Hankkeet  ::  WAX

The OUAS team of Interreg Nord funded WAX project explored the recent trends of natural product industry in Nürnberg, Germany

Julkaistu: 2.3.2018 klo 10:16 Ajankohtaista


The teachers and students of the ‘WAX – Arctic Berries as our Treasure’ project acquainted themselves with the recent trends of the natural product industry at an international fair in  Germany. VIVANESS2018 – International Trade Fair for Natural and Organic Personal Care and BIOFACH2018 – World’s Leading Trade Fair for Organic Food  provided the project team with an excellent opportunity to conduct market research at the trade fair with more than 2700 exhibiting companies and over 50 000 visitors.


 Finland was represented with around 20 exhibitors from Food from Finland program funded by Business Finland (former Finpro and Tekes). From other Nordic countries especially Denmark and Sweden were prominently represented. In addition for example Lithuanian and Latvian natural and organic cosmetics companies displayed their products; also Baltic countries utilise Nordic berries in their product research and development.


 According to expert lectures, the growth figures in the sectors of natural cosmetics and organic food are promising. However, natural and organic as trends are insufficient; companies operating in the natural product industry need to gain competitive edge in the market. Competitive tools of specialty stores involve for example locality and strong brand but also new marketing channels and business models are needed. On Friday 12 February, Sirkku Hahn from Finland, the founder of INARI Arctic Cosmetics, gave an inspiring presentation ‘Power from the North’. Also Jaana Elo, expert and advisor from The Finnish Organic Association, lectured on organic production.

 The OUAS team of the WAX project participated the trade fair, first, to build a network of business contacts, and second, to explore the business potential of berry wax by observing and interviewing the exhibiting companies of the field. We also had the chance to familiarise ourselves with the natural product industry and its various actors in the value chain: raw material suppliers, product manufacturers and the actual trading companies in the field. The OUAS team consisted of international business students Vili Kippola and Eva-Maria Schromm together with principal lecturers Helena Aho, Päivi Aro and Taina Vuorela. The students gathered data for their theses commissioned by the WAX project; Eva Schromm studies the marketing and marketing tools of German-speaking natural cosmetics companies and Vili Kippola explores the business potential of arctic berry wax in the confectionary industry.

This trade fair was a very impressive joint event offering a diverse overview of new product innovations and latest trends. One innovative solution worth mentioning is for example utilising so-called block chains to increase the reliability in the organic product supply chain. The phenomenon of green washing is problematic from the viewpoint of the environment and consumers and even though certificates are important in organic production, block chains type of high tech solutions may support certification systems. We had the opportunity to get a report on the organic food market situation not only in the European countries but also countries such as India, Thailand, USA, Brazil, South Korea and Japan.

 The trade fair was very well organised – with German precision. Participating within the framework of the research project was interesting but at the same time it was intensive work. The trade fair website made it possible for us to plan everything beforehand and schedule the lectures and company visits. Although communicating at the fair went just fine in English, it turned out to be useful to speak German. A little reminder for Finnish business students: operating in the EU internal market requires proficiency in foreign languages and cross-cultural competence.

The WAX project continues to offer thesis commissions for the students at the Oulu University of Applied Sciences.

Principal lecturers Helena Ahola, Päivi Aro ja Taina Vuorela

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