Green Week 2018: Closing Report - Trendsetter and Test Market

29-Jan-2018 - Germany
  • Berlin’s best attended fair again attracts 400,000 visitors
  • Expenditure by the public exceeds 50 million euros for the first time
  • start-ups reveal creative and sustainable business ideas
  • GFFA with 70 ministers of agriculture and 2,000 leading representatives of international agribusiness

For the professionals it is the world’s most important agricultural policy event, for the public a unique and memorable experience: This year’s International Green Week Berlin once again served the interests of both groups of visitors. Between 19 and 28 January some 400,000 visitors flocked to the exhibition halls at Berlin’s Funkturm, including 90,000 trade visitors. European common agricultural policy, the digitalisation of agriculture and rural areas, the discussions about animal welfare, the quality and safety of our foodstuffs, and safeguarding world food supplies in the face of a steadily growing population were the main features of the agricultural policy events at the fair. The presence of a large number of start-up companies from the food sector was very evident this year. The introduction of the Start-up Day by organisers Messe Berlin reflects the growing importance of the founders of new businesses, whose innovative business ideas are combining creativity with sustainability. The public were keen to buy and their expenditure exceeded 50 million euros for the first time. The partner country of the 83rd Green Week was Bulgaria. On a hall area measuring 116,000 square metres shows with a particular appeal to the public, such as the Floral Hall, the Livestock Hall and the Farm Experience, as well as 25 stages and cookery display in the 26 halls, met with an excellent response among visitors. The 1,660 exhibitors from 66 countries presented a comprehensive review of the food industry’s international market as well as displays by agriculture and horticulture.

Dr. Christian Göke, Chief Executive Officer of Messe Berlin GmbH: ”The Green Week also has its ’hip’ side. Start-ups have certainly made their mark at the leading trade fair for international agri-business. With numerous innovations in the exhibition section, this year more than ever they have shone the spotlight on creative and sustainable business ideas. The Green Week shows itself to be a trendsetter in the food sector, and at the same time the producers of foodstuffs have used this fair as a test market, attended by hundreds of thousands of members of the public, who are the decision-makers in the shops.”

This year’s partner country Bulgaria was very satisfied with events at the fair. Rumen Porodzanov, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forests of the Republic of Bulgaria: “Our participation in the International Green Week 2018 has been a great success for Bulgaria. We are eagerly looking forward to future collaboration and hope that, as a result of our appearance here, Bulgarian foodstuffs and its agricultural products will not only become more widely known but will also meet with greater demand.”

German government displays intensive involvement

The German government was involved with shows by the Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture (“Agriculture at the Heart of Society“) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (”One World Without Hunger is Possible – With Fair Purchasing and Fair Production”). The members of the federal cabinet who attended were Christian Schmidt, Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Gerd Müller, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Barbara Hendricks, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Environment, Construction and Reactor Safety, Brigitte Zypries, Federal Minister for Economics, and Energy, and Thomas de Maizière, Federal Minister for the Interior.

At the end of the fair Federal Minister for Agriculture Christian Schmidt summed it up as follows: “The International Green Week is the ideal place for discussing agricultural and food topics with consumers. Agriculture is not an end in itself but a way of safeguarding food supplies. Here in Germany we are all grateful to our food industry, which largely comprises small and medium-sized businesses, for our healthy, safe and varied foodstuffs, in quantities never experienced before. I want to see an ecologically sustainable but also economically viable agriculture in Germany – an agriculture at the heart of society.”

Statements by the supporting associations

The non-commercial sponsors of the Green Week expressed their views on the events at the fair as follows:

Joachim Rukwied, President of the German Farmers’ Union (DBV): The Green Week acts like a lighthouse for agriculture and the food industry. It attracts the general public in large numbers, and is an agricultural policy forum of the first rank. The many, varied opportunities for information and discussions about innovative developments and the changes taking place in today’s agriculture and food industry have been seized upon with keen interest and consumers have made use of them too. Visitors were particularly interested in the progress being made and the changes in the conditions under which livestock are kept, in the use of plant protection and fertilisers in cultivation, and in the intensified efforts being made to improve environmental protection and biodiversity. Visitors are fascinated with modern digital systems and the prospects they offer for improving animal welfare and environmental protection. The overwhelmingly positive reactions to modern agriculture and to the achievements of farming families also demonstrate that agriculture continues to be firmly established in society and enjoys widespread appreciation too.”

