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On 25 May Freshfel Europe held its Annual Event 2023 in Brussels. The event brought together over 100 participants, including experts from the fresh produce sector, European Commission professionals, Members of the European Parliament and representatives from international organisations and associations. The Annual Event Public Conference focused on building a fresh image for fresh fruit and vegetables was preceded by Freshfel Europe’s Annual General Meeting, where the goals and ambitions for the Association in 2023 were set.

The Annual Event of Freshfel Europe 2023 took place on Thursday 25 May in central Brussels. The event was focused around the theme ‘A fresh face for fruit & vegetables. Rejuvenating fresh produce to stimulate healthy & sustainable consumption and featured top-level speakers from the European Commission, WRAP UK, Trianon Scientific Consulting, Planet Tracker and the OECD. The fresh produce industry is facing several challenges relating to climate change, misleading negative public depictions of products, and a steadily decreasing consumption rate. This year’s annual event focused on how the sector will position itself at the forefront of sustainable change, promoting accountability and responsibility to accurately showcase the many assets and benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, portraying a ‘fresh face’ and the true qualities of the products.

Salvo Laudani, President of Freshfel Europe states: “We cannot continue to ignore this problem. Just a few years ago, during the pandemic, we were the heroes. Consumers knew we are a sustainable food alternative with high health benefits and low environmental impacts. Now, fruits and vegetables are more and more often being portrayed negatively, with misleading and untrue information on water use, quality and safety and affordability being disseminated in communication outlets.” One of the most common current misconceptions is that fruits and vegetables have become unaffordable, with prices driven up by the high inflation rates of the last year. However, as emphasised by Mr Laudani: “Estimations from Italy show that in 2022, monthly household expenditure increased by EUR 446, out of which grocery expenditure accounted for EUR 35 with 10 % being attributed to fruits and vegetables. That means that the inflation on fruits and vegetables only led to an increased cost of EUR 3,5 more per month, or 0,1 cents per day, for Italian households.”

Fresh produce is essential to the green transition and is central in European strategies such as the Green Deal, Farm to Fork, Fit for 55 and the EU Beating Cancer Plan. Speakers at the event highlighted the urgency to act now to reach these goals and stressed that although fruit and vegetables have the capacity and qualities of taking the lead in sustainability, there is still a lot more work to be done. Innovational efforts, new technologies and farming practices are still in their infancy, and greater attention must be paid to how to efficiently finance the efforts that need to be made for the sector to remain proactive.

While the meeting identified several areas where progress can be made, regulatory and financial hurdles remain. Philippe Binard, General Delegate of Freshfel Europe remarked: “Fruit and vegetables have a key role to play in the move towards a plant diet and sustainable food chains. Yet, policy changes are placing hurdles on the sector’s journey towards these objectives. Restrictions to the use of plant protection products, packaging, efficient labelling requirements and insufficient actions to stimulate innovation projects and consumption are impeding and delaying the move to fully sustainable fresh produce.

Before the Annual Event Public Conference, Freshfel Europe held its Annual General Meeting, during which the Freshfel Europe 2023 Activity Report, covering the Association’s activities in the period June 2022 to May 2023, was presented to the members. The Freshfel Europe 2023 Activity Report is available online here.

This year, within the context of the world’s most important packaging event, interpack, the spotlight was focused on Women in Packaging, a panel discussion featuring five industry female leaders. An audience of more than 150 people attended the panel on 8 May, demonstrating that this is a hot topic that will continue to be discussed even after the Düsseldorf trade fair has concluded.

Valentina Aureli, CEO of the Aetna Group together with her brother Enrico, was among the protagonists of the panel. She shared her view on women’s position in the world of packaging and spoke about her career path. In addition to her, other prominent professionals shared their stories at the event: Afsaneh Nabifar, Head of Market Development for Biopolymers at BASF; Australian Nadia Taylor, co-founder and director of TNA Solutions; Marjo Halonen, Vice President of Communications at Metsä Board Corporation in Finland; and Gabi Bauer, Head of Marketing and Communications at Uhlmann Pac-Systeme.

