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January 26, 2020

Closing Report - Green Week 2020:

Strong impetus for sustainability in the food industry and agriculture

The impact of climate change and intensive discussions about sustainable, resource-protecting and ecological production methods provided the agricultural policy emphasis during the fair

Attendance of more than 400,000 at the fair and congresses – 

Public keen to buy, spending 52 million euros

An intensively conducted dialogue on agricultural policy, a global overview of the food industry and agriculture at both a national and an international level, and a rewarding experience for the general public: In 2020 the International Green Week Berlin confirmed its standing as the world’s leading trade show for agriculture, food and horticulture. As was the case last year, attendance at the fair and congresses in the halls on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds exceeded 400,000, including some 90,000 trade visitors (2019: 85,000) from 75 countries. Discussions focused on the challenges faced by agriculture and the food industry as a result of climate change, and on proposed solutions aimed at finding production methods that are sustainable and ecological and that conserve resources. The quality and safety of foodstuffs, animal welfare and safeguarding world food supplies were the subjects of many discussions at the fair. The movement “Fridays for Future” participated in the Green Week for the first time. There was also a very positive response to the new combined stand for the producers from 14 African countries, who were exhibiting highly exportable products to the European market. The highlight for all riding enthusiasts was HIPPOLOGICA (24 – 26 Jan.), the big equestrian event at the Green Week. A high volume of orders and good contacts with the retail food trade were reported by the exhibiting countries, and by Germany’s federal states. This also included bilateral business deals and contacts between individual countries.

The public were keen to buy and their expenditure exceeded 52 million euros (2019: 51 mi. €) on items consumed at the fair or for the purchase of goods. The 85th Green Week took place from 17 to 26 January 2020 with 1,810 exhibitors, a new record (2019: 1,751), from 72 countries (2019: 61), and occupied a hall area of 129,000 square metres (2019 125.000 m²).

Dr. Christian Göke, Chief Executive Officer of Messe Berlin GmbH: “More than ever before the Green Week 2020 emphasised its role as the most important of platforms for a dialogue about the challenges facing agriculture and the food industry. It brings together all the participants in the market and offers all social groups a stage where questions about the future of agriculture and the food industry can be discussed, and solutions examined, in both a national and a global context. In this way the Green Week reflects the current debate within society about sustainability and protecting the climate and the environment. This dialogue was not only conducted intensively on the Exhibition Grounds, but also at numerous events taking place throughout the country. This is further confirmation of the impact of the Green Week on social policy and the media. For thousands of representatives of the food trade the Green Week was a centre for contacts and conducting business, as well as a market place where exhibitors could test their products and marketing concepts in the presence of hundreds of thousands of consumers. Furthermore it provided a stage with widespread media coverage for trendsetters and start-ups. And for consumers, who are the decision-makers in the shops, the Green Week offered invaluable information and a memorable experience. For Messe Berlin the Green Week 2020 provided the perfect start to the new year of trade shows.”

Partner country Croatia expects an export boost

Taking as its slogan ’The culture of agriculture’, this year’s partner country Croatia presented first-class food and farming industry products from Istria, Slavonia, Dalmatia and Central Croatia. Andrej Plenkovic, prime minister of Croatia, said the partnership with the Green Week was ”the ultimate achievement“. As Croatia and Germany were each occupying the presidency of the EU Council in 2020, they were also both committed to passing the new joint agricultural policies in accordance with the wishes of the farming sector. European foodstuffs had to set the global standard, he said. Croatia’s Minister of Agriculture Marija Vučković was confident that the partnership with the Green Week would lead to a boost in Croatian food exports. According to the Finnish ambassador to Berlin, in the five months following Green Week 2019, Finland, the partner country of last year’s event, witnessed a 48 per cent increase in exports.