Christoph Minhoff, Chairman of the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE): “People attend the Green Week to discover and experience something new, and we accurately reflected this with our slogan “What does the future taste like?” New recipes, sustainable product innovations such as insect burgers and coffee cherry lemonade, and rediscovered production methods like cold brew were among a range of attractions that were enjoyed, in the literal sense, by visitors, politicians and the media. With all this diversity our conclusions about the Green Week 2018 are clear: With start-ups and traditional companies, the food industry has staged a successful presentation and made it very evident: The future tastes good!”

Prominent politicians from home and abroad

Over 200 leading politicians from home and abroad attended the Green Week 2018 together with their delegations, and participated in the supporting programme of agricultural policy events. In addition to Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller, the German Minister Presidents Daniel Günther (Schleswig Holstein), Dr. Reiner Haseloff (Saxony-Anhalt), Bodo Ramelow (Thuringia), Stephan Weil (Lower Saxony), and Dr. Dietmar Woidke (Brandenburg) visited their own states’ displays. Representatives of the EU Commission who came to Berlin were Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, and Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.

Leading representatives of the parties in the Bundestag, the German parliament, came to the Green Week in search of information. They included Hans-Peter Friedrich, MdB, Vice President of the German Bundestag; Wolfgang Kubicki, MdB, Vice President of the German Bundestag; Petra Pau, MdB, Vice President of the German Bundestag; Claudia Roth, MdB, Vice President of the German Bundestag; Katrin Göring-Eckardt, Chair of the Parliamentary Group Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in the German Bundestag; Dr. Anton Hofreiter, MdB, Chair of the Parliamentary Group Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in the German Bundestag; Simone Peter, Chair of the Parliamentary Group Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and Dr. Dietmar Bartsch, Chair of the Parliamentary Group DIE LINKE in the German Bundestag.

The opening ceremonies at the CityCube Berlin, attended by some 3,500 invited guests, including over 850 guests from delegations from over 100 countries, were dominated by the partner country, Bulgaria, represented by its Minister for Agriculture, Rumen Porodzanov. Joachim Rukwied, President of the German Farmers’ Union, and Dr. Christian von Boetticher, Deputy Chairman of the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries, represented the non-commercial sponsors of the Green Week.

GFFA calls for sustainable and efficient animal husbandry

How can the keeping of livestock be made more productive in order to feed a growing world population, while at the same time protecting the climate and the ever more limited resources of soil and water, as well as meeting the demands by consumers for the maintenance of high standards of animal protection? These issues were discussed by 2,000 representatives of politics and business, science and civil society at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA), whose keynote topic was “Planning the future for livestock production – sustainably, responsibly, efficiently”. For agricultural policy-makers the highlight of the three-day event was the 10th Berlin Conference of Agriculture Ministers – the largest of its kind anywhere in the world. Ministers from some 70 countries, as well as representatives of the EU Commission and numerous international organisations, accepted an invitation from Federal Minister for Agriculture Schmidt to come to Berlin in order to hammer out some defining features of sustainable and efficient livestock production. In their closing communiqué the government representatives called up their ministerial colleagues and all international organisations to take the appropriate action. They should commit themselves to safeguarding global food supplies, improving the means of existence of livestock farmers, protecting the climate environment and resources, and improving animal health and welfare. The ministers unanimously called for efforts to prevent the emergence of resistance to antibiotics and to contribute to this by opposing the unnecessary use of such substances in the fattening of livestock.

Start-up Day an instant success

With its Start-up Day the International Green Week focused attention for the first time on the founders of businesses in the food market. The first prize went to nearbee (, a sales portal from Munich serving regional honey producers from all over Germany, with the slogan: “Find honey from next door”, which is aimed at both the retail sector and end consumers. Second prize was won by bickus ( from northern Hesse. A number of farms have joined forces under this name, with the aim of utilising the meat from laying hens as food, instead of handing them over to industry when they cease laying. The winner of the third prize was Hiddenseer Kutterfisch (, which produces canned fish on Rügen and is not only committed to promoting regional products but whose activities are also intended to preserve gillnet fishing off the island.