For the first time at interpack, this year’s format was organised with the support of the World Packaging Organization, WPO. Furthermore, it was created to inspire and disseminate the testimonies of women who have made their mark on the packaging industry. In fact, until recently, this sector was dominated mainly by men. However, it is now also being positively valued by many young women who wish to pursue careers in this area.

Valentina Aureli explained to the audience that she gained her experience in international high finance at Rothschild Banking. However, over the past two decades, she and her brother have guided Aetna Group towards steady global growth with the main brands Robopac and OCME. “It is important to be the same person both at home and at work, and to always put yourself out there”, commented the CEO, “but keeping in mind three fundamental coordinates, which have helped me overcome challenges in both my personal and professional lives. Be real, be whole and be innovative”. She stated emphatically: “Essentially, this means being oneself regardless of external influences, being whole by following one’s principles, and finally being innovative by employing not only rational, but emotional and social intelligence as well. All this is very valuable in working environments”.

At Aetna Group, talent development is the basis of a rich and stimulating work system, which knows no cultural or gender differences.

Valentina Aureli commented on the subject, stating: “I am fortunate to be able to say that our Group is filled with talented individuals, many of whom are women. We have several female managers on the front line in China, Mexico, Italy and America, even in sectors and departments in which women have traditionally been under-represented and where specific product knowledge is required. I am referring to engineering, sales engineering, after-sales, sales and spare parts. It is also noteworthy that there are women managers in more traditional roles, such as marketing, human resources, and administration. My choices to place women in certain key roles reflect their ability to coordinate and facilitate processes”.

This was a successful event and a source of inspiration for many young women, as well as a very sensitive topic within the Group. The latter had already proposed and organised it on several occasions through the Robopac USA subsidiary under the same title: the first time in October 2022 at Pack-Expo in Chicago, and then twice more this year in Duluth, home of the American HQ.

The Prognosfruit Conference is Europe’s leading annual event for the apple and pear sector, gathering growers from across Europe. After two successful online events in 2020 and 2021, Prognosfruit returns as an in-person event in Belgrade, Serbia, from the 3rd to the 5th of August 2022. Registrations are now open, and stakeholders and journalists are welcome to register via the Prognosfruit website. The complete programme of the 3-day event is now available.

Prognosfruit, the leading annual event for the apple and pear sector, will take place in Belgrade, Serbia, from the 3rd to the 5th of August 2022, returning as an in-person event after two successful online editions. Registrations for Prognosfruit 2022, organised by WAPA in cooperation with Serbia Does Apples, are now open on the Prognosfruit website.

Since 1976, Prognosfruit has released the annual apple and pear production forecast for the upcoming season. This year, the three-day event during which the report will be released will see representatives of the sector gather to discuss the Northern Hemisphere situation as well as global perspectives for apples and pears. The complete programme of Prognosfruit 2022 is available below and on the Prognosfruit website, along with the online registration form to attend the conference.

The 3-day event will be structured as follows:

  • On August 3rd, the Prognosfruit 2022 participants will enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city of Belgrade, followed
    by the Welcome Reception, which will take place at Belgrade’s Royal Palace;
  • The Prognosfruit 2022 Conference will take place on August 4th at the Hyatt Regency Belgrade. In the morning session, the European apple and pear forecast for the upcoming season will be revealed and complemented by an analysis of the market situation in the USA and China and a panel discussion with the major EU producers. The afternoon session will focus on the global perspectives for apples and pears, with an analysis of rising costs and logistical hurdles and an analysis of the sector in the EU neighbourhood;
  • The Conference will be followed by a Gala Dinner at the Kalemegdanska terasa on the evening of August 4th;
  • The event will conclude on August 5th with a technical visit to the apple orchard of the company Atos Fructum,
    on the southern slope of Fruška Gora.

All the information about Prognosfruit 2022 and the online registration form to attend the conference available on the Prognosfruit website.

