Closing Report - Green Week 2014: Leading agribusiness fair has a powerful impact
Highest international participation since the debut of the fair in 1926 – Over 410,000 visitors flock to the exhibition grounds – Consumers in a positive mood, spending some 47 million euros
Berlin, 26 January 2014 – Taking place for the 79th time, the International Green Week Berlin 2014 (IGW) again emphasised its function as the leading trade fair for every aspect of agribusiness. With 1,650 exhibitors from 70 countries (2013: 1,630/67 countries), the presence of 70 ministers of agriculture from every continent, and a significant increase in the number of foreign delegations representing agriculture and business policy, the world’s largest exhibition for agriculture, food and horticulture recorded the largest number of foreign participants since its debut in 1926. Despite the onset of winter weather over 410,000 visitors flocked to the exhibition grounds to attend the event (2013: 407,000). At 114 euros (2013: 113 €) per capita expenditure was slightly above last year’s level and provided exhibitors with sales totalling some 47 million euros. Attendance by trade visitors remained steady at around 100,000, the same high level as at last year’s IGW. Between 17 and 26 January the Green Week 2014 provided a wide-ranging overview of the food industry all over the world and presented the products and capabilities of agriculture and horticulture on a display area in the halls measuring 124,000 square metres (2013: 115,000 m²).
Dr. Christian Göke, Chief Executive Officer of Messe Berlin GmbH, summarised the progress of this year’s event as follows: “The Green Week is even more of a leader in this sector than ever before. Once again it has underlined its standing as the world’s preeminent platform for agribusiness. Trading partners throughout the entire added value chain – from producers to the retail food trade – meet here for a professional dialogue as well as to establish and strengthen their business contacts. Only the Green Week can present the production, quality and safety of foodstuffs in such a clear and graphic way. The IGW has become established as the world’s most important meeting place for agricultural policy. At the same time it also provides consumers with a major event with many memorable features.“
The Green Week 2014 was attended by over 200 leading politicians and their delegations from Germany and abroad. Prominent politi-cians from all the parties represented in the German parliament came to the Green Week to obtain information. A number of cabinet ministers attended, including the Federal Minister of Agriculture Dr. Hans-Peter Friedrich, Dr. Barbara Hendricks, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Construction and Reactor Safety, and Peter Altmaier, Chief of Staff of the Federal Chancellery and Federal Minister for Special Affairs.
The opening ceremonies in the ICC Berlin were attended by some 5,000 invited guests, including 900 members of delegations from 92 countries. The partner country Estonia played a significant part in these proceedings and was represented by its Minister of Agriculture H.E. Helir-Valdor Seeder. The guests from the EU Commission were Dacian Cioloş, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, and Tonio Borg, Commissioner for Health. In addition to Berlin’s Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit, the Minister Presidents Torsten Albig, (Schleswig-Holstein), Dr. Reiner Haseloff (Saxony-Anhalt), Christine Lieberknecht (Thuringia), Erwin Sellering (Mecklenburg-West Pomerania), Stanislaw Tillich (Saxony), Stephan Weil (Lower Saxony), and Dietmar Woidke (Brandenburg) visited their own states’ displays. Joachim Rukwied, President of the German Farmers’ Union, and Jürgen Abraham, Honorary Chairman of the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries, represented the non-commercial sponsors of the Green Week.
5,120 media representatives from 71 countries were on hand to report on all the activities at the fair. In addition to visitors a daily aver-age of 10,000 other people were also in the exhibition halls, including exhibitors and stand personnel, service staff and media repre-sentatives. This year’s schools programme, prepared by Messe Berlin, was attended by some 20,000 pupils from Berlin, Brandenburg and adjoining states, who made use of the Green Week as a practical supplement to their lessons.
Per capita expenditure by visitors was 114 euros
Visitors to the Green Week 2014 were keen to make purchases and each of them spent 114 euros, a larger amount than at last year’s fair (113 €). Visitors spent an average of 22 euros each on food and beverages consumed at the fair. In addition the value of the goods ordered amounted to 92 euros per visitor. Exhibitors recorded total sales of around 47 million euros (2013: 46 mi. €). The expenditure by out-of-town visitors and exhibitors at the Green Week provided Berlin and the surrounding region with an influx of purchasing power worth more than 150 million euros.