German government displays intensive involvement

This year particular mention should be made of the active involvement of the German government. Julia Klöckner, Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, summed up: “With our slogan in the hall ‘You decide’ we have enabled visitors to change their perspective. We were able to show them how they, as consumers, can have a say and make decisions in their everyday lives, thereby exerting an influence on what is produced in the long term. The Green Week was also the starting point for our series of dialogues. Farmers and consumers feel massively misunderstood, and there is a lack of appreciation for those who live and work in the country. For this reason, from the start of the year we have extended a nationwide invitation for everyone to sit around the same table – environmental associations, politicians, the media, consumers and, of course, our farmers. We must retain an open mind towards the positions and the attitudes of others.” In addition to the ministry of agriculture, special shows are also being presented individually by the ministries of development, the environment and research. A total of seven federal ministers undertook tours of the Green Week 2020 in search of information: Julia Klöckner, Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Gerd Müller, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Franziska Giffey, Federal Minister for Families, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister for Education and Research, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Federal Minister for Defence, and Dorothee Bär, Minister of State for Digitalisation. Numerous minister-presidents of various federal states as well as leading representatives of the parties in the Bundestag (lower house) also undertook their own tours to obtain information. The prominent guests also included Janusz Wojciechowski, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Stella Kyriakides, EU Commissioners for Health and Food Safety.

Food security the key topic at the GFFA

The effects of climate change and the rapid growth in the world’s population are putting an added strain on resources which are unevenly distributed and in short supply. How can trade balance this situation? And how must it take place in order to ensure food security, diversity and sustainable supplies? These were the key topics at the 12th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA). From 16 to 18 January around 2,000 participants representing politics, business, research and society accepted the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture's invitation to take part in discussions under the heading 'Food for everyone – diverse, safe and sustainable'. The high point of the GFFA was the 12th Berlin Agriculture Ministers' Conference, at which Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner welcomed 71 colleagues from around the world as well as representatives of 12 international organisations. They included the African Union (AU), the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), the European Commission, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the World Bank, die Word Trade Organization (WTO), and the World Food Programme (WFP). The participants summarised the results of their talks in a joint communiqué, in which they pledged to promote international agricultural trade and to also make it sustainable.

Sponsoring associations in a dialogue with politicians and consumers

The non-commercial sponsors of the Green Week 2020 assessed the course of this event as follows: Joachim Rukwied, President of the German Farmers’ Union (DBV): “The Green Week was once again a major success for the German Farmers’ Union. After a difficult year it was particularly important for us in agriculture to be able to engage in a dialogue with consumers and politicians. During the many discussions with consumers and politicians we were able to explain how important it is to have a reliable set of background conditions, and the need for higher expenditure at retail outlets to ensure better animal welfare. And we were able to show the efforts that we are making on our farms to help stabilise the climate and retain the diversity of species.”

Christoph Minhoff, Chairman of the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE): “Our slogan ’What will the future taste like’ became the guiding theme of the fair. Under this heading the German food and drinks industry provided impressive evidence of a lasting and open attitude to civil society. On our own stand and also in the halls of Germany’s federal states consumers had opportunities to experience and taste products of the present day and the future. In this way the industry can show that it takes people’s wishes, hopes and concerns seriously, and is in the process, together with consumers, of resolving these issues. For our companies the Green Week is therefore one of the most important platforms for a dialogue with customers, politicians and society, on subjects such as climate protection and sustainability. Whether it concerns the avoidance of plastic, action to deal with food wastage, or vegetarian sausages, here in Berlin we as foodstuffs producers have shown that the products and the companies that make them deserve to be appreciated.”

Trend towards regional products

Among the public and also among trade visitors there has been a very good response to products of a regional nature. Small and medium sized enterprises on the national and the international displays reported increased interest in regional products on the part of the representatives of trade and catering, which will result in more follow-up business after the fair.

Brand names and the retail food sector fly the flag

Brand names in the food sector also praised the standing of the Green Week as a test market and marketing platform: Miguel Serrano, Nestlé, Business Manager Plant-Based Food EMENA: “It is great to be able to meet so many interested people here from the trade, and also among consumers. One can see that this fair is expanding in a big way. It is sustainable and looks to the future, and one can see the innovative strengths of so many people. It is important for us to be here in order to learn, engage in discussions, establish contacts and listen to others.” Wiebke Moebus, Company Spokesperson Danone Germany, Austria, Switzerland: “For us the International Green Week is a regular event each year. We are delighted with the opportunity to be able to present many aspects of the subject of sustainability.” Dr. Sven Spork, Divisional Director Corporate Affairs, REWE Group: “The Green Week is THE platform for making contact with the representatives of agriculture. This is our core objective. This is where we set up the REWE local partnership, because there is no better place than at the International Green Week.” Markus Weiss, Department Head Corporate Affairs, McDonald’s Germany LLC: “We at McDonald’s Germany are here every year, and for a very good reason: We can engage in excellent discussions with all kinds of target groups, which is very interesting for us. And where else but the International Green Week could one find such a platform?”