Prognosfruit Conference, Europe’s leading annual event for the apple and pear sector, is taking place in a few days with an outstanding programme. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Prognosfruit 2021 will again take place as an online event. The event will take place on 5 August 2021 in the morning with an attractive programme for delegates to find out the key factors that will shape the upcoming season with insightful views from industry leaders from Europe and around the world. Registrations are closing soon, and stakeholders and journalists are welcome to register via the Prognosfruit website.

The 46th edition of Prognosfruit will take place on 5 August in the morning (CEST) and will explore the upcoming apples and pears crop for the European Union and its immediate neighbourhood. Climatic conditions will once again be one of the key influencers of the 2021/2022 production outlook. To find out more about the season’s outlook, an attractive programme has been designed by the organizer for this year’s Prognosfruit Conference.

As part of the programme Philippe Binard, WAPA Secretary General, will set the scene for the upcoming apples and pears crop, while Helwig Schwartau, Market Analyst at AMI, will share a market outlook based on the crop forecast. Franz Ennser, CEO of Austria Juice, will provide the latest processing trends and Fritz Prem, Europäisches Biobst-Forum President, will review the latest organic production developments, an important aspect considering the European Union’s ambitions to significantly boost production and consumption of organic products as part of the European Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy.

Mr Binard stated that, “This year Prognosfruit will also have strong international connotations with review of other Northern Hemisphere developments. Experts from the USA, China, Russia and India will share their perspectives on the outlook and trends for the upcoming apples and pears crops in these other key Northern Hemisphere production regions”. Beside and as it was the case in previous Prognosfruit editions, an in-depth exchange of views in panels will take place with key representatives of the EU leading producing countries to learn more about the production specifics across Europe. The panel will also include a representative from the Southern Hemisphere for a broader perspective of the market switch between the Southern and Northern Hemisphere seasons.

Commenting on the 46th edition of Prognosfruit Dominik Wozniak, President of WAPA, stated, “We are increasingly producing and trading under an unpredictable climatic and market environment. Nowadays, late spring frosts, hail, drought, flood, evolving plant health conditions due to climate change as well as factors such as COVID-19 , market access uncertainties or Brexit are significantly influencing our day-to-day production and trading activities. Prognosfruit is the place to learn more from colleagues about how these factors will influence the next apples and pears season. Picking is expected to start this year a bit later than normal conditions. First estimations indicate more production than the previous two years, but we are all looking forward to hearing the consolidated Prognosfruit estimate for a better assessement”.

Luc Vanoirbeek, Chairman of COPA COGECA Fruit and Vegetables Working Group, concluded, “I am pleased that despite the constraints of the sanitary conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impossibility to meet in person, Prognosfruit remains the lead annual conference on the agenda for the apples and pears sector.” This year marks the 46th edition of Prognofruit, an event with a long tradition of being a very professional and productive gathering for the apples and pears community. Mr Vanoirbeek added, “I am pleased that again this year we have a large attendance for this virtual format, but we are all looking forward to meeting again physically next year in Serbia if the sanitary situation allows”.

The programme of Prognosfruit 2021 and the online registration form to attend the conference are both available on the Prognosfruit website.

The global variety of organic food and natural and organic personal care products will be on show at BIOFACH, the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Organic Food Products, and VIVANESS, the International Trade Fair for Natural and Organic Personal Care, between 17 and 19 February 2021. This time, however, instead of taking place in the exhibition halls in Nuremberg, the international class meeting for the sector will be held in purely digital form. A total of 1,443 exhibitors at the BIOFACH/VIVANESS eSPECIAL, 102 of them representing VIVANESS/ natural personal care products and services, will actively contribute to the format of the event by offering digital tasting sessions and product presentations, for example. Sector representatives can look forward to three days full of company and product presentations, knowledge sharing, matchmaking and networking. Of course, the BIOFACH and VIVANESS CONGRESS is an integral part of the eSPECIAL, and participants will be able to experience the digital New Products Stand with its product innovations and trends, in addition to many other highlights. Trends at BIOFACH this year: plant-based products, low- sugar and sugar-free products, functional food, sustainability and social responsibility; and those at VIVANESS: solid cosmetics, me time & comfort, safe beauty und circular beauty.

