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We Checked Out Biofach 2018, China's Top Organic Products Trade Fair

By May 25, 2018 Health & Wellbeing
When talking about the growth of China's middle class, the representative of Palm Done Right was hopeful, his eyes shining with excitement. Estimation might vary, but according to McKinsey & Company, 76% of China's urban population will become middle class by 2022. "Just imagine the potential of that!" he said. At this year's Biofach China, the Chinese version of world's top-tier organic food trade fair Biofach Germany, hundreds of companies are scrambling to get a piece of the action.

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"It's the largest this year." he added, which wasn't a surprise because trade fairs in Shanghai can only get bigger. Even though the execution tends to remain mostly unchanged. It has been twelve years since Biofach came to China, dubbed "the first and only event for pure organic products in China." This year, it has attracted nearly 500 exhibitors. From May 24 to May 26, about 14 forums and tastings are taking place at the Hall 3 of the World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center. It's free to the public.

Shanghai"

Performances from these Māori girls and guys will probably be the first thing that grabs your attention. New Zealand is appointed as "country of the year" at 2018's Biofach China. Six organic enterprises have joined forces together at a booth close to the main entrance.

Shanghai"

Danmark, last year's "country of the year", has its pavilion right next to it. Wine, chocolate, milk, oil... from bigger brands such as Natural DK to smaller retailers presenting their homemade chocolate. Let's just say they don't look particularly thrilled about this event in comparison with the Kiwis.

Shanghai"

A standard booth costs 1,500rmb/sqm and above. So no doubt the largest displays here belong to the major players. Most of them are dairy and plant-milk brands, for instance, Mengniu's Telunsu and Dali Food's Doubendou. They like to place pots of plants alongside piles and piles of their products, and LED screens playing videos of happy cows and beautiful farms.

No way they would exclude the showgirls.

Shanghai"

Organic and Beyond (正谷) is the winner here for display. Not just because of the lush greenery they brought to the venue. As an official partner of WWF, this Beijing farm-to-table delivery platform has a really wide range of organic food products, all selected with sustainability in mind. A lot of them, like side dishes, milk, zongzi, chocolate, and seeds are sold here, too.

Shanghai"

Shanghai"

To my surprise, not much presence of organic livestock or seafood here. Organic and Beyond, New Zealand pavilion and Chinese soy sauce brand Hona Organic are among the few exhibitors that serve animal products here. And a vegetarian tasting area is located at the right side of the venue, where around six vegan-friendly vendors are gathered together: Gwen's Jiang, If Vegan, O+, House Press, etc.

Shanghai"

Shanghai"

I tried the vegan jianbing from workshop/restaurant Suxiaozi (素小子). Their homemade mock-fried egg, beef patty, cheese powder, and mayo are soy protein, coconut, and konjac-based, instead of the common western recipes that include cashew and seitan. Their bing is made of stone-ground whole-grain flour and cooked at low temperatures... I'm not making it up. 12rmb for half of a jianbing. That's the price you have to pay for greater longevity. Their fried egg tastes really close to the real thing.

Shanghai"

Gluten-free noodles, longan wine, rose vinegar, pineapple enzyme candy, soy milk yogurt, Tibetan barley zongzi.... lots of "miracle foods" here. There are also a couple of plant-dyed textile, organic cotton clothing, herbal toiletries retailers, local publications and organizers that promote the healthy lifestyle. If these things are right up your alley, Biofach China will be a treat.

Shanghai"

Shanghai"

Shanghai"

Shanghai"

It's also a place where you can bring a lot of new information back. Despite the fact that it might not be as innovative as one might expect from its German predecessor, there are plenty of exhibitors from organic certifications, organic agriculture and market sectors. In addition to promising collaborations that's more closely related to consumers: ProVeg International and local NGO Goalblue are working together to bring V-Label products to the Chinese market. Local lifestyle publication LOHAS has teamed up with MUJI for a series of public events to increase biodiversity awareness.

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And...

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I guess this is for you to find out.

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Biofach China runs until May 26 at the Hall 3 of the World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center, start from 10am. You can register through their website or when you arrive on site. No entry fee.

TELL EVERYONE

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