Statements made during the course of the fair
The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the non-commercial sponsors of the Green Week summed up events at the fair in the following statements:
Dr. Hans-Peter Friedrich, Federal Minister of Food and Agricul-ture: “The Green Week is an outstanding exhibition of agricultural products from around the world and a demonstration of how amazingly diverse food is. Some 400,000 visitors flocked to this year’s event and were able to gain an impression of how important the farming and food industries are to our rural regions. It is important for consumers to know what foods they can buy and how they are produced. We have placed a focus on transparency and reliable product labelling to ensure that customers willing to pay more for higher quality will in future be better informed. This includes the regional labelling scheme, for instance, whose trade launch and presentation took place at the Green Week. True to our philosophy of ’putting customers first’ it is important to provide them with proper information, thus enabling them to make their own decisions and influence the market.”
Joachim Rukwied, President of the German Farmers’ Union (DBV): “The International Green Week 2014 was a success. It has evolved into an international platform for discussions about agricul-tural policy. Consumers took full advantage of the opportunity offered to them by agriculture and the food industry to make use of the dialogue in order to obtain an accurate picture of modern agri-culture and the quality of our foodstuffs. Visitors flocked to the Farm Experience, which proved to be a major attraction."
Christoph Minhoff, Chairman of the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE): “We achieved our aim of informing visitors about modern industrial food production and encouraging them to enter into a dialogue. We are delighted at the continuing interest in the food industry and its achievements, and this means that we shall continue along this path. The Green Week is of major importance to the German food industry and this comes as no surprise, since it is the largest fair anywhere in the world dealing with the subject of food. Furthermore it is the only consumer event at which we as an association are represented, and consequently it will retain its importance for the industry in the future too. The IGW is a show illustrating what we provide on a daily basis for consumers in Germany and abroad in the way of high quality, reasonably priced and safe foodstuffs."
This year’s partner country was very satisfied with events taking place at the fair: “Estonia is very, very satisfied with its participation in the International Green Week. We have succeeded in acquainting visitors to the fair with the many different facets of agriculture in Estonia and its tasty products. There was also keen interest in the subjects of tourism in the countryside and e-technologies.
We found new friends here who are now invited to come to Estonia to experience in person what has been sampled here at the Green Week“, said the Minister of Agriculture Helir-Valdor Seeder.
GFFA: Eliminating hunger is the biggest global challenge
Agriculture ministers from almost 70 countries as well as leading representatives of the food and farming industries and high-ranking members of the World Bank, the EU Commission, the World Food Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) were gathered at the 6th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA). The biggest task facing the world is to eliminate global hunger and to implement the basic human right to adequate food supplies. This was stressed by the ministers at the close of the 6th Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Summit, to which Federal Minister of Agriculture Hans-Peter Friedrich had extended an invitation. The hosts emphasised the vital role of agriculture in eliminating hunger, particularly in view of the expanding world population, diminishing resources and the impact of climate change, noting that the agricultural sector had to become more efficient, adaptable and resilient in order to overcome these challenges. They added that three factors were of decisive importance: diversity, sustainability and productivity. The results of the Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Summit will also form part of the discussions currently taking place at the United Nations on how to shape the post-2015 agenda.
