This May, nearly 19,000 nutraceutical professionals from over 162 countries came together online (1-12 May), and in Geneva’s Palexpo centre (9-11 May) at the biggest ever Vitafoods Europe in the event’s 26-year history.
Boasting an impressive 25,000 square meters of exhibition space, the event featured brand new premium content, returning visitor favourites – including the Vitafoods Insights Theatre – plus a range of networking opportunities brought to life through Informa Market’s unique data-driven matchmaking service and dedicated in-person networking receptions. Now that the dust has settled on yet another inspiring and vibrant event, we look back at some of the key highlights and stand-out moments from this years’ Vitafoods Europe.
The world’s nutraceutical event
Featuring returning companies – such as Lonza, Gnosis by Lesaffre, IMCD Group, Zuccari, Intermed, DSM and Arla – and companies exhibiting for the first time – including NaturaYuva, Nomi Biotech, Chr. Olesen and Bee Health – Vitafoods Europe 2023 saw a significant 1,060 exhibiting companies from across both the industry and the world. Commenting on the success of exhibiting for their business, Vitor Antune, Regional Sales Director for Romaco Holdings, said “I had two pre-scheduled meetings, and at the end of the day, we were fully booked up. We had very good quality meetings […] it’s definitely our plan to be here next year.”
Forward facing insights at the Future of Nutrition Summit
2023 saw the Vitafoods Europe debut of the Future of Nutrition Summit (8 May), designed to help nutrition leaders capitalise on the opportunities presented by emerging technologies and trends. The Summit brought together a range of C-suite leaders and forward thinkers from startups, big industry players and top 100 FMCG companies. Covering a diverse cross-section of the industry, including food science, nutrition innovation, sustainability, retail, public health and more, delegates and speakers met to share insights, innovations and consider their impact on the industry over the next five years.
Highlight talks included Agathe Danjou, Evolution and Disruption Strategy Director at Danone, on translating trends into actionable, long term business strategies, plus Evan Berk, Global Director of Nutritional Sciences and Innovation at Unilever, on the evolving science of personalised supplementation. Speaking on the Summit and the key trend he thinks will shape the future of the industry, Evan said: “The rise of AI is going to be really informative – being able to go through large datasets relatively quickly will help with breakthrough innovation.” Guru Ramanathan, Managing Director of Dutch Medical Food, added, “I think personalisation and customisation is here to stay [...] To have a session dedicated to the future of nutrition is phenomenal. I wish more of my colleagues were here – this is the place to be!”
Insights fuelling innovation
The Vitafoods Europe Conference (9-10 May) also returned, boasting a new format and location on the show floor. Its two-day programme spotlighted innovation opportunities and ways to overcome common industry challenges. Sessions dived into the applications of the latest scientific research, with each day focusing on a specific trending health area. Among others, key speakers at the Conference included: Dr Caroline Munari, Global R&D Platform Lead at Nestlé Nutrition discussing ways to optimise maternal nutrition from pre-conception onwards; Colleen Draper, Co-Founder of PhenomX Health, on the potential of precision nutrition to support womens’ health during the menopause; and Rick Miller, Associate Director of Specialised Nutrition at Mintel, on how brands can keep up with an everchanging sports nutrition industry.
Innovation at its best
In addition to the much-loved Startup Pavilion and innovation tours running through-out the event, 2023 saw the addition of the Startup Innovation Challenge to the Vitafoods Europe agenda. The challenge provided an opportunity for visitors to discover cutting-edge innovations from the most exciting health and nutraceutical startups as they pitch their ideas live.
Winners included Sweet Victory Gum, whose functional plant-based chewing gum was crowned Most Innovative Finished Nutraceutical Product, and EktaH, whose modified linoleic acid for supporting satiety and weight loss won Most Innovative Nutraceutical Ingredient. Giancarlo Addario, principal at Five Seasons Ventures and part of the judging panel, said entries were at a: “very high level technologically [and] in terms of business models”, and that the Vitafoods Europe Startup Innovation Challenge “helps in bringing the startups into contact with investors and partners in bringing their ideas to life.”
Stepping up on sustainability
In addition to powering the event with renewable energy and facilitating the use of recycled materials through its Better Stands Initiative, Vitafoods Europe 2023 featured a new Sustainability Resource Centre, dedicated to driving sustainable change in nutrition. Covering a spectrum of sustainability issues – from supply chain traceability, regulatory compliance, alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and gender and LGBTQ+ inclusivity – visitors benefitted from a host of expert presentations. Lively networking events were also hosted by Women in Nutraceuticals and The Naturally Proud Network.
Plus, as part of Informa Markets’ ongoing commitment to sustainability, Vitafoods Europe 2023 saw the launch of its new partnership with leading international civil society organisation Solidaridad. Speaking on the new resource centre, Heather Granato, Vice President of Partnerships & Sustainability, Food EMEA, Informa Markets, said: “Sustainability is at the heart of Vitafoods Europe 2023 – by introducing the new Sustainability Resource Centre, we are aiming to create a unique experience to inspire, foster valuable connections and provide a launchpad from which the global nutraceutical community can drive sustainable change in the industry.”
Vitafoods Europe will return in 2024 online (6-17 May) and in Geneva (14-16 May). Visit www.vitafoods.eu.com/ to find out more.