BioCultura, the major showcase for organic food and responsible consumption, closes with success

From 5 to 7 May, Palau Sant Jordi hosted the latest edition of BioCultura Barcelona, an unmissable event for anyone interested in healthy and sustainable food.

Passadís plens a BioCultura Barcelona
09/05/2023 - 18:18 h - City Council Ajuntament de Barcelona

“We come to BioCultura every year because we like to find out about the latest organic products being introduced, particularly food products. We’re interested in everything that is more natural and less harmful to the environment,” explain Sílvia and Sergi, as they come through the doors of the 29th edition of BioCultura Barcelona.

In fact, with a few differences here and there, this is a sentiment that was shared by the majority of the 50,000 people filling the aisles of the fair during the event, a loyal, ecologically aware audience who see the fair as an opportunity to fill their baskets with the best organic and local products.

The largest offer of organic products

With more than 300 exhibiting companies, BioCultura is a great showcase for organic food and agricultural products (which are the majority of the products), ‘eco’ hygiene and cosmetic products, sustainable fashion, health and well-being products and services and much, much more.

One of these exhibitors, who comes back every year, is Cal Valls, a family business dedicated to the production of fruit and vegetable juices and conserves. They see the fair as the perfect place to promote their products and present new ones, and to meet up with suppliers and customers. Montse Raluy highlights three products from this year’s catalogue. “A new lemonade made from apple and lemon juice that contains no added sugar and which we make ourselves, with apples from Pla de l’Urgell and lemons from Andalusia. There is also a beetroot juice and another made from carrot and lemon”.

Another of the fair’s veterans is Martín Ezpeleta, a partner from dpagès, a certified organic farm in Olius, in the district of Solsonès, which also has a physical and online shop where they sell artisan products. “We’ve been coming here for seven years because this is a great place for us to showcase our products. Lots of people come to the fair, and they are a very specific market. They’re people who are looking for organic products, they are very aware and they’re looking to buy first-hand, directly from the producer, as is the case with us. We also come because it’s a place for meeting up with our customers, with professionals from the restaurant sector, suppliers, shops, etc. They’re people who you only meet up with here, once a year.

A meeting point for professionals.

In addition to its more commercial aspects, the fair continues to be a meeting point for professionals from the sector and it offers a whole host of exclusive activities – a series of talks, training and networking sessions – with lots of follow-up and high levels of participation.
Highlights include the 1st Professional Technical Conference ‘Promoting organic food in Catalonia’, organised by the Oficina Conjunta de l’Alimentació Sostenible [Joint Office for Sustainable Food] and the Associació Vida Sana, at which various matters of interest were discussed, such as the opportunity presented by collective catering, generating large volumes for consumption. Participating in this roundtable were Restauració, the Catalan Agro-Ecological School Dinners Network (XAMEC) and Veritas.

Also discussed was the importance of understanding how cooperation and collectivisation can help with scaling up food businesses, with the Joint Office for Sustainable Food, Apaema and Integrated Agro-ecological Management for Territorialised Food Systems (GIASAT). Lastly, a diagnostic of the organic sector in Catalonia was carried with regard to production, distribution and consumption, featuring Natureco, Artiga Coop, Veritas and the Servei d’Ordenació Agrícola.

New ‘eco’ products at the fair

According to the fair’s director, Ángeles Parra, the star of this year’s edition has been “plant protein products”. He pointed out that “while there is an increasing awareness of plant-based food, for us, plant protein should come from organic production”. He also mentioned the huge success of “everything to do with fermented food, for example Kombucha, which is a really powerful probiotic that is very good for the digestive system.”

Aside from the new products, the director of the fair also highlighted another of the new developments observed at this edition: the increase in the number of stands of small and medium sized enterprises.

The organisation believes that “this small and medium size business network adds richness to a territory.” It is seen as a positive symptom of the drive and growth of the sector, which, despite the crisis and rising prices, is not suffering like other sectors.

The cost of the ‘eco’ product

Although the consumption figures confirm the growth of the sector, not everyone feels quite so optimistic. “We’re not going backwards, but it’s not easy,” says Pol Alòs, from Cal Trementinaire, an organic food and chemical-free cosmetics shop in Balaguer. “More and more people are into sustainable food, but it’s hard to reach everyone, particularly because of the price. There is still a lot of work to do to make people understand that they can’t get a loaf of bread for 30 cents.”

Ezpeleta from dpagès agrees: “Organic production is more costly because we pay the indirect costs we generate. Intensive industry doesn’t pay for the environmental pollution it generates, or for social rights, or animal welfare… Sustainable food is the only future.”

In this regard, some people ask that future editions of the event should do more to promote its catalogue of agro-ecological products in the face of other options that have been gaining ground, such as welfare and health services; and above all, they highlight the importance of the rural world and proximity.

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