At May’s Vitafoods Europe trade show, held this year from May 15-17 in Geneva, Switzerland, attendees from all areas of the global nutraceutical industry explored new ingredients, innovative delivery systems, and new product concepts. Some of the highlights of this year’s event included functional foods, cosmetics and beauty-from-within products, and the quickly growing personalized nutrition space. Event organizers state that 2018’s Vitafoods Europe trade show attracted more than 20,000 visitors from 112 countries for the first time in the event’s 21-year history. This year’s attendance represented a 6% increase over last year, while exhibitor numbers were up 8% over 2017.
According to Vitafoods organizers, the event’s growth reflects the success of the nutraceuticals industry as a whole. One of the key concepts driving industry growth, organizers note, is the blurring of traditional categories. Chris Lee, managing director, Global Health & Nutrition Network Europe, Informa Exhibitions, stated in a press release that category lines between foods, supplements, cosmetics, and more are quickly becoming less rigid.
“There’s now a really interesting space, for example, between nutrition and pharma,” he said. “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.”
And as the lines between food and dietary supplements continue to blur, new delivery systems are helping to provide consumers with food and cosmetic products that offer a functional purpose, as well. Said Antoine Dauby, marketing communications director at Naturex (Avignon, France), one of the event’s exhibitors: “This year, we saw a lot of synergy between food and nutraceuticals, and a lot of innovations and new forms of delivery.”
Personalized nutrition also received a lot of attention at this year’s show. This year, in an effort to make Vitafoods’ Education Program a more interactive experience, the organization introduced a new interactive educational workshop. The interactive personalized nutrition workshop covered, among other topics, ways to improve consumer awareness, how to navigate legislative and policy changes that impact the category, and how the personalized nutrition space can become more accessible to nutraceutical companies. Katherine Martinez, assistant vice president, United Laboratories (Mandaluyong City, Philippines), noted that the workshop helped to shed some light on how companies can leverage the personalized nutrition concept into commercial applications.
“From where I sit—because the Philippines is pretty much a third world country—the challenge is how to make personalized nutrition accessible, and there was a particularly interesting question about whether science is outpacing the commercialization opportunities,” she added.
In addition to creating the new interactive workshop, Vitafoods also introduced roundtable discussions, which organizers say were well-received by attendees.
“I’ve been coming to Vitafoods since 2014 and I think the Education Program gets better and better every year,” said Mohammed Gulrez Zariwala, PhD, senior lecturer at the University of Westminster (London). “It’s always useful, and I think the organization was particularly good this year.”
Another new feature to this year’s Vitafoods event was the Sports Nutrition Theater, where 869 visitors attended presentations on topics ranging from adulteration in sports nutrition supplements, new ingredients with sports applications, new delivery formats for exercise supplements, and research updates on a range of sports nutrition ingredients.
“The quality of our educational offering is very important to us,” said Informa Exhibitions’ Lee. “We work hard to adapt to trends in order to deliver the most relevant information and sports nutrition is a good example of that. We’ve seen the category evolve from something that was the preserve of professional athletes into something much more mainstream—it’s now very common for everyday cyclists and runners to use specialized nutrition products. In recent years, we’ve added considerably to our sports nutrition offering and it was great to see the new theatre being so popular on its debut.”
Exhibitors stated that this year’s impressive attendance resulted in busier booths and successful networking opportunities.
“Our booth was continually busy,” said Noa Yonish, marketing manager, Natural Solutions, Frutarom (Herzliya, Israel), a flavor and natural specialty ingredients firm. “Most of the conversations we had were with customers who needed something and we generated around 200 leads, which is a lot. Vitafoods lends itself to these business opportunities because it’s the place where ingredient companies come together from all over the world. There were people from the Far East, people from the States, and, of course, people from Europe—it’s very international.”
“Vitafoods Europe is a huge event for our industry” added Naturex’s Dauby. “It’s a good way for us to launch our products and definitely a great platform to network. In terms of the footfall, we had a good flow of people—the right profile as well.”
Véronique Sancéau, marketing manager at Polaris, a company that specializes in functional lipids, added that although Polaris has exhibited at Vitafoods for many years, this year’s event was particularly fruitful for the company. “This year in particular was very interesting in terms of contacts and innovation,” she explained. “There seemed to be more people this year and more international people, too…the value of the event is both in the contacts we make and the new things we learn.”
Informa Exhibitions’ Lee added that the event’s success comes down to its emphasis on innovation to help grow the nutraceuticals industry. “There’s enormous thirst for knowledge, and we offer a space where people can learn, as well as coming together to do business,” he said. “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.”
Next year’s Vitafoods Europe show is scheduled to take place from May 7-9, 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland. In addition to Vitafoods Europe, the organization also hosts Vitafoods Asia, which will take place this year from September 11-12 in Singapore. Vitafoods Insights, meanwhile, is a year-round digital engagement platform that explores key issues in the global health and nutrition industry.