Germany’s federal states score with their regional specialities

For consumers the origins of foodstuffs continue to be a major factor in their purchasing decisions. With the widest range of specialities to be found at any trade fair, the Green Week 2018 again reflected the major trend favouring products from the regions. As one example of the authentic presentations by Germany’s federal states, and with plenty of local colour, the Bavarian Minister for Agriculture, Helmut Brunner, stated: “This year’s Bavaria hall was again one of the main attractions at the Green Week. Visitors were delighted with the incomparable diversity, culture and lifestyle to be found in Bavaria.” Brunner reported that, during the ten days of the fair, visitors consumed some 9,500 kilos of cheese, 5,000 white sausages, 3,000 portions of liver sausage and 900 ducks in the Bavaria hall alone. In addition 24,000 litres of beer, 1,200 litres of Franconian wine and some 300 litres of spirits were served.

The Brandenburg display was just one example of the part that the trade plays in the presentations by Germany’s federal states: pro agro welcomed 260 representatives of various wholesale, retail and delicatessen companies (EDEKA, Kaufland, Rewe Ost, Karstadt Feinkost, Galeria Kaufhof, Netto Stavenhagen, Bio Company, Biomanufaktur Havelland, Obergudt, Real and Chefs Culinar). In an effort to strengthen the region aspects in individual stores discussions tok place about various possible forms of cooperation, which are expected to be jointly implemented during the course of the year. Themed tours were also organised for some 100 caterers and restaurateurs in Brandenburg. Kai Rückewold, general manager of the pro agro association: “The intention is to intensify the collaboration with the trade and catering to an even greater extent, thereby helping to ensure that even more regional products from Brandenburg can find their way into retail stores and onto menus in the region surrounding the German capital. The IGW is more than just a culinary shop window, it is also a trade fair, an event promoting joint ventures, and a platform for discussions at a local and a national level.”

From vegan to street food

Exhibitors of vegan products were present in greater numbers this year. Visitors to the Market Hall at the Green Week were able to enjoy street food, the current fashion in fast food, in a number of unusual flavours. Organic products are still as popular as ever and this was reflected by the high attendance in the Bio Hall. Dr. Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein, chairman of the leading organic producers’ association, the Federation of the Ecological Food Industry (BÖLW): “There is a boom in organics, in the fields and at retail outlets, because increasing numbers of people are deciding in favour of protecting the climate, the environment and animals in economic activities and when shopping. Evidence of this cooperation in the interests of sustainable agriculture, foodstuffs production and good food can also be found in the Bio Hall, now a firmly established feature of the Green Week. It is popular with all visitors as the first place to go for anyone in search of enjoyment and discussions with organic farmers, bakers, vintners and many other eco-practitioners.

Strong presentation by the food industry

Current and future food trends could be found, for example, on the combined stand of the Federation for Food Law and Food Sciences (BLL) and the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE) under the slogan ”What does the future taste like?”. The range included insect burgers and dishes made from algae to superfoods as well as alternative sources of protein.

In this respect the world’s largest foodstuffs manufacturer, Nestlé, is looking to the future. “It all starts with the consumer”, according to the chair of the board of Nestlé Deutschland GmbH, Béatrice Guillaume-Grabisch, explaining the group’s presence at the Green Week. Studies about the foodstuffs market in 2030 have revealed that customers see food as more than just a way of obtaining nutrition: “Food is a statement about personality.” In the future Nestlé will be concentrating on four themes: “sustainability, information, health and interconnection.” The presence of Nestlé at the Green Week was intended to provide visitors with a glimpse into the future, explained Guillaume-Grabisch.

For example, on the combined stand of the German food industry, REWE was testing some of its own brands with differing sugar content. Raimund Esser, Head of the Corporate Communication Division, REWE Group: “The Green Week has been a trade show and exhibition for many decades, and is essential for every dealer in the food retailing sector. For a trading group such as REWE it is an opportunity to engage in discussions with farmers, politicians and associations. As an open-minded food retailer, and especially where one’s own brands are concerned, one must be actively involved and obtain sustainable product ranges. The organic sector must be expanded and, above all, one must think about providing healthy nutrition for consumers and ensure, for example, that recipes contain the ideal amounts of salt and sugar, making reductions where necessary.”

