio Bruzzone, General Manager of BolognaFiere, “are the best testimony to the Company’s attention to issues concerning sustainability and quality of life. We are proud to have been a part of the growing responsibility towards the environment in recent years. We have achieved this through our events, the capacity for networking that these express also at industry level and by creating institutional initiatives, such as ORGANIC REVOLUTION, the preliminary overview of the Organic sector, now especially relevant in relation to the European agenda on environmental issues. In this post-pandemic edition, our commitment is even more significant,” continued Bruzzone. “SANA RESTART will be the first event of the second half of 2020 and is essential to kick-starting the economy in full safety for exhibitors and visitors alike. Recommencing activities with professional operators whose business has an important environmental perspective will also provide food for thought concerning the future business models that we will all have to consider.”
The discussion forum that will get the event under way will be the second edition of RIVOLUZIONE BIO (THE ORGANIC REVOLUTION), the SANA initiative launched in 2019 that returns this year with a series of themed round table discussions involving experts and key players from the sector. RIVOLUZIONE BIO is organised by BolognaFiere in collaboration with FederBio/Assobio and, once again this year, will benefit from the support of the Office of the Organisational Secretary of Nomisma.
The General Overview of the Organic Sector, which in its first edition in 2019 concluded with the presentation of the “2030 Organic Manifesto” compiled by institutions and associations, will offer a forum for discussions that have been made even more relevant by the Covid-19 emergency that has further highlighted the importance of respect for, and protection of, the environment.
The RIVOLUZIONE BIO will also include the presentation of the 2020 SANA Observatory – promoted by BolognaFiere, curated by Nomisma with the support of Federbio and Assobio and the support of the Italian Trade Agency – that monitors the key statistics concerning the organic production chain, from production to market dimensions.
Among the planned appointments is the convention organised by Gruppo Cosmetici in Erboristeria di Cosmetica Italia scheduled for Saturday 10 October. The event will provide an in-depth examination of the sector of natural and organic cosmetics. The demand for natural products is reflecting a growing trend in the world of cosmetics: furthermore, numerous consumers are prioritising sustainable solutions when it comes to their choice of beauty products or personal care items, in line with the growing attention to the environment.
The most pertinent issues and topics will be at the heart of the RIVOLUZIONE BIO 2020 event as well as other appointments scheduled between 9 and 11 October: all will be developed with the aim of offering new interpretations and transferable indications about business strategy and the daily habits of consumers that are increasingly aware of the importance of individual behaviour and the sound use of resources for the future of the planet.
E-commerce: new frontiers for business
Digital channels are playing an increasingly important role in the sale of certified organic products with online sales experiencing a markedly positive trend: the digital realm is proving to be one of the most strategic channels and still offers vast development potential. BolognaFiere is shining a spotlight on these new businesses by incorporating into the exhibition some in-depth sessions with leading players in e-commerce such as Amazon and Alibaba.
In particular, the collaboration between Amazon and the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), which began in January 2020, continues to grow stronger. BolognaFiere and FederBio are supporting organic companies that wish to display their products at Amazon’s “Made in Italy” showcase, which is assertively promoted on the European and American markets. BolognaFiere will host Amazon at SANA RESTART providing support and opportunities for training for the sale of products through Amazon’s channels. The agreement between Amazon and the ITA will also offer added opportunities for visibility for products of companies involved in the Made in Italy showcase with plans for digital advertising on some foreign Amazon channels promoted by the ITA. Similarly, BolognaFiere intends to support the activities of internationalisation of Italian Organic companies also on Alibaba’s B2B platform, which will be presented directly to the business community at SANA RESTART.
In the area dedicated to the digital experience there will be an abundance of in-depth sessions dedicated to the theme of blockchain, a fundamental tool (and one that is becoming increasingly widespread) to ensure traceability and the prevention of fraud.
An event packed with opportunities
Numerous trends and developments from the world of organic and natural products will have opportunities for in-depth examination and discussion at SANA RESTART; among the new Focus sessions already announced to the business community are: medicinal plants and spices, Free-from products and Tea.
