Vitafoods Europe (Geneva, May 2018) has strongly established itself as one of the major events on the nutrition calendar, with significant growth in the dedicated show space in the last couple of years. The show attracted over 20,000 visitors, with attendance numbers reflecting a six percent increase from the previous year as well as exhibitor numbers also growing 8 percent from 2017. Vitafoodsalso demonstrated the expansion of nutraceuticals into other market areas such as foods, pharma, cosmetics and personalization.
“The success of Vitafoods lies in the role we play in a vibrant, fast-moving industry that is committed to innovation. There’s enormous thirst for knowledge and we offer a space where people can learn, as well as coming together to do business. By providing opportunities to discover new products and gain insights into the trends and science shaping nutrition, we hope to help drive innovation. The big focus now is on building our role as an industry partner, supporting its growth and helping it adapt to challenges,” says Chris Lee, Managing Director, Global Health & Nutrition Network Europe, Informa Exhibitions.
Traditional categories converging
One trend that was apparent at Vitafoods Europe was the convergence of traditional categories.
“Old categories have begun to blur,” says Lee. “There’s now a really interesting space, for example, between nutrition and pharma. Companies are starting to understand the role functional foods can play in addressing global health problems such as cardiovascular disease and obesity. As a result, we’re seeing an increasing number of products that are hard to pigeonhole as either food or pharma. Another interesting example is the convergence of food and cosmetics, with ingestible skincare and nutricosmetics becoming more mainstream.”
Aenova offered Vegapure Emulsorb, a proprietary heart health supplement for the reduction of LDL cholesterol. The completely new, patented Vegapure Emulsorb complex has been designed using the most advanced formulation research and is delivered in VegaGels capsules developed and produced in Switzerland, the company state. As a vegan product on plant basis, this drug-free solution is perfect for mindful consumers concerned about their LDL cholesterol levels.
While cosmeceuticals was a key theme in years past, this year’s event featured a resurgence in beauty-from-within products. PB Gelatins/PB Leiner’s Solugel BD series stick packs were a new, innovative packaging offering for a product that targets outside beauty from within, representing this convergence of food and cosmetics.
New, innovative categories also emerged: “This year, we saw a lot of synergy between food and nutraceuticals and a lot of innovations and new forms of delivery,” said Antoine Dauby, Marketing Communications Director at Naturex, one of the event exhibitors.
Indeed, this year’s event featured more food ingredients suppliers than ever before, indicating a more mainstream rather than pure nutraceutical focus, as was the case at prior events. The key topic of debate on the show floor was undoubtedly the recent mergers that have shaped the sector whereby flavor houses have spread into nutrition, i.e. Givaudan acquiring a stake in Naturex,IFF buying Frutarom and Firmenich launching its Natural and Clean label platform.
Turmeric was a key food ingredient and a significant standout trend at the show. Arjuna presented their Herbagut digestible health product. “Herbagut is a blend of 14 different botanicals, including turmeric and ginger each of which has been selected based on the Ayurvedic system with unique fingerprinting and blended for a synergistic effect. It is mainly for the treatment of gut disorders and gut health,” says Binu Kuruvilla at Arjuna. Theracurmin Super was also offered by Theravalues.Also: “From a medical perspective, there was a lot of variety and a lot of new products I didn’t know about,” says Ernst-Jan Van Gellicum, Owner of Primelab, and another first-time visitor. “I practice orthomolecular medicine so I found some interesting products that could help with that. And I'm also planning to launch a specific product line of supplements, so in that respect, the packaging and contract manufacturing part of the event was very valuable.”
CuraLife, for example, was exhibiting their launch CuraLin, a revolutionary nutraceutical for people with diabetes. The supplement claims to offer optimized glucose levels.
Packaging companies were also present at the show, allowing visitors to plan their potential launches thoroughly from ingredients through to packaging. For example, Pont Packaging, who claim to represent a “major leap forward” for manufacturers and fillers delivering products to customers by post.
Bormioli Pharma also made a bold commitment to guarantee safety with the simple and precise reconstitution of oral drug products with their innovative packaging solution. You can read more about it here.
Personalized nutrition mainstreamed
Another prominent theme was personalized nutrition, which was also the subject of the new interactive workshop in the Vitafoods Europe Education Program.
A key project for DSM at the moment is its partnership with digital health company Mixfit. This partnership combines DSM's knowledge in essential micronutrients and Mixfit's technologies to provide the ability to analyze health data in real-time to effectively identify nutritional gaps and create customized beverages.
“Mixfit is personalized nutrition delivered in real time, based on each individual’s unique health, physiological and biological needs. In that context, it incorporates a very sophisticated platform that, in real time, analyzes and aggregates with your devices, with diagnostics and such. Whatever more data that we put into it, the more information that we have and through MINA (Mixfit Intelligence Nutrition Assistant), you can communicate with the device and dispense exactly the drink required for you,” Reza Zanjani, CEO and President of Mixfit, tells.
Spanish company Monteloeder also made waves at Vitafoods Europe this year with its “digital nutraceuticals” concept, which uses mobile technologies and wearable devices during a product's development. With the information gathered, Monteloeder develops digital solutions where product effects, consumer personal characteristics and context are taken into consideration.
“We noticed that our final consumers are more digitalized, often have wearable devices or mobile applications for health and are more aware of their health in general. So they realize that there’s a huge amount of products in the market and many either are considered not efficient or not as relevant. We decided that we had to change the company and the nutraceutical sector as the consumer is changing too,” Dr. Jonathan Jones, Research and Development Manager at Monteloeder, tells “We coined this 'digital nutraceuticals,' where we combine a supplement, which has been clinically demonstrated to be efficient, with a mobile app which helps the consumers [to reach a certain health goal].”
Vitafoods Europe 2018 assembled an exciting range of exhibitors and a myriad of themes. Furthermore, it has international appeal, with visitors from 112 countries visiting. The organizers are now planning for Vitafoods Asia, 11-12 September in Singapore.