While the UK food industry faces an uncertain year ahead in the run-up to the start of the Brexit transition period, Europe-wide at least, the outlook is more positive.
A survey by the organiser of Vitafoods Europe – which takes place from 15–17 May at Palexpo, Geneva – shows that 92% of industry professionals feel either ‘quite positive’ or ‘very positive’ about the future for their company (up from 88% last year).
Furthermore, almost half (48%) of the industry professionals surveyed claim that increasing consumer awareness is one of the biggest opportunities for their business, followed by innovation through new ingredients (37%) and growth in developing markets (27%).
Tuesday 15 May: 10:00–18:00
Wednesday 16 May: 10:00–18:00
Thursday 17 May: 10:00–16:00
Visit the Vitafoods website for more details and a free visitor pass.
So, with consumer awareness of functional nutrition higher than ever, and science and technology driving exciting new innovations, the future for nutraceutical foods looks bright.
With more than 21,000 visitors expected across the three days, this year’s Vitafoods Europe has undergone a series of improvements to enable the food industry to make the most of these trends.
For the first time, the New Ingredients Zone will include an Ingredients Theatre where visitors can find out more about specific ingredients, products and services through case studies and presentations.
Omega-3 Resource Centre
Another feature that has expanded and will offer more content is the Omega-3 Resource Centre in association with GOED (Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s). This focused knowledge hub will help visitors learn about a multitude of omega-3 formats and sources, and help visitors connect with the right omega-3 supply chain partners.
The Sports Nutrition Zone, sponsored by Friesland Campina, is also growing; the interactive demonstration area will include a new Sports Nutrition Theatre, as well as a sampling bar and product showcase sections.
In this year’s survey, healthy ageing, general wellbeing and digestive health ranked jointly as companies’ most important health benefit areas – each chosen by 23% of survey respondents.
Reflecting the importance of healthy ageing, the Vitafoods Life Stages Theatre will offer expert sessions on nutrition requirements, from infancy to later life. Speakers will include Dr Astrid Stuckelberger of the Institute of Global Health at the University of Geneva and a professor at the University of Lausanne; and Dr Emma Schofield, global food science analyst at Mintel.
While healthy ageing has long been a key focus for the industry, this is the first time that digestive health has topped the poll, reflecting a resurgence in the global probiotic industry.
The Probiotics Resource Centre, in association with the International Probiotics Association, will help visitors understand everything there is to know about probiotics, from the latest breakthroughs in technology to consumer analysis and market trends.
Another key area will be cardiovascular health – the main health focus for 22% of survey respondents. Anthocyanin’s role in vascular function will be explored in the Polyphenols Research and Development (R&D) Forum.
Vitafoods Europe survey
The Vitafoods Europe survey also reveals healthy levels of R&D investment. Almost half (46%) of respondents say their companies will spend at least 10% on R&D in the current financial year, while over a third (37%) claim their investment will be even higher next year.
In the spirit of innovation, the New Ingredients Zone will showcase the latest ingredients and raw materials, and the New Products Zone will display the latest functional foods and beverages – from teas, bars and powders to health shots and chewable vitamins.
At the Springboard Pavilion, meanwhile, visitors will be able to engage with entrepreneurs at the cutting-edge of nutrition. Alternatively, they can meet experts on innovative ingredients, products and technologies by taking one of the themed Innovation Tours or self-guided Discovery Trails.
Other highlights at the show include the Vitafoods Centre Stage, where speakers will offer insights into emerging trends; the Vitafoods Education Programme, running alongside the main trade show; and the Packaging Zone, dedicated to packaging innovation.
And don’t forget the Nutra Ingredients Awards. Organised by Food Manufacture’s sister publication NutraIngredients.com, the event – which is in its fourth year – will take place on 16 May.
Last but by no means least are the 1,100 stands available to visit in the main exhibition area. See the box below for the leading ingredients innovations on show.
Vitafoods 2018 – what’s on show?
Plant extracts will feature heavily at this year’s Vitafoods, and Arjuna Natural (J30) will be unveiling Shoden, an ashwagandha extract, also known as ‘Indian ginseng’, used to reduce anxiety and stress.
A natural extract derived from liquorice root will be on view at Kaneka’s stand (I24). The firm claims Glavonoid supports the fight against visceral fat and can be added to food supplements and drinks based on milk, yogurt, fruit and vegetables.
Plant and dairy proteins are also central to Glanbia’s (H82) offer. The Irish-based firm says it will have the best of its bioactive ingredients and micronutrient premix manufacturing on show.
SternVitamin (K34) is offering micronutrient premixes at the show, with a particular focus on a special premix for vegans, said to include “appropriate” amounts of iron, zinc, calcium, iodine and selenium. It also contains the amino acid lysin, which occurs in only small amounts in plants.
Lipofoods (F189) will unveil Lipofer, a vegan iron ingredient in a novel microencapsulation system. It enhances iron bioavailability, while minimising interaction with other components, says the firm.
Antioxidants on show this year include AstaPure Arava whole-algae from Algatech (K134). It contains omegas, fibres, proteins and phospholipids. Also, AstaReal (I44) will display varied formulas containing natural astaxanthin, including soft gums and effervescent products.
When it comes to bone and joint health, Rousselot (H35) says its new Peptan IIm has been shown to promote healthy cartilage, enabling easy joint movement and reducing inflammation.
With Tendoforte, Gelita (J24) claims to offer specific collagen peptides, proven to strengthen ligaments and tendons and particularly suited to the sports nutrition market. Lonza (G10), meanwhile, will unveil the results of a new study that found its UC-II collagen helps improve joint comfort, mobility and flexibility.
Frutarom Health (C20) will showcase ingredients benefiting cognitive, cardiovascular, immune and urinary health. Its Sharp-PS phosphatidylserine, for example, is proven to boost mind and body performance in children and adults, it says.
DSM (F10) will also show visitors ingredients containing vitamins, carotenoids and nutritional lipids. Its Tolerase G enzyme is designed to break down gluten, while tomato-based concentrate Fruitflow contributes to healthy blood flow.