At the start of the Green Week the German food retailers Aldi, Lidl, Kaufland, Rewe, dm and Tegut announced their intention of supporting wages aimed at securing the livelihood of farmers in worldwide delivery chains. They signed a corresponding voluntary declaration together with the Federal Minister for Development, Dr. Gerd Müller. The Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) will be coordinating the working group.

Regional Star industry prize and winners of the Startup Days

For the fifth time the magazine Lebensmittelpraxis and Messe Berlin awarded the industry prize Regional Star at the Green Week 2020. Awards were given to the best concepts of a regional nature from the trade, industry and agriculture, which are being used to promote the marketing of regional products, with the emphasis on sustainability. The winner in the Innovation category was the poultry producer Mustergeflügelhof Leonhard Häde. In the Presentation category the award went to Landgard Obst & Gemüse. The first prize in the Organisation category was shared by Hieber’s Frische Center and Meierhof Möllgaard. First place in the industry competition Regional Star 2020 in the Cooperation category went to Edeka Südwest Fleisch.

The winner of the Startup Days was Frachtpilot, for software which farmers can use to fully digitise and automate direct marketing. Second place was taken by the startup Fairment which has developed starter sets for making kombucha. Third place was occupied by Yumba, whose dim sum dumplings are made according to a Chinese recipe. The Startup Days took place for the third time. The aim of the event is to give startups an opportunity at the Green Week to network with opinion-formers from the food and farming industries and the retail trade.

The Schools’ Programme of Messe Berlin provided some 20,000 schoolchildren with practical lessons at the Green Week, making instructive and descriptive examples of subjects concerning agriculture and the food industry available to schoolchildren of all ages. Many of the workshops dealt with topics involving climate protection.

Views of exhibitors, trade visitors and the general public

Survey around nine out of ten exhibitors were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their results at the fair and said they would be back for the Green Week at a future date. The same percentage held the fair was “good” to “very good” for testing consumer acceptance of new products. For every second exhibitor, political contacts at the IGW were very important. Around 80 percent of the exhibitors assessed the business results positively, and more than 70 percent expected positive post-fair business. The main goals of exhibitors were “to present the company/cultivate one’s image“, “provide information for consumers“ and “consumer sales“. For the most part these aims were met.

Around 90 per cent of trade visitors were “satisfied“ or “very satisfied“ with their visit. The same percentage offered a positive opinion of the products on display. Almost 40 per cent of trade visitors represented their company or institution in a decision-making capacity. Trade visitors mainly represented the farming and forestry sectors, the food industry and commerce (wholesalers, retail trade and exports). Around 85 per cent were satisfied with their results at the fair. Almost one-half of trade visitors were able to establish business contacts. As far their work/business was concerned, trade visitors showed interest mainly in the sections featuring ‘food and specialities’, ‘farming and forestry’ and ‘organic products’. Close to one-third of trade visitors said they were able to conclude business deals or were planning to do so at a later date.

Around 90 per cent of the general public said they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with visiting the Green Week and would do so again. Well over 90 per cent gave a positive assessment of the products on offer. They were particularly interested in the sections featuring ‘food and specialities’, ‘gardens’, and ‘leisure / holidays in the country / tourism’. Special shows including the Floral Hall, the Market Hall / Street Food, the Livestock Halls (25 and 26) and the Farm Experience were equally popular with the general public, who were also very impressed with the newly opened Hall 27 and its ‘Keen on the Country’ show. Close to three-quarters of the general public said obtaining consumer information was one of the main reasons for visiting. Consequently, more than 80 per cent of the public took a positive view of the special shows hosted by the four federal ministries.

Green Week: Economic driving force with a worldwide publicity effect

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 200 million euros. This year approximately 3,000 media representatives from 75 countries again received accreditation. International coverage in particular, 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.

Next event: 15 to 24 January 2021

The International Green Week Berlin 2020 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 86th International Green Week will take place on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds from 15 to 24 January 2021.

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