“In recent months we’ve been working hard on the BIOFACH/VIVANESS 2021 eSPECIAL, and are looking forward to these three days when all the participants will get to know our business platform and use it to interact, make new contacts, do business, and learn about the latest sector developments and trends,” comments Petra Wolf, Member of the Management Board of NürnbergMesse. “The organic food and natural and organic personal care community can look forward to a fascinating, top-quality digital event.”

More than 1,400 exhibitors on board

Among the total of 1,443 exhibitors, BIOFACH accounts for 1,341 and VIVANESS the remaining 102. The international make-up of the event is strong once again, at more than 75 %, with exhibitors this year representing 82 countries from every continent. The top countries by exhibitor numbers, after Germany (365), are Italy (176), France (70), the Netherlands (52), Spain (52), Belgium (48) and Austria (39).

The product areas of “milk substitutes” and “meat substitutes”, in particular, are strongly represented among the exhibitors at BIOFACH. Many exhibitors from the field of “frozen products”, especially fish and seafood, and also ice cream, have also registered. There is also a noticeable tendency for the sector to pay more and more attention to particular product characteristics such as “fair”, “regionally sourced”, “vegan” and “gluten and lactose-free”. One growth segment at VIVANESS is “decorative cosmetics”. Many exhibitors in the areas of “hair care”, “special cosmetics/care”, with particular reference to “shaving aids and beard care”, “chemist articles” and “contract manufacturing, packaging”, and the “oral and dental care” product group are also represented.

The 1,443 exhibitors also include the 15 exclusive partners to the BIOFACH/VIVANESS eSPECIAL: Biokreis e.V.; Bioland e.V.; Bio Austria, Consorzio il Biologico Soc.Coop.; Cultivator Natural Products Pvt. Ltd.; Demeter e.V.; dennree GmbH; GIZ (German Society for International Cooperation), Import Promotion Desk (IPD) and partners on behalf of the BMZ (German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development); GLS Bank; Lebensbaum; Litfood – Lithuanian National Pavilion; Naturland Zeichen GmbH; Officina naturae S.R.L.; Ukrainian National Pavilion; Organic Ukraine Business Hub and Vietnam Organic Agriculture Association.
Inspiration and stimuli: New developments and trends, start-ups and awards

The digital version of the trade fair pairing of BIOFACH and VIVANESS will still include a New Products Stand. In total, almost 500 new products have been submitted by the various exhibitors, including about 350 new product developments in the organic foodstuffs field and 140 for natural and organic cosmetics. And once again, the items considered most exciting and most innovative by the participants will win the coveted Best New Product Award. In addition to the Best New Product Award, the “BioThesis” Organic Food Industry Research Award will also be presented. This is given to theses with an environmental and sustainable focus.

Based on the registered new products, the trend jury has once again developed a list of the current industry trends for the BIOFACH/VIVANESS 2021 eSPECIAL. The trends at BIOFACH this year are plant-based products, low-sugar and sugar-free products, functional food, and sustainability and social responsibility, while those for VIVANESS are waterless beauty/solid cosmetics, me time & comfort, safe beauty/healthbooster, and circular beauty/economy.

There will also be a Start-up-Area this year. The Startups@BIOFACH/VIVANESS will introduce themselves and their products in a number of brief sessions/10-minute pitches in the exhibitors’ forum.

Networking made easy

The objective of the BIOFACH/VIVANESS eSPECIAL is to make it as easy as possible to establish and nurture business contacts using a range of communication tools such as chats and video calls, which enable all participants to get in touch with each other or arrange appointments, quickly and without complications. A special highlight of the business platform is the integrated Matchmaking Tool, which uses a search and offer process to show participants the best matches, i.e. their ideal contacts.