Global trading platform and test market
The Green Week has an important role as a test market for its international participants and the presentations by Germany’s federal states. However, the IGW is also becoming an increasingly im-portant factor in the trading relations between third countries. One person with high expectations of the European market is the Iranian Minister of Agriculture Jihad Mahmoud Hojjati. In view of the fact that ecological agriculture is also an important topic in his own country, he is hoping for more collaboration: “German experts are needed to assist our farmers for grow produce that meets organic standards.“ Two young entrepreneurs, Sören Rosenkilde and Gardar Stefansson from Iceland, succinctly defined the role of the Green Week: “We want to produce the world’s best table salt, and the Green Week is the ideal forum for making many people outside Iceland aware of our salt.“
The fact that the Green Week provides a good opportunity for establishing trading relations was demonstrated by the Minister of Agriculture of Kyrgyzstan, Janybek Kerimaliev, with some figures: “Prior to our first appearance at the fair six years ago we had business links with just three importers of Kyrgyz products. Now there are already 27 of them and we are looking to attract even more partners.“ For the Minister of Agriculture of the Netherlands, Sharon Dijksma, a presence in Berlin is essential: “The Green Week is the place for Dutch agriculture to do business.“ The Norwegian Minister of Agriculture, Sylvi Listhaug, places particular emphasis on bilateral relations: “The Green Week is very important for us. Many Germans come to Norway as tourists, which also makes it important for us to be represented here.“
“The Green Week is extremely important for us because we can find new business partners here“, said Sevda Jafarova, the PR manager of Azpromo, a company from Azerbaijan. Ekaterine Saralidze, from the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture, said: “The trade fair provides us with an excellent platform for promoting our quality wines.“ Particularly in view of the associative agreement with the EU, due to be signed this year, a greater market awareness of products from Georgia was very valuable, she added.
Varduhi Tonoyan, representing the Armenian importer Aniland GmbH, also regards the Green Week as a test market. For the past two years the company has been collaborating with the GIZ, the German Society for International Development Cooperation, with the aim of launching new Armenian products on the European market. The Kazakh firm JSC Rakhat sells confectionery such as truffles and chocolate around the world. Prior to a planned market launch this year, for example, the company tested chocolates with a marshmallow filling at the Green Week. Uzbekistan attaches a great deal of importance to the international aspect of the IGW: “We are looking to sign contracts for both fresh and processed fruit and vegetables“, says Iskandar Iskandarov, Marketing Director for the Ministry of Foreign Relations.
Hall 6.2a, which featured exhibitors from Asia, attracted considerable interest: “Many of the products are from small companies and small farmers. They can benefit from our presence at the Green Week because they are keen to become established on the Euro-pean market“, said Bernadette Romulo Puyat, undersecretary at the ministry of agriculture of the Philippines. The organisers of the combined stand featuring specialities from Japan were more than satisfied: “Even on weekdays we had an average of 6,000 visitors.” Over 30 firms and cooperatives from Thailand were represented on a combined stand at the Green Week for the first time. “We want to increase people’s awareness of our products in Europe“, said ambassador Nongnuth Phetcharatana.
Fahd bin Abdul Rahman Balghunaim, Minister of Agriculture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, expressed the hope that, as a result of being presented at the Green Week, products from his country would “meet with international acceptance everywhere“. His country was participating in the Green Week again following an absence of 21 years. His colleague from Liechtenstein, Marlies Amann-Marxer, referred to the Green Week as “an ideal platform for networking and for an exchange of experiences“. The President of the Federation of Liechtenstein Farming Organisations, Marcus Vogt, regards attendance at the IGW as “indispensable“, because “it enables the Liechtenstein agricultural market to be made more widely known abroad“.
This year’s fair also achieved some successes in the field of agricultural policy: On the periphery of the Green Week the Federal Minister of Agriculture Dr. Hans-Peter Friedrich signed an agreement for the establishment of a German-Zambian Agricultural Training and Knowledge Centre. During discussions with Robert Sichinga, the Zambian Minister of Agriculture, Friedrich came to an agreement with his opposite number about the implementation of an economic cooperation project. The purpose of the German-Zambian Agricultural Training and Knowledge Centre is to offer farmers and technicians practically based training courses in modern agricultural technology and sustainable methods of plant cultivation.
Platform for presenting regional products
The Minister President of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich, was delighted with the active involvement of companies from his state. “The fair is the best possible platform for testing the response to one’s own products and for demonstrating that Saxony also has plenty to offer international guests.“ His colleague Reiner Haseloff from Saxony-Anhalt emphasised the symbiosis of culinary and tourism highlights: “It is a very welcome sign that the providers of tourism services have been sensitively integrated in the presentation by our food companies at the fair.“ One of the most successful displays was that of the Berlin ice cream maker Florida-Eismanufaktur. “The (tested) rose water ice cream was a real hit“, said the head of the company Olaf Höhn. Due to the extensive demand for this unusual flavour it will in future be included in the regular product range. For pro agro, the association for assisting rural areas in the Brandenburg-Berlin region, one important and welcome result was that several regional managers and other representatives of well known companies in the retail food sector such as REWE, Kaiser’s, EDEKA and Selgros all visited the Brandenburg hall. They came to learn about new products and to see the response by customers at the Green Week test market to the innovative items on offer at the fair.
