Sana, the international exhibition of organic and natural products, took place in Bologna on 6 – 9 September 2014. A 36% increase in visitors for a total of 43,500 visits, a 10% rise in exhibitors to 620, and 40% more foreign exhibitors compared to the 2013 edition and 1,500 non-Italian buyers – these were the record attendance figures for the 26th edition of the fair. Some of the show’s highlights were BolognaFiere’s assignment as Expo 2015’s global partner in the Biodiversity Park, the area of the upcoming Milan exhibition dedicated to the organic sector, and the launch of Sanacity.
Besides the rise in attendance at the fair, there was also a boom in “virtual visitors” to the sana.it website and enormous social network interest in the tradeshow with more than 10,000 unique users a day during and shortly after the fair – a 38% growth on 2013 – and 41,732 visits to the site during the four days of the show – a 58% growth compared to the previous year. 60 videos about Sana 2014 were uploaded onto Youtube and had 14,200 hits. The Sana Facebook page had 1.4 million hits, and 115,000 Facebook messages and interactive Tweets during the four days of the show alone.
Large buyer delegations from Australia, Austria, China, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and the United States came to the fair, and 2,613 B2B meetings were held in the International Buyers Lounge. An estimated 5,000 participants attended the Sana conferences. Topics ranged from Sana Academy courses, organised by BolognaFiere, and meetings on health and professional or amateur sports, organised by the new section Sana Sport, to technical, medical and scientific conferences on coeliac disease and dietary education in the third millennium, organised by the Istituto di Scienze della Salute (Institute of Health Science).
These are enormous satisfying results for BolognaFiere, organiser of Sana together with Federbio, and highlight BolognaFiere’s assignment as Expo 2015’s global partner in the Biodiversity Park, the area of the upcoming Milan exhibition dedicated to the organic sector. The official announcement of the agreement between the partners was made jointly on 6 September by BolognaFiere Chairman Duccio Campagnoli (on the left) and the Italian Minister for Agriculture, Maurizio Martina (on the right), during the inaugural conference entitled Organic Products and Biodiversity for Feeding the Planet.
“Expo 2015’s theme – Feeding the Planet – places us before the global challenge of allowing everyone to have access to a healthy diet. It is also a reminder of the need to nurture our planet’s biodiversity through organic farming practices. For this reason we, as Expo 2015’s global partner, will bring together organic concerns and biodiversity, highlighting the inextricable link between the two,” Chairman Campagnoli explained. The minister said that developments in recent years showed there were many additional opportunities for the Italian organic sector in the future and that Sana represented an extraordinary driving force for this. Being able to announce this collaboration was a further step to realising a project that had absorbed much energy: to tell the story of Italian agriculture and food at Expo.
Another great success of the 2014 tradeshow was the first edition of Sanacity, the off-grounds events programme showcasing the resources and capability of Bologna, the city of healthy, sustainable food, especially in view of Bologna’s Expo involvement. Sanacity fielded more than 140 events, organised in collaboration with Eco Bio Confesercenti: tasting and trying vegan and organic foods, ice cream, teas and herbal drinks; organic lunches, aperitifs and dinners, toasting with organic wines, and show cooking, along with a series of events for children at the Città dello Zecchino, curated by the Bologna Antoniano Association.
Starting 5 September, Bologna’s streets, squares and porticos were abuzz with activities. These continued through to 14 September, spotlighting Bologna as the green capital of Italy where ecological concerns are a way of life. As announced by Chairman Campagnoli and Bologna City Councillor, Matteo Lepore, next year Sanacity will be a major feature of the programme to promote Bologna’s participation in Expo 2015.
The Sana Observatory 2014 survey, carried out by Nomisma for BolognaFiere and illustrated during the conference All the Figures of Organic Made in Italy, shows a growth of organic foods in Italy for the third year running. The percentage of consumers purchasing at least one organic product over the last twelve months rose to 59% of all consumers in 2014, an increase of 4.5% compared to the 54.5% of 2013, and an increase of 5.8% on the 2012 figure (53.2%). Of those who declared they had purchased at least one organic brand product, 37% said they consumed organic products at least once a week, while some 22% declaring they did so every day.
The rise in the consumption of certified organic foods evidenced by the survey was corroborated by data presented by SINAB (the National Organic Farming Information System set up by Italy’s Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Forestry), reporting on the increase of organic land and operators in Italy as of 31 December 2013. The data were further borne out by the survey carried out by ISMEA, the Services Institute for the Agriculture and Food Market, on sales of organic products in large retail outlets, revealing that in first five months of 2014 these rose by 17.3% in value compared to the same period of 2013. Further data on the organic sector in Italy will be published in our article “Italy: strong growth and interesting new initiatives” early next week.
A positive trend was also evidenced by natural ingredient cosmetics sold through herbal stores. Cosmetic Italia data show that although feeling the effects of the crisis, this sales channel has been less affected than others, posting a 1.8% increase in sales for the first half of 2014 with projections of a 2% rise by the end of the financial year for a market value topping €410m.
Sana 2014 closed its doors with a double Arrivederci to organic sector operators and visitors: see you from May to October at the Expo 2015 Biodiversity Park and at BolognaFiere for Sana 2015. More information is available from www.sana.it