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EVENTS

Vitafoods Europe’s success reflects strength of nutraceutical industry
Thursday, 14 June, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Geneva
Vitafoods Europe 2018, which concluded at Palexpo, Geneva, Switzerland, recently, attracted about 21,132 visitors. According to Informa Exhibitions, the organisers of the event, this reflected the strength of the industry.

The number was the highest in the event’s 21-year history and represented a six per cent increase vis-a-vis the 2017 event. Exhibitor numbers were also up, with 1,119 companies showcasing their products and services, eight per cent more than in 2017.

Commenting on the figures, Chris Lee, managing director, global health and nutrition network Europe, Informa Exhibitions, said, “The success of Vitafoods lies in the role we play in a vibrant, fast-moving industry that is committed to innovation.”

“There is an enormous thirst for knowledge and we offer a space where people can learn, as well as coming together to do business,” he added.

“By providing opportunities to discover new products and gain insights into the trends and science shaping nutrition, we hope to help drive innovation,” Lee said.

“The big focus now is on building our role as an industry partner, supporting its growth and helping it adapt to challenges,” he added.

The organisers of Vitafoods Europe are now planning for its next edition (slated to take place at Palexpo between May 7 and 9, 2019) as well as the 2018 essay of Vitafoods Asia (slated to take place in Singapore on September 11 and 12 September, 2018). In addition, they offer Vitafoods Insights ? a year-round digital engagement platform that explores key issues in the global health and nutrition industry.

Traditional categories converging
One trend that was apparent at Vitafoods Europe was the convergence of traditional categories.

“Old categories have begun to blur,” said Lee, adding, “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,” he stated.

Exhibitors and visitors also enjoyed the emergence of innovative new categories. Naturex was one of them. Antoine Dauby, its marketing communications director, said, “This year, we saw a lot of synergy between food and nutraceuticals, and a lot of innovations and new forms of delivery. So it's definitely a great place to learn.”

“It was pretty amazing to see food and supplements coming together,” said Pawel Ciuraj, managing partner, Foods by Ann. The first-time visitor to the event added, “It was really worth visiting because of the many different ways in which the industry is growing and developing.”

“From a medical perspective, there was a lot of variety and a lot of new products I didn’t know about,” said Ernst-Jan Van Gellicum, who owns, Primelab, another first-time visitor. He added, “I practise 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.”

Making personalised nutrition mainstream
Another big theme was personalised nutrition, which was the subject a new interactive workshop in the Vitafoods Europe Education Programme. A key question for delegates was how the category can become more accessible.

“I found the workshop very valuable, because I think personalised nutrition is a space where there’s not a lot of knowledge in terms of commercial applications,” said Katherine Martinez, associate vice-president, United Laboratories.

“From where I sit – because the Philippines is pretty much a third-world country ? the challenge is how to make personalised nutrition accessible, and there was a particularly interesting question about whether science is outpacing the commercialisation opportunities,” she added.

The introduction of the workshop was a part of a drive to make the Education Programme a more interactive experience. Other changes, such as the introduction of round table discussions, were also well received by delegates.

“I’ve been coming to Vitafoods since 2014, and I think the Education Programme gets better and better every year,” said Mohammed Gulrez Zariwala, senior lecturer, University of Westminster. He added, “It’s always useful, and I think the organisation was particularly good this year.”

Theatre attractions
A total of 4,635 people attended the presentations at the several theatres on the show floor, again indicating the visitors’ desire to learn. One of the most popular features was the new Sports Nutrition Theatre, where 869 people attended presentations.  

“The quality of our educational offering is very important to us,” said Lee, adding, “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 is now very common for everyday cyclists and runners to use specialised 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,” said Lee.

Global meeting place
Vitafoods Europe attracted visitors from 112 different countries, and the global nature of the event was appreciated by the exhibitors.

“Our booth was continually busy,” said Noa Yonish, marketing manager, Natural Solutions, Frutarom, adding, “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.”

“It’s the biggest event in the nutraceutical industry,” said Véronique Sancéau, marketing manager, Polaris.

She added, “We’ve been exhibiting for many years, and this year, in particular, was very interesting in terms of contacts and innovation. There seemed to be more people this year and more international people too ? Mexican, Mauritian, Saudi Arabian. The value of the event is both in the contacts we make and the new things we learn.”

“Vitafoods Europe is a huge event for our industry,” said Dauby, adding, “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.”

“Vitafoods continues to be an epicentre of deal flow in nutraceutical business,” said one of the visitors, Diogo Sousa-Martins, chief executive officer, ELS Solutions.

“We’re a pipeline and merger and acquisition (M&A) strategic advisory firm, so our team gets a lot of value from meeting with suppliers and customers throughout the event. This is definitely a must-go event,” he added.

“The experience as a visitor was excellent,” added Arun Kedia, managing director, VAV Life Sciences.

He added, “It was useful because we had a lot of meaningful business meetings. We came from India and it was definitely worth the journey.”
 
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