Comprehensive and fascinating programme at the BIOFACH and VIVANESS Congress

All in all, the congress programme comprises 70 individual sessions spread across six forums (the BIOFACH Forum, specialist retail, sustainability, politics, science, and VIVANESS Congress) covering all aspects of trends, numbers, data and facts on the global market for organic food products and natural and organic cosmetics. Of course, there will also be presentations on top themes such as “packaged/unpackaged” and special sessions on all aspects of the main congress theme, “Shaping Transformation. Stronger. Together”. Among the other highlights will be the trend tours on the highlighted BIOFACH and VIVANESS trends. Interested parties can find the entire programme here: or

The congress will be live-streamed, and will subsequently be available on demand for another six months or so, which means participants will not have to choose between two presentations or a customer appointment.

In parallel with the BIOFACH/VIVANESS eSPECIAL, the STADTLANDBIO Congress 2021 will also be held in purely digital form on 18 February. Its focus is the EU’s “Farm-to-Fork” strategy, which represents a sustainable agricultural system for the EU to create greener and healthier foodstuffs. The aim is to increase the share represented by environmentally friendly agriculture in the EU to 25 % by 2030. Participants in the congress will discuss the opportunities and benefits the strategy offers at a city, community and district level, and also how better collaboration can be achieved at an EU and municipal level.

The congress is aimed at decision-makers and professionals in authorities, organizations and businesses. Interested parties can find the entire programme here:

Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) is a continuous process that inactivates microorganisms at low temperatures. PEF application enables an extended shelf life whilst retaining the taste, colour and nutritional value of the freshly squeezed raw product.

Elea PEF is a cost-effective solution with efficient energy consumption that brings new opportunities for product and production, i.e. the option to fill glass bottles. Elea PEF Advantage Pipe systems have processing capacities from 50L up to 10,000L per hour. The systems are easy to integrate and enable a continuous production process with small footprint.

The Elea Managing Director Stefan Töpfl, R&D Manager Claudia Siemer and scientific engineer Julian Witt will guide the attendee through how PEF works, perform a live demonstration on juice and will discuss product and process benefits firsthand. A Q&A session will allow addressing any open questions and one-to-one sessions with the experts can be booked for after the webinar.

Sign up for Tuesday, the 9th June at 1:00 pm CEST:

ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA is rescheduling to 18-20 November 2020 in Singapore to ensure a successful trade show for every exhibitor and visitor coming from all over the world.

“We’ve come to this decision after a long, detailed, and very careful assessment of the situation with our exhibition venue partner and the authorities in Singapore as well as with key people in the international fresh produce business,” says Will Wollbold, Commercial Director of Global Produce Events (GPE), the organiser of ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA.

“We want to help the global fresh fruit and vegetable industry to reconnect in Asia in 2020,” explains Wollbold. “Registration numbers from all over the world for ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA 2020 are good and broad. But in light of COVID-19 we believe it is right for exhibitors and visitors alike that we reschedule to mid-November. This will give themmore than six months from now to plan their participation.”

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) welcomes the move. “ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA is truly a significant platform for the global fresh produce industry, and we’re pleased to host the event at Singapore EXPO on 18-20 November 2020,’ said Mr Andrew Phua, Executive Director of Exhibitions and Conferences, STB. “We understand Global Produce Events’ decision to reschedule ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA, and are committed to working closely with them towards a successful show. We remain confident in Singapore’s strong reputation as a preferred destination for business events, and look forward to welcoming our delegates to Singapore.”

Singapore is a very reassuring location for ASIA FRUIT LOGISTICA, Asia’s premier event for the international fresh fruit and vegetable business.

“Singapore is applying some of the strictest health and safety measures to fight this pandemic, including state of the art technology which we want to make available to our exhibitors and trade visitors,” said Wollbold, “And let’s not forget that Singapore is a key global transport hub with one-flight connections from hundreds of cities around the world. It means it’s so much easier to come here.”

Singapore was also the location of the first-ever ASIAFRUIT CONGRESS in 1998. The one-day conference event will now take place at Singapore EXPO on Tuesday 17 November 2020.

Robotics, Superfood & Software Solutions are the keywords of the first Startup Village by Interpoma, which will inaugurate this year, entirely dedicated to innovative ideas to improve the various sectors of the apple industry.

