From Essential Oils to Ashwagandha: Trending Ingredients at Vitafoods Europe


From hemp to kombucha to Ayurvedic herbs, consumers are looking to traditional therapeutic formulas with longstanding use.

Emerging ingredients for health and nutrition were a key focus at the 2018 edition of Vitafoods Europe.
“Up and Coming?” was a new dedicated stream of R&D Forums in the event’s Education Program. Among other emerging ingredients, it examined the current science around essential oils, as well as their benefits and potential to meet industry trends.
Keynote speaker Dr. Astrid Stuckelberger, lecturer at the University of Geneva and author of new e-book “The Science of Smell,” commented: “There are many reasons to see essential oils as the new hip ingredient. Growing urbanization means consumers are looking for scents that have disappeared from their environment while ‘perfuming’ their lives with healing feel-good ambience. And with increasing distrust in pharmaceuticals, they want natural, pure products that appeal to the senses and are effective. From scent to oral or topical applications, essential oils offer numerous preventive health benefits and can be therapeutic on many levels—physical, mental and emotional. With the current boom in the global wellness industry, in particular spas and massage, demand is only going to rise.”
Industrial hemp and the potential of kombucha were also among the topics explored in the “Up and Coming?” forums. Professor Rimantas Venskutonis of the Kaunas University of Technology shared studies about industrial hemp, described as an “old-new” source of functional ingredients, while Professor Miomir Niksic of the University of Belgrade offered insights into the potential of kombucha and other ingredients from fungi.
On the main show floor were hundreds more opportunities to discover emerging new ingredients. One example is ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic herb which has been used for centuries but is now seeing worldwide growth thanks to a growing body of clinical evidence.
“Ashwagandha has an impressively wide range of health benefits,” said Karikeya Baldwa, director of Ixoreal, which showcased its KSM-66 ashwagandha.“It is one of the few herbs with significant effects on both psychological and physiological function. It has been shown to help decrease stress and anxiety, to improve cognitive ability, and to increase endurance, strength, and muscle recovery rate. Ashwagandha meets a number of consumer trends, including the move away from the synthetic to the natural. Perhaps its greatest strength is that it combines solid scientific evidence with a long history going back thousands of years, both of which instill confidence and allow marketers to tell interesting stories.”
Ixoreal is working with American author and explorer Chris Kilham, also known as 'Medicine Hunter.' He was in attendance at the company’s booth to educate people about the clinically proven benefits of KSM-66 ashwagandha.