VeggieWorld: Vegan Fair Conquers Europe

Hendrik Schillkes
© VeggieWorld

Anyone who eats consciously – or even completely vegetarian or vegan – will not be able to avoid The VeggieWorld for long. The VeggieWorld started as a rather small vegetarian fair, but now attracts up to a 5-digit turnout and even big retailers like Aldi Süd.

The locations of VeggieWorld are also becoming increasingly exotic, and are no longer limited to Germany. New locations are Barcelona, Warsaw, Paris and a few more. In an interview, Managing Director Hendrik Schillkes told us how VeggieWorld will develop in the future and how veganism will shape the European landscape.

How many VeggieWorlds are there now, and in which countries?
The VeggieWorld, the fair for the vegan lifestyle, takes place in six locations in Germany (Berlin, Duesseldorf, Hamburg, Munich, Hanover and Wiesbaden) and ten further European locations (Barcelona, Bordeaux, Brussels, Lisbon, Lyon, Paris, Lille, Utrecht, Warsaw and Zurich), in each case once or twice per year. Together with ProVeg, we are also organising the ProVeg Pavilion at the China International Import Expo 2018, which will take place in Shanghai from November 5-10, 2018.

Are you planning VeggieWorlds in other countries?
VeggieWorld is growing steadily, and we are excited about a number of other locations. Italy is at the top of the list, but the Scandinavian and non-European markets are also interesting. VeggieWorld is already more or less specifically planned at other locations.

How many visitors and exhibitors do you have per location on average?
The VeggieWorld in Paris is our biggest fair with about 150 exhibitors per event. This is closely followed by Wiesbaden, the largest VeggieWorld location in Germany. The first VeggieWorld took place in Wiesbaden – at that time, 21 exhibitors were present. In Wiesbaden and Zurich, we reach five-digit visitor numbers in conjunction with parallel trade fairs. At other locations, an average of 8,000 visitors come to VeggieWorld.

Which target groups do companies reach at VeggieWorld?
VeggieWorld is primarily a consumer fair for the vegan lifestyle. Exhibitors encounter a curious target group who want to shape their consumer behaviour with plants and who spend money on good food and fair products instead of expensive cars. More than half of our audience is vegan, about 20% are vegetarian. The other visitors in our surveys say that they deliberately eat less meat, and only about 2% call themselves meat-eaters. Our target group tends to be young, feminine, well-educated and urban. Most consumers say they visit the show to discover and buy innovative products.

Can companies also meet potential trading partners at VeggieWorld?
Yes, VeggieWorld is one of the most important platforms for companies to make business contacts. We actively promote this exchange by inviting sales representatives and organizing B2B events from time to time as part of VeggieWorld. We offer the only specialized shopping platform for catering and retail, and currently expect trade visitors to account for around 10-15 %.

Why should companies exhibit at VeggieWorld?
VeggieWorld is Europe’s largest trade fair for the vegan lifestyle. It is a personal platform and a direct marketing channel. Exhibitors reach their target group with virtually no wastage. Products and services can be sold locally. For the majority of exhibitors, local sales at least cover costs, excluding post-fair business. We have many years of experience in organising trade fairs. The exhibitors can expect the highest level of professionalism, hospitality and, last but not least, a lot of fun. With ProVeg International (formerly VEBU), we also have the largest international vegan food organisation on board as a close partner, as well as numerous strong media partners and NGOs from the vegan scene.

Aldi Süd recently exhibited at VeggieWorld, are any other big retailers coming to your events?
We have worked hard for a long time to welcome exhibitors such as ALDI Süd to VeggieWorld. We are proud of the variety of plant products on display at VeggieWorld – from product innovations at start-up stands to vegan gourmet food, well-stocked online retailers and major food retailers. At VeggieWorld, companies of all types and sizes show what’s new in the vegan sector – both vegan manufacturers and companies that aren’t purely vegan. We select our exhibitors at each fair with great care, and strive for a diverse mix. We expressly welcome the decision of the large food retailers and discounters to include more and more vegan and vegan-licensed and products in their ranges – and these products can and should be exhibited with pleasure by us.

Are there special conditions for start-ups?
Yes, we offer affordable stand packages for newly founded companies. Promoting founders and start-ups is very important to us. The vegan movement and our fair depend on fresh ideas and product innovations.

How do you foresee the further development of the vegan lifestyle in Europe?
The vegan way of life is becoming more and more popular in society. The market for vegan products is growing steadily, media attention is increasing and more and more people are deciding to make their consumption plant-based. Global food production is slowly moving onto international climate protection agendas, and the ethical discussion about animal agriculture is also becoming louder and louder all over the world. We are forced to protect the climate, and fortunately the moral development of society is constantly advancing. Medical studies and vegan athletes prove that a vegan diet can be healthy and even prevent nutrition-related diseases. More and more vegan restaurants and the product variety of our exhibitors prove that there is no reason not to enjoy vegetarian food. Veganism is therefore clearly an industry of the future and not a short-term trend.

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