Many varied contacts, information and dialogue
Paul Daum, Kaiser`s Tengelmann, Head of the National Quality Management Department: “For the German trade it is of course good that we have the Green Week, because this is where many dialogues can be conducted. This is also where consumers can obtain information about various aspects of quality assurance for food, and about food manufacturing and production.“
The Chairman of the Federation of the Ecological Food Industry (BÖLW), Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein, is hoping that ecological princi-ples will become firmly established in the minds of the fair’s visitors and exhibitors. “The Green Week is the trade show that communicates ecological ideals. Everyone is talking about organics.“ The associations, the ministry and the exhibitors must strive to meet these expectations.
The producers and vendors of brand name products value the presence of political and economic decision-makers on the one hand, and a broad cross section of the public on the other. Philipp Wachholz, Director Corporate Affairs for McDonald’s Germany, praised the Green Week as an “opportunity to get close to consumers and enter into a dialogue with them. For us communication with the consumer forms the basis for trust. This is very, very important in the food industry, and is the basic reason why guests repeatedly return to our restaurants.“ Dr. Markus Dreissigacker, Member of the Board of Kellogg’s, concurred: “Not only do we meet with hundreds of thousands of consumers, who we can talk to here, but we also meet with many important decision-makers on the stand.“
Exhibitors highly satisfied with their participation
Exhibitors were highly satisfied with their participation in the fair. The main goals of exhibitors taking part in the Green Week were “to present the company/cultivate one’s image“, “to inform the consum-er“, ”consumer sales“, ”exposure in the media“ and “to present new products and gauge public reaction.” The large majority of exhibitors comfortably succeeded in achieving these goals and were satisfied with business at the fair. Moreover, around two-thirds of exhibitors expected follow-up business to be “good” to “very good.” Around 80 per cent of the exhibitors polled were satisfied with the fair and said they would recommend taking part in the Green Week to other companies and business partners. At the time of the survey, around 81 per cent of the exhibitors already said they would be back at the next Green Week.
Trade visitors and the general public very satisfied
An initial analysis of the survey conducted by an independent market research organisation revealed that some 96 per cent of the general public and 90 per cent of trade visitors attending this event were positive in their assessments of their visit to the Green Week. Questioned about the “range on offer“ at the Green Week, 98 per cent of the general public and 95 per cent of trade visitors stated that it was very good to satisfactory. Assessments about their “willingness to recommend the event“ and “intentions of visiting again“ were equally positive for both target groups, at 87 per cent in each case.
The trade visitors came primarily from the sectors of agriculture and forestry, the food industry, commerce, horticulture, and the hotel and restaurant trade. Their primary interest was in obtaining details about the products on display, information about various sectors of industry and maintaining contacts.
The general public attended primarily to acquaint themselves with specialities from all over the world, regional products from Germany and with the industry’s latest innovations, and also to share in the unique experience that is the Green Week. With its informative and entertaining programme the Green Week largely met these expecta-tions. Once again the special shows were a big hit with the public. Among the general public sections that were assessed most highly were the Floral Hall, the Livestock Hall, the Farm Experience and the Organic Hall.
Next event: 16 to 25 January 2015
The International Green Week Berlin 2014 was organised by Messe Berlin GmbH. Its non-commercial sponsors were the German Farmers’ Union (DBV) and the Federal Association of the German Food and Drink Industries (BVE). The 80th International Green Week will take place on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds from 16 to 25 January 2015.
Additional press material:
This press release, 250 reports on all the main aspects of the Green Week, around 1,000 current press photos and more than 290 historic images from the Green Week 2014 can be found on the internet at: www.gruenewoche.com/Press Service.