Vitafoods Europe: grounds for optimism

The nutrition show expects to attract 1,000 exhibitors and 18,500 visitors

With the UK voting to leave the EU and Donald Trump winning the US presidency, it’s fair to say we’ve had a year of political shocks.

But despite the political and economic uncertainties resulting from the upheaval, a study by the organisers of Vitafoods Europe paints an overwhelmingly positive picture about the global nutrition industry.

Asked how they felt about the future of their businesses in terms of sales performance and profitability, 88% of this year’s visitors said they were either ‘very positive’ or ‘quite positive’ – up one percentage point on the year before – demonstrating that industry optimism has not diminished over the past 12 months.

And, given the mood of optimism, it’s little surprise that this year’s Vitafoods Europe is expected to be the biggest one yet.

With more than 1,000 exhibitors and 18,500 visitors expected to pass through the doors across the three days, Vitafoods – which takes place at the Palexpo convention centre in Geneva from May 9–11 – has established itself as a must-visit show for those keen to source new ingredients and products and learn about the latest nutrition trends.

‘Companies are focusing on opportunities’

“It’s a sign of the resilience and resourcefulness of our industry that, even in a period of political uncertainty, companies are focusing on opportunities rather than problems,” says Chris Lee, global health and nutrition network md for Europe, at show organiser Informa Exhibitions.

“With consumers increasingly interested in nutrition, markets opening up across the world, and innovative new ingredients emerging, there’s a lot to be excited about.

Show times

Tuesday May 9 10:00–18:00

Wednesday May 10 10:00–18:00

Thursday May 11 10:00–16:00

Visit the Vitafoods website for more details and a free visitor pass.

“Vitafoods Europe helps visitors understand those opportunities and make the most of them,” Lee adds.

When asked to name the three biggest opportunities for their companies, 53% of those visiting identified increased consumer awareness of nutrition, and 33% chose growth in developing markets. Meanwhile, 41% cited innovation through new ingredients.

Reflecting these requirements, both the main trade show and the newly revamped Vitafoods Education Programme will offer a variety of expert advice.

Innovation in sports nutrition

Visitors to the Centre Stage will hear from speakers on topics such as innovation in sports nutrition, and the sensory science challenges of developing functional foods.

Allied to this, the Life Stages Theatre will review the bespoke nutrient requirements needed throughout the stages of a person’s life. Elsewhere, the Exhibitor Presentation Theatre will showcase 35 presentations from global exhibitors.

For those with a competitive edge, the Vitafoods Venture Den will be an informal, fast-paced pitching competition for entrepreneurial businesses looking to raise finance and forge strategic partnerships.

Vitafoods is known for providing a strong platform for innovation, and this year, 90 new ingredients will be exhibited and demonstrated in the New Ingredients Zone.

There will also be plenty of innovation on show in the New Products Zone, and similarly, the Vitafoods Launchpad will offer concise exhibitor presentations about the latest products and ingredients.

New for 2017, the Vitafoods Innovation Centre will offer free consultations on product development, scientific marketing, licensing opportunities, regulation and market access.

Geneva – capital of gastronomy

With 140 restaurants representing more than 30 ethnic cuisines – 15 of which are Michelin-starred – Geneva is known as Switzerland’s capital of gastronomy.

The city, which has a population of 200,000, also offers a variety of attractions, including the Basilica of Notre-Dame, and Bâtiment des Forces Motrices – an old hydroelectric power station that has been converted into a theatre. There are also boat tours around Lake Geneva to enjoy.

Those staying in a hotel during Vitafoods are eligible for a free transport card, giving you the opportunity to explore the city for no extra cost.

Visit the official tourist website for more information about the city.

To promote innovation, Vitafoods will also provide a platform to help food firms anticipate opportunities.

The personalised nutrition trend

In the survey, one-in-five visitors to the show picked out personalised nutrition as the most important trend over the next 12 months.

Reflecting this, personalised nutrition will be among the topics discussed in one of the Business Workshops in the Vitafoods Europe Education Programme, with experts explaining why it is ‘the new normal’.

Last year, one-in-five visitors listed probiotics as one of the categories they were most interested in, and it will be the focus of the new Probiotics Resource Centre, which is described as a “dedicated knowledge hub”.

Further to this, a full-day Probiotics Summit will explore the current regulatory environment and the latest research developments.

Picking up on another trend, the Omega-3 Resource Centre is likely to be a popular draw. Visitors will be able to hear presentations on the latest research, including current expert thinking on the roles of omega-3s in human physiology.

Other show highlights include: a Sports Nutrition Zone; 12 international pavilions with spaces for exhibitors from Germany and Canada for the first time; and the opportunity of having one-on-one consultation with experts in The Advice Centre.

Don’t forget the NutraIngredients Awards either. Organised by Food Manufacture’s sister publication, the gala evening will take place on May 10.

Exhibitor highlights

A central feature of the show are the stands in the main exhibition area, which will showcase the latest in nutrition innovation.

At stand I12, Kaneka Pharma Europe will be promoting Ubiquinol, an antioxidant aimed at the health and sports markets. The company will also highlight the visceral fat-reducing and novel food-approved liquorice root extract Glavonoid.

Algatechnologies (I86) will also have an antioxidant on display in the form of AstaPure 3%, a whole-algae form of astaxanthin, developed in response to growing demand for natural ingredients.

Stand G10 will be transformed into an “interactive co-creation” centre by DSM, giving customers the opportunity to work directly with the company on projects during the show.

DSM will also highlight its OatWell oat beta-glucan, a natural bioactive soluble fibre claimed to have heart health, blood glucose lowering, and gut health benefits.

Another soluble fibre, which can double up as a sweetener, will be at the Taiyo stand (C39). Sweet-Sunfiber contains an isomalto-oligosaccharide, while the Sunfiber-Matcha Honey variant is said to promote natural sweetness with a green tea tang.

Peptides have grown in popularity in recent years, and Rousselot (H32) will aim to inspire those looking to develop healthy ageing products with drinks and yogurts containing its peptide collagen ingredient Peptan.

Frutarom Health (B20), meanwhile, is to showcase ingredients that target today’s leading health concerns. Its standardised plant extracts are derived from traditional Mediterranean ingredients like citrus, olive and rosemary.

A new plant extract from Arjuna Natural Extracts will be available to view on stand A40. The Indian firm will launch Trilow, a natural bioactive extract for cardiovascular health derived from the Indian gooseberry.

Also look out for Lallemand Health Solutions (G42), which will highlight probiotics for stress and mood balance, active people and hearty kids; and SternVitamin (K84), which has tailored micronutrient premixes for different target groups and needs.

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