10,000 visitors from around the world are expected to attend and the programme aims to cater for all their needs. As ever, a host of new and improved features will greet delegates.
If you don't want to gamble on trawling the aisles to find what you're after, there's no better place to start than the New Products Zone, which offers a guide to where the latest innovations are being showcased.
Keep sharp and beautiful
If you want to keep a sharp look out and be alert for the show ahead, you could start with the Ovolife brand from Belgium's Belovo. Liquid and powdered egg phospholipids are up for grabs, touting benefits for visual acuity, brain development and immunity in infant formulas, foods and supplements.
When touring around a trade show with a bout of jet lag, even the best of us can look a haggard, so fortunately there are prominent nutricosmetics in this section. Fancy a swig of collagen? Try EuroPharma Alliance's neutral-taste or strawberry flavoured instant drink, designed to moisturise skin. Or there's Rousselot's Sparkling Beauty Shot with Peptan, designed to help maintain healthy skin. Fresh offerings also include Wheat Cerasomes, a natural ingredient from France's speciality chemicals group Seppic.
But if you've already had your beauty sleep and want to get to the heart of the matter, there are products aimed at heart health.
Acerchem International, which is based in China, for example, will be shouting about its microencapsulated, water soluble 40% CoQ10 ingredient for use in supplements and beverages.
Israel's LycoRed will introduce new research on its natural lycopene extract from tomatoes, Lyc-O-Mato, covering its potential to help maintain cardiovascular and prostate health. It's also worth checking out PinVita phytosterols from Danisco France, which are derived from pine and it claims are a highly effective dietary solution to lower cholesterol levels and maintain cardiovascular health. Incidentally, DuPont will be on hand at the show to explain how it can offer a greater range of nutritional ingredients after its 2011 acquisition of Danisco.
Gum and antioxidants
If you don't already feel you have bitten off more than you can chew, it's all happening in gum. France's Green Plants Extracts is offering samples of anti-stress chewing gum, containing saffron extract. Meanwhile, Denmark-based Gum Link is promoting its Actium chewing gum, developed in cooperation with Ingredia Nutritional. Visitors will also be able to scrutinise its antioxidant chewing gum concept, which includes ingredients such as cranberry extract and vitamin E.
Speaking of which, the powerful anti-ageing antioxidant astaxanthin, linked to eye and joint health, will feature in Swedish firm BioReal's AstaReal Clear 75. It's water soluble and pitched at liquid products. Or, if you prefer, Algatechnologies will be showcasing AstaPure, its 2% natural astaxanthin in a liquid emulsion.
Antioxidants are, of course, not just about health and for those seeking natural preservatives there's Synac'ox Tocorom from Synaco, which straddles France and the Netherlands.
Fat and muscle
If you want components to help maintain weight rather than shelf-life, you could check out the fat-busting potential of liquorice courtesy of Kaneka Pharma. Its patented liquorice extract Glavonoid has just been granted Novel Food status by the European Commission. "The polyphenols derived from liquorice root have been found to be able to ameliorate abdominal obesity and to target visceral fat," says the company. They can be used in milk, yogurt and fruit or vegetable-based drinks.
Then there's Ingredia Nutritional's shot drink containing Chromax, a newly approved safe ingredient for effective weight management. Plus Lonza is plugging its sugar-free, low-calorie Slimline Muesli Mix by Vitalia containing Carnipure.
Big news too this year will be Solbar's entry into weight management with a line of textured soy protein isolates. Solbar sales director Moti Shmueli says the ingredient can help improve blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity, while helping to cut body weight. "By replacing fat or high carbohydrate foods with healthy foods containing Solbar's extensive line of ingredients for weight management, the consumer gains improved satiety together with a low-glycaemic diet component."
Solbar will also offer Contex 100 and Contex 500 textured soy protein concentrate in snack bar format.
For consumers concerned about maintaining or improving muscle mass rather than losing fat, protein is big this year. There's gluten-free instant Breaffin Premix and new puffed snacks called BamBira from Nutrigal, both high in protein and fibre. And there's Progo, a new protein extracted from sustainable potatoes and marketed by Solanic. Or there's ADM's Clarisoy 100, which claims to be the world's first vegetable-based protein that can be used to fortify transparent and low pH beverages, such as sports drinks.
Cocktail of benefits
But why go for a single health benefit when you can secure a cocktail of them? Frutarom is launching ingredients to boost the immune system, targeting several health concerns across various applications.
New research on the benefits of cranberries for whole body health will also be revealed by Ocean Spray. "Last year we announced we had entered into a strategic partnership with Artemis International, specialist in phytonutrient ingredients for nutraceutical applications," says Christina Khoo, senior manager of research sciences at Ocean Spray. "This has cemented our commitment to continuing to drive the commercial growth of cranberry-based nutritional products and we look forward to sharing our latest advancements with the nutraceutical industry."
If you're after something to improve appetite and digestion and offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, anti-ageing and antimicrobial benefits, there's rosemary extract from India's Sanat Products. Or, if you want to tackle weight loss and circulatory health, you could look at its white kidney bean extract.
Aside from the flood of new products and research, a gripping conference schedule will focus on the latest developments in fields ranging from diets for the elderly to enzymes. Dr Stephen DeFelice will kick off the conference, discussing the past, present and future of the nutraceutical revolution.
Dr Cindy Gerhardt, global innovation manager for DSM, will consider how enzymes can tackle digestive problems. "Enzymes are digestive aids," Gerhardt told Food Manufacture. "I will look at the size of the enzymes business and the major enzymes used in the US and Europe."
She will summarise DSM's work in the sector and touch on its future plans for more enzymes as supplements and ingredients to tackle allergies and intolerances.
Moving from digestion to joint health, Karsten Brandt, nutritional science manager at Stratum Nutrition, will unpack some of its work. Brandt will reveal more plans for the firm's cholesterol-lowering brand Artinia and launch in Europe a new supplement to alleviate joint pain and inflammation derived from eggshell membrane. It also offers potential as a food ingredient.
"We are testing the product, which was initially developed by ESM Technologies, in the UK and Germany and will see it in most markets in six to 10 months," says Brandt. "As well as collagen and proteins it contains glucosamine and hyaluronic acid, which is an important compound for the synovial fluid in joints."
His presentation will be part of a wider session chaired by Reinhardt Schmitt, md of Solae Europe, on the market for ageing consumers. "A lot needs to be done for the fast growing group of ageing consumers," Schmitt told Food Manufacture. "In 2030 a quarter of Europe will be over 65." He singles out obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cytopenia and digestive health as possible areas to target.
When developing foods to tackle such health issues and make effective health claims, manufacturers often struggle to design and afford clinical trials. Fortunately, Catherine Side, director, Inside Consulting, will be presenting on how to do exactly that. She will consider aspects such as choosing between internal or external trials, how to choose external partners, and funding.
This dynamic itinerary is just the start. Expect lively debate on industry issues at the Vitafoods Discussion Forum, chaired by European Advisory Services (EAS) director Guy Valkenborg.
The 2012 discussion will cover The future of innovation in Europe: the key areas of opportunity and concern in the next five years. And Mintel's Product Ingredient and Consumer Insights Pavilion will host talks on key trends and studies.
With other features including seminars where suppliers display new products, VitaTrend, incorporating presentations on functional food ingredient trends, and International Pavilions covering exhibitors ranging from China to Serbia, everything is catered for. You may not feel like you're 15 afterwards, but you'll certainly be chock full of ideas.