GON « Global Organic Network International

The Organic Lifestyle EXPO will gather under one roof natural and organic food and non-food product. The first event is scheduled for November 2016 and supported by many presentations and seminars held nationwide throughout the year.

With our first project we presented GON and products of several Japanese companies at BIOFACH 2014 in Nuremberg. We had many visitors at our booth in the Japan Pavilion and afterwards inquiries from companies in several countries who are interested in the Japanese market and the supporting services offered by GON. This positive response encouraged us to develop and start a new project focusing on Japan. The Japanese market has a great potential for many imported goods – including natural and organic products, food and beverages, cosmetics and other non-food products..

However, it is also well known that marketing new and imported products in Japan can be difficult, time-consuming and costly. GON can facilitate and shorten this process with various services as explained in other sections. Most services use the Internet as communication tool complemented by networking and direct communication with potential business partners. This is not only cost-efficient but also saves time and expenses for trips to Japan.

Nevertheless, GON cannot and does not intend to replace the participation in trade fairs which is an important marketing tool. Exhibitors can present their products, make contacts with potential customers, gather information about the market and competition and widen their network. With good preparation and attractive products the exhibitors can expect satisfactory results and in many cases also business transactions on site. — With our second project  — based on many years of practical experience with trade fairs in Japan/Asia and Germany/Europe —  we have offered several GON support packages for participation in major Japanese trade fairs.

See related articles on GON.

The response to our campaign offering trade fair services was only mediocre … probably because many foreign exhibitors participating in Japanese trade fairs were not really satisfied with the results and entering the Japanese was considered as difficult and time-consuming.

Things have changed to the better: The organic movement in Japan has gained in strength and number of participants. Nowadays the interest and demand for natural and organic products is continuously growing among Japanese consumers. This applies not only to food and beverages but also to non-food products, such as cosmetics, body care products, textiles, detergents and other necessities for daily life. – Of course, distributors and retailers have also noticed this trend. Consequently, they are offering a wider variety of natural and organic merchandize, domestic products (mainly fruits, vegetables and traditional Japanese products) as well as many imported processed products.

Equivalence agreements between Japan and major countries/regions which export organic products and the progress of TPP and negotiations with the EU facilitate the access to the Japanese market.

North American producers with the support of their government and associations  (OTA and COTA) are eager to enter the promising Japanese market for natural and organic products and conducted several  promotion campaigns in 2015.

Based on the above and other considerations we have started our third project. Together with a team of experienced Japanese partners and several supporters we will organize a new trade show:  Organic Lifestyle EXPO (OLE). The first event is scheduled for November 2016 and supported by many presentations and seminars held nationwide. Our first presentation and press conference was held on 8th December and was attended by over 150 participants including supporters and helpers. This is a large number for an organic event and reflects the growing interest in this topic among a wide range of stakeholders, media and consumers.  

Comparison : OLE vs FOODEX – SMTS – other events

● FOODEX and Supermarket Tradeshow  (SMTS) are both large B2B trade shows with limited (Foodex) or in principle no access (SMTS) for the general public. —  OLE is also business-orientated. However, because the organic movement is rather young and theJapanese market still small compared to conventional products, the organizers and their supporters think that the general public should have access to the event. We discourage sales in the hall and instead have an outside market place where farmers can sell their products.

● At FOODEX and SMTS only food and beverages are exhibited … with a growing number of domestic and imported natural/organic products (much more at Foodex than at SMTS). – OLE covers in addition to food and beverages a wide range of natural/organic products for daily life.

● Even at big B2B trade shows like FOODEX and SMTS foreign exhibitors have only limited success in finding Japanese business partners … among the visitors at their stand and through matchmaking and other services provided by the organizers. – We know this unfortunate fact from experience and will make substantial efforts for improvement through various support activities and services before, during and after the event. More details can be found on our website.

Comparison: OLE vs Organic Expo/BioFach Japan

● The above criteria also apply to some extent to Organic Expo/BioFach Japan and other small/medium-sized events.

● OLE is reaching and integrating groups and movements which are related to organics and have common interests: ECO and ethical products, LOHAS, PGS, CSR, environment, sustainability and more.

● In line with a professional B2B event OLE will connect producers, distributors, retailers and caterers and focus on tangible business results.

● Nation-wide presentations and seminars (about 100 during one year before OLE) will generate interest and better understanding and attract exhibitors and visitors.

The OLE concept and content and how it will lead to success are explained in detail on our websites.

More and continuously updated information can be found  in GON “NEWS” and other sections and on http://ofj.or.jp/en/