La via delle erbe (The herb road) is the initiative focusing on the use of medicinal plants, which have always been a key element of natural cosmetics and health products. Starting in 2020 a multi-year programme of initiatives will focus attention on the benefits, the current regulations and the relevant topics concerning these precious allies for beauty and health. Organised in collaboration with SISTE (the Italian Society for Science Applied to Medicinal Plants and Health Products), each year La via delle Erbe will propose a particular focus. In 2020 this focus will be on “the golden herbs”: Ginkgo biloba, helichrysum, turmeric and saffron. Also in collaboration with SISTE, a historic partner of SANA, BolognaFiere will create a new tool for professional operators: an Observatory that will analyse data concerning production, commercialization and consumption of medicinal plants, in terms of raw materials, the production of foods (for humans and animals), food supplements, homeopathic and cosmetic products. Also on the topic of herbs and health is a moment of in-depth discussion dedicated to plants with effects on the immune system, curated by ASSOERBE.
Also arousing significant interest is the space dedicated to free-from products that respond to the requirements of consumers with intolerances and allergies. These products are developed to specifically exclude certain ingredients that consumers may wish to avoid for various reasons. Becoming increasingly widespread, in fact, are products made without gluten or lactose, alongside a growing trend for products free-from various ingredients such as eggs, salt, yeast and certain common allergens. The theme will be discussed as part of the new initiative, the Free From Hub that has immediately stimulated the curiosity and interest of professional operators from across the sector.
Another new feature of this edition will be SANA Organic Tea (an initiative created in collaboration with In-TE’) dedicated to a product that is becoming increasingly popular. The best of the ranges of organic tea products will be made available by operators who will be able to expand their knowledge of this versatile beverage and its infinite uses (from breakfast, dinner and snacks to refreshments for meetings). Tea in Italy is the food&beverage product with the highest growth in the sector, +22% forecast from now to 2022, and generates a total revenue of 350 million euros (source: Euromonitor).
Organics the protagonist of the leading distribution channels
To meet the growing demand for organic products, the Italian grocery retail sector is increasingly incorporating them into its product ranges, also offering private label ranges. In 5 years revenues from organic products in the grocery retail sector have doubled, with a substantial contribution from Organic-Eco ranges. This trend has been further highlighted by the Covid-19 emergency that has led to the superior
performance of organic products compared with traditional products. This recognition, also by new categories of consumer, derives from the perceived quality and safety of the organic production chain that is the arguably best expression of national agricultural production and the transformation of food products. Today Italy is the European leader for organics with more than 68,000 farmers and more than 10,000 companies that transform products that are the best testimonial of food excellence in our country and its heritage of local food and wine specialities.
Safety is the event’s leitmotiv
Exhibitors and operators attending the event will be able to concentrate on the focus points of interest and their commercial aspects, secure in the knowledge that BolognaFiere will ensure the utmost safety of the spaces in which the event will take place. All phases of the event, from preparation and assembly to the exhibition and visitor attendance, are being analysed in detail to establish formats and procedures capable of ensuring the highest safety standards for Bologna between 9 and 11 October.
The issue of health and safety has always been a priority for BolognaFiere, which was the first exhibition centre to receive the 18001-safety certification. This know-how has been used to finalise the safety measures and procedures. Obviously, given that the current situation is so dynamic, our existing plans will be updated immediately in response to any new indications that may be issued by the relevant authorities. Each aspect of the exhibition will take place with a particular attention to sanitisation, distancing, the creation of pathways and spaces that enable the activities to take place in full safety during the phases of assembling the stands and exhibition spaces through to their dismantling at the conclusion of the event. Without entering into detail, the spaces will all be sanitised prior to daily opening and the temperature of all users will be measured at gateways equipped with infrared TV cameras. Face masks will be obligatory, sanitising gels will be available throughout, Wi-Fi control room systems will identify the areas where greater numbers of people appear to be gathering, great attention will also be paid to the recycling of air and the hygiene/sanitisation of the spaces, the catering will be managed to enable distancing also offering new services to take orders online, organise user slots and provide catering at the stands.
Planning: a priority requirement
The Covid-19 emergency, which has led to the postponement to 2021 of numerous events originally scheduled for 2020, has further highlighted the need for advanced planning when it comes to participating in trade fair events.
With this in mind BolognaFiere has already announced the dates for SANA 2021: the International Exhibition and Conference for the Organic and Natural sector, which is due to take place from Thursday 9 to Sunday 12 September 2021.
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