The long-running International Green Week (IGW) begins on Thursday, January 18th and runs through Tuesday, January 29th here in Berlin. Founded in 1926, this huge international exhibition of food, beverages, agriculture, gardening, and animal exploitation is being shared with consumers, trade visitors and journalists for the 84th time. Over 1,700 Exhibitors featuring 100,000 products will be here to share what they have to offer with the consumers and trades. This global forum brings the old traditions that date back to when it began over 90 years ago and the newest food innovations together in one place. Organic agriculture, renewable resources, and vegan food being three of the topics that are gaining importance in the food and beverage industry. Eighty International Ministries will be represented at this event including Germany’s Federal Minister of Agriculture and the European Union Commissioner for Agriculture. Additionally, there will be over 4,000 accredited journalists from 65 countries describing what they learn, at this 10-day event, with the world. And I am still reeling with the fact that Steve and I are two of the journalists who have been invited to attend!
I know you are already asking yourself, why would a vegan blogger want to attend an event like this? Now don’t get me wrong, I realize that some of the worst that the Agribusiness Industrial Complex has to offer – as far as vegans and our environment are concerned – will be represented at this event. But after giving it a lot of thought, I realized that I had no choice but to attend. Steve and I have been given the opportunity to raise our voices and share our support for the growing vegan movement at one of the largest food conferences in the world! When I read more and more quotes and statistics that reinforce how many flesh-eating omnivores are making decisions every day to eat less meat, it really opened my mind to the importance of attending.
Seth Goldman, Beyond Meat Executive Chairman, has recently stated that an estimated 70% of the consumers of their popular Beyond Burger are not vegan…they are not even vegetarian! According to the Vegan Society, 35% of British consumers say they make a point of regularly having meat-free days. And Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, predicts that not only is plant-based food “here to stay” but they estimate that their vegan division, which includes their European brand Garden Gourmet and recently acquired U.S. brand Sweet Earth Foods, will be worth $1 Billion by 2029!
Because of the growing demand for delicious plant-based foods by omnivores, vegans, and vegetarians, the direction of IGW is also changing, in a small but very important way. Of the 1,700 Exhibitors attending the event, over 90 of them are vegan companies – last year there were only 6! – who will be offering hundreds of plant-based options. From vegan honey to hazelnut creme; vegan balls (I can’t wait to taste those!) to savory spreads; raw food to spices; meatless sausage to nice cream, cookies to organic wine and much, much more. There has also been a lot of press lately about Nestlé’s newest vegan burger, the Incredible Burger. It will be competing directly with Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger, Impossible Food’s Impossible Burger and with burgers made from cows. And it was just announced that it will be debuting for the first time EVER here at IGW. I am looking forward to being the first vegan in the world to taste it!
With over 400,000 event tickets sold, we now have 400,000 opportunities for a vegan alternative to be seen, tasted and enjoyed. Which provides an opportunity to influence lifestyles and save animals’ lives. We also have the opportunity for one of these vegan companies to be purchased by a much larger and more influential company. This will get delicious vegan options in front of a much larger mainstream audience than the small vegan company ever could have. Since I became vegan to end the suffering of farmed animals, there is nowhere else I’d rather be than representing the vegan movement at International Green Week! And like I always say…remember to eat, drink, and be vegan!