International participants praise the contact opportunities

Elisabeth Köstinger, Federal Minister for Sustainability and Tourism of the Republic of Austria: “Austria is a significant agricultural producer with a high level of internal consumption and also exports a substantial proportion of its agricultural products. With this in mind the Green Week is ideal for presenting our high quality products to a wide cross-section of the public. This is particularly applicable in the case of our organic products.”

Jiří Milek, Minister for Agriculture of the Czech Republic: “This prestigious event is an excellent opportunity for our producers to present quality items from the Czech Republic and to make contact with potential business partners. In my ministerial capacity I have been able to attend bilateral meetings with my colleagues. We endeavoured to find a common approach to the problem of African swine fever, and discussed questions about food quality and the new framéwork conditions of the Common Agricultural Policy.”

Suchaya Tancharoenpol, First Secretary at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Thailand: “We successfully demonstrated that Thailand has the potential for innovative products and sustainable development in the agricultural sector. There was a very positive response, and a large demand, and consequently we are looking for new sales channels for our exports to Germany.”

Bernt Ellingsen, Director of the Norwegian stand: “We were able to successfully present our regionally produced foodstuffs again this year. The exhibitors from the Fjord region alone sold some 10,000 portions of salmon, while elk and reindeer meat as well as salmon from the Trøndelag region were almost sold out.”

Nodirbek Barnaev, Chief Specialist Exhibitions, State Investment Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan: “We make use of the Green Week to develop our export potential, and were able to sign contracts to supply several European countries with wine and dried fruit.”

Exhibitors very satisfied

During the Green Week 2018 over four fifths of the exhibitors were positive about their participation and have already announced that they will be attending the IGW 2019. The main reasons they gave for attending the fair were “presenting their company / cultivating its image”, “providing consumers with information”, “selling to end users”, “obtaining media publicity”, ”introducing and testing new products” and ”establishing personal contacts with specialist buyers”. These objectives were met to a high degree. Over three quarters of the exhibitors assessed the commercial results of their participation as positive, and over two thirds of them are expecting very good to satisfactory follow-up business.

Many high-ranking decision-makers among the trade visitors

Some 90,000 trade visitors were registered at this year’s Green Week. They came mainly from agriculture and forestry, the food industry, the retail, wholesale and foreign trade sectors, and also from the hotel and catering industry. Some 41 per cent of trade visitors held a leading decision-making position in their respective company or institution. They were able to obtain wide-ranging information about the range of products at the Green Week, as well as making new business contacts and intensifying existing contacts. They also used the specialist supporting programme of the Green Week, comprising some 300 individual events, to exchange information.

The public values the Green Week as a fascinating experience

The range offered at the Green Week 2018 met with a very positive response among the general public. In addition to the food products and luxury foods and beverages from every continent, the special shows in particular attracted a great deal of interest. The Floral Hall was the favourite choice of the public, followed by the Livestock Hall, No. 25, and following them, the Market Hall, Bio Hall and Farm Experience, all roughly equal.

Incorporated in the Green Week for the first time, HIPPOLOGICA (25-28 Jan.), Berlin’s leading indoor equestrian sporting event, reported packed grandstands and a thrilling programme of equestrian sports. The riders in Hall 25 presented competitions of the highest standard, which were met with an enthusiastic response by the spectators. The dressage, show-jumping, vaulting and driving competitions were an exciting and moving spectacle.

The range on offer at the Green Week 2018 met with the emphatic approval of 96 per cent of the general public and 92 per cent of trade visitors. The general public were primarily interested in foodstuffs and in luxury foods and beverages, the garden section of the fair, the halls containing pets and domestic animals, and the agricultural displays, especially on the subject of “Holidays in the Countryside”.

Some 20,000 children from schools in Berlin, Brandenburg and adjoining states took part in the Messe Berlin schools’ programme. Classes were able to obtain practical instruction from a programme comprising more than 100 different items.

Green Week gives a boost to the Berlin economy

News items about the Green Week were spread around the globe by the 4,130 media representatives from 65 countries. International coverage, combined with many reports about business and cultural activities, as well as entertainment and leisure opportunities in the capital, provided Berlin with additional publicity with long term benefits for the city. 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 around 150 million euros.

Dates of the next event: 18 to 27 January 2019

The International Green Week Berlin 2018 was organised by Messe Berlin GmbH. Its non-commercial sponsors were the German Farmers’ Union (DBV) and the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE). The 84th Green Week will take place from 18 to 27 January 2019 on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds.

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