The future of the planet is based on innovation and research. The biggest threats of the 21st century such as food security, climate change, scarcity of resources and the fight against waste, all have the same common denominator, agriculture. Technological innovation will guide the search for a more sustainable development in all industries. To produce more in quantity and quality, but with less resources (land, water, fuel) wasted, will be on of the biggest challenge and the boom of startups in the last years in various sectors of the agribusiness, will be one of the driving forces behind the development of technological innovations to tackle those.

After two successful editions of the “Interpoma Innovation Camp”, Interpoma – international fair of the apple industry at Fiera Bolzano from 15 to 17 November – will introduce their first “Startup Village”, a platform for the exchange of new ideas and innovative themes in the agriculture-apple industry between consolidated companies and startups with young talents and experts in the field.

The startups interested in participating can fill in the participation form on: Selected startups will get a free desk at the Interpoma 2018 Startup Village from 15 to 17 November and they have the chance to present their innovation to the international and national trade press. The package also includes a matchmaking with the 400 exhibitors and visibility on all Interpoma channels (Trade Press & Press + Web). The cost for the startup amounts to only € 290,00.

The Sustainable Foods Summit will focus on health impacts, sustainable ingredients and green marketing. For the tenth consecutive year, the European edition of this executive summit will be hosted in Amsterdam, on 7-8th June.

The Sustainable Ingredients session will feature raw materials with ecological/societal credentials. The growing use of food ingredients from side streams will be discussed, whilst other speakers will give an update on sustainable palm oil and natural flavourings. Norbert Schmitz from Global Risk Assessment Services will explain how food companies can develop sustainable and deforestation-free supply chains for their ingredients. Piet Haasen from the Sustainable Juice Covenant will show how the juice industry is mitigating supply chain risks and encouraging sustainable juice production.

The Sustainable Juice Covenant (SJC) is a global initiative to make the sourcing, production and trade of fruit- and vegetable-derived juices, purees and their concentrates 100 % sustainable by 2030.
Coordinated by IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, and committed to by leading beverage companies, the covenant is a moral, not a legal, obligation. Enabling private sector companies to make proactive, non-competitive improvements across the juice industry supply chain – from raw materials to consumer-based products such as drinks, nectars, juices and smoothies.

With the support of AIJN, the European Fruit Juice Association, the companies work together to increase social and environmental sustainability at farm and processing level by rolling out sustainability certifications throughout the supply chain. Globally, fruit juice and nectar consumption is at 38,5 billion liters – and 9,6 billion liters in the EU, the biggest consumption region. As the market grows, they recognize that sustainability is the way forward for the juice industry.

With over 76,000 visitors from more than 170 countries, drinktec has chalked up the best-ever result in its 66-year history and surpassed all expectations. The number of visitors rose by 10,000 over the previous event in 2013. In particular at the international level, where drinktec is already very strong as it is, the trade fair was able to grow attendance again, this time by 12 percent. The ratio of visitors from outside Germany thus rose to 67 percent. The number of exhibitors increased to 1,749 from 80 countries – likewise a new record. That is mainly attributable to the wine technology trade fair SIMEI, which was held as part of drinktec for the first time, as well as further growth in the number of exhibitors at drinktec itself.

In particular the number of visitors from overseas is testimony to the fact that drinktec is a worldwide event and is rightly regarded as the industry’s global economic summit. The number of visitors from China was more than 2,000, an increase of 65 percent. That means China already occupies second spot in the rankings of the top 10 countries of origin for visitors – behind Italy, which likewise recorded a sharp increase thanks to SIMEI: by around 45 percent to 5,240 visitors. There was also a striking rise in attendance from South America. SIMEI apparently helped boost the number of visitors from Argentina to 545 (an increase of 165 percent). 1,100 visitors came from Brazil, a rise of 40 percent. France, likewise a wine country, came fourth this year with 1,800 visitors. Apart from Italy, China and France, other countries in the top ten were Russia (1,857 visitors), the UK (1,619), the U.S. (1,570), Austria (1,567), Spain (1,254) and the Netherlands (1,221).