There has been speculation about the impact that political shocks such as Brexit will have on the industry. But research by the organizers of Vitafoods Europe (taking place between May 9-11 in Palexpo, Geneva, Switzerland) paints an overwhelmingly positive picture, with excitement about consumer awareness and developing markets on the rise.
Visitors to the event were asked how they felt about the future of their businesses in terms of sales performance and profitability. Nearly nine in 10 (88%) said they felt either very positive or quite positive. When the same question was asked last year, 87% said they were either very or quite positive, suggesting that industry optimism has not diminished over the past 12 months.
Chris Lee, managing director, Global Health and Nutrition Network, Europe, Informa Exhibitions said, “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. 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. Vitafoods Europe helps visitors understand those opportunities and make the most of them. But there will always be challenges too, and part of our role is to support the industry in meeting them.”
Visitors to Vitafoods will have access to a range of attractions across four key market areas: ingredients & raw materials, branded finished products, contract manufacturing & private label, and services & equipment.
When asked to name the three biggest opportunities for their companies, over half the survey respondents (53%) identified increased consumer awareness of nutrition, up from 50% last year, and a third (33%) chose growth in developing markets—up from 24%. Four in ten (41%) cited innovation through new ingredients.
Vitafoods Europe is the place to discover and explore these opportunities. Year on year, businesses use the event as a platform for launches, and hundreds of new ingredients will be exhibited and demonstrated at this year’s event, 90 of them in the New Ingredients Zone alone.
There will also be plenty of innovation on show in the New Products Zone, and the Springboard Pavilion will provide a space to engage with entrepreneurs at the cutting edge of the nutrition sector. For visitors who like their information bite-sized, the unique Vitafoods Launchpad will offer concise, highly focused exhibitor presentations about the latest products and ingredients.
New for 2017, the Vitafoods Innovation Centre, in association with analyze & realize, will offer free consultations on product development, scientific marketing, licensing opportunities, regulation and market access. Visitors who take advantage of the Innovation Tours in association with NutriMarketing will be able to take a guided tour around carefully selected exhibitors. And for those who prefer to find their own way round, four self-guided Discovery Trails will show the way to Sports Nutrition suppliers; New Exhibitors; Exhibitors looking for Distributors; and Advice and Expertise.
Last year, one in five visitors to Vitafoods Europe listed probiotics as one of the categories they were most interested in, and this will be the focus of the new Probiotics Resource Centre in association with the International Probiotics Association. This dedicated knowledge hub will enable visitors to understand everything there is to know about Probiotics, from the latest breakthroughs in technology to analysis of consumer trends.
As well as showcasing new products and ingredients, Vitafoods Europe helps visitors learn more about the markets in which they operate, with hundreds of industry figures offering valuable business insights, as well as addressing complex legal, regulatory, and ethical issues. In the Market & Trend Overview, experts from Innova Market Insights will explain the latest innovations and emerging industry trends. Topics will include the Top 10 trends for 2017, Cognitive Health, and Heart Health. Visitors to Vitafoods Centre Stage will hear from expert speakers including Inga Koehler of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare who will address upper limits for vitamins and minerals in Europe.
Meanwhile, 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 a wide range of global exhibitors. Experts from around the world will also be sharing results from clinical trials and research projects through Poster Presentations.
For those enjoy the competitive side of things, the Vitafoods Venture Den will be an informal, fast-paced pitching competition for entrepreneurial businesses looking to raise finance and forge strategic partnerships. And 15 professionally screened companies will be seeking investors or strategic partners in the NCN Investor Meeting, in association with Nutrition Capital Network. Meanwhile, the NutraIngredients Awards will take place for the third time.
Vitafoods Europe is very much a global affair. Last year visitors travelled from 114 different countries, and this year’s event will host companies and ingredients from six continents. There will be 12 International Pavilions—more than ever before—with dedicated spaces for exhibitors from Germany and Canada for the first time.
Helping Solve Problems
As well as allowing companies to explore and understand opportunities, Vitafoods Europe helps them deal with the challenges they face.
Foremost among these, the survey suggests, is stricter regulation, which was identified as a challenge by 44% of survey respondents.
Visitors with any questions about regulation, certification, market research or product development will be able to have a one-on-one consultation with experts in The Advice Centre. Meanwhile, Vitafoods Centre Stage will host a keynote panel discussion about the impact of EU regulation on innovation in the ingredient sector. Speakers will include Petr Mensik, EU Affairs Manager at EU Specialty Food Ingredients and Beate Kettlitz, Director of Food Policy, Science and R&D at Food Drink Europe.
The Vitafoods Europe Education Programme will run alongside the exhibition. Previously known as the Vitafoods Europe Conference, it will deliver targeted, high-value content focused on delegates’ individual business roles.
Based on feedback from last year, the Program will be separated into three distinct platforms to give delegates more flexibility to access content aligned with their particular areas of interest. For those seeking high-level technical knowledge, there will be seven R&D Forums which will showcase the latest applied nutrition science. Each will be dedicated to particular ingredients: omega-3s, phytosterols, polyphenols, vitamins, dietary fibers, proteins and ingredients from India. The Forums will be delivered by world-leading experts, including Prof. Dr. Clemens von Schacky of Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich who will explain “Why you want to have a high HS-Omega-3 Index” and Dr. Anna-Marjah Aura of the VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland, who will discuss dietary fibre-intestinal microbiome interactions.
A series of Business Workshops will present best practice for business growth, market access and streamlined supply chains for management and senior-level professionals in sales and marketing. Each of the sessions will focus on one of four key areas: ingredient registration and regulation; market insights and trends; marketing strategies; and botanicals. Speakers will include Professor Vittorio Silano, Professor, Medical School, II University of Rome, and Chairman of the EFSA Scientific Committee Working group on Botanicals.
The full-day Probiotics Summit, produced with the assistance of the International Probiotics Association, will explore the current market and regulatory environment, as well as the latest developments in R&D. Speakers will include new IPA EU Executive Director, Rosanna Pecere, and Professor Michael Messora of the University of São Paulo.
Back by Popular Demand
After a successful debut in 2015, the Omega-3 Resource Centre, run in association with the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED) has become a popular draw. Visitors will be able to hear expert presentations on market trends and on the latest R&D, including current expert thinking on the roles of Omega-3s in human physiology. They will also be able to sample a wide range of ingredients and products from GOED members
The growth of sports nutrition as a category has been a significant industry success story in recent years, and will be an important focus at this year’s event. Dr. Adam Carey, Chair of the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA), will chair a panel discussion on Vitafoods Centre Stage titled “A New Era of Innovation in Sports Nutrition.” More experts will be on hand in the Sports Nutrition Zone, which enjoyed a successful debut in 2016. This year the Zone will be sponsored by Friesland Campina DMVD and will include product showcases and a sampling bar. Visitors will also be able to access one-to-one Sports Nutrition Regulation Advice, specifically on sports nutrition supplements.