Grocery buyers fill the aisles at the Vegan World show in London, held as part of the Natural & Organic Products Expo Europe, hosted by Diversified Communications. Photo courtesy of Natural & Organic Products Expo Europe

Each spring, a Portland-based multimedia company partners with the world’s oldest vegan organization to host a major trade show of vegan food.

Diversified Communications, headquartered on Free Street, and its subsidiaries organize more than 100 trade shows each year. Next month, Diversified’s subsidiary in London hosts the annual Natural & Organic Products Expo Europe, and, as it has since 2017, the show features the Vegan World exhibition area, where manufacturers of plant-based products can showcase their wares to grocery store buyers looking for new vegan foods. Diversified partners with The Vegan Society, founded in 1944 in Leicester, England, to organize the Vegan World show.

The show is not open to the public. Instead, the Natural & Organic Products Expo is an opportunity for supermarkets, grocery stores and other retailers to find new products. In past years, more than 10,000 buyers from across Europe have attended the London show.

“Buyers come in with a certain desire, looking for certain products,” said Diversified Communications CEO Ted Wirth. He explained that a dedicated area for vegan food helps grocery buyers looking to expand their retailer’s vegan offerings by grouping these products together.

“Vegan World is a good space and a growing space,” said Wirth. “The majority of the show is typically small businesses. It can be up to 80 percent of the show. A small business can get out there at Vegan World and be seen by (major retail) buyers.”

In addition to the London show, the Natural & Organic Products Expo hosts trade shows in Sweden, Australia and Spain. Both the Swedish and Australian shows include Vegan World.


“The show has always had a massive vegan element to it since the get-go,” said Caroline Sommerfelt, senior marketing manager for the London show, which was first held in 1997. She said in the years since the late 1990s, vegan demand has skyrocketed in the United Kingdom. I asked her what was driving the demand.

“I don’t think there’s only one factor,” Sommerfelt said. “Overall, it’s multifaceted. Some people do it for ethical reasons. A lot of people do it for the environmental factors. A lot of people do it for health. After COVID, there’s been more conversations about health.”

In terms of how this increased demand is affecting grocery stores, Sommerfelt points to the annual Veganuary challenge, which started in the U.K. in 2014.

“Veganuary is growing massively year on year,” Sommerfelt said. “More consumers are after vegan products, and so the big retailers are after vegan products. The supermarkets now have vegan category buyers.”

The Vegan Society, the oldest vegan organization in the world, partners with the Vegan World show in London. At each event, staff members from The Vegan Society, including Eleanor McGregor, far right, are on hand to talk about its third-party certification services. Photo courtesy of The Vegan Society

These vegan category buyers are the ones who will spend most of their time in the Vegan World portion of the show. According to Eleanor McGregor, events and communications officer for The Vegan Society based in Birmingham, England, there is a visible shift taking place in the British food scene, especially since 2016, when she said veganism tipped into the mainstream.

“Last year, Burger King opened a fully vegan restaurant in the center of London,” McGregor said. “They’re committed to having a 50 percent vegan menu by 2030. Wagamama (a British restaurant chain with locations in the U.S.) is committed to having a 50 percent vegan menu. Veganuary has broken records this year, in terms of the most people signed up and the most product launches” that were timed to coincide with the event.


The Vegan Society offers a third-party certification for vegan products, and McGregor said its internationally recognized vegan trademark is now featured on close to 70,000 products.

In addition to the Natural & Organic Products Expo Europe (held at the ExCeL London convention center April 16 and 17), The Vegan Society also participates in the International Food & Drink Event and the Food & Drink Expo, both of which feature dedicated vegan areas.

“It’s becoming more and more common that we’re being approached by event managers to give some clout to their vegan area,” McGregor said. “When they have a vegan area in partnership with The Vegan Society, we’re giving them some respectability by putting our name to the event.”

The Vegan World portion of the Natural & Organic Products Expo Europe features green-and-white striped awnings above the booths to distinguish the area from other parts of the show. Sommerfelt anticipates seeing lots of new vegan burgers and vegan meats on display at Vegan World. Some of the vegan brands that will display their products at the show include Wicked Kitchen, Jay & Joy, Veggiemeats, Marigold Health Foods, Green Grizzly, Booja Booja, Better Nature, Topas and Bio-D.

With the event organizers in the final frenzied month of preparation, Sommerfelt reported “there’s a lot of positivity out there because the demand for vegan products is ever growing. This is a booming industry, and we have some big name vegan buyers coming. Vegan World is going to be a really busy and fun part of the show.”

Avery Yale Kamila is a food writer who lives in Portland. She can be reached at

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