Vitafoods 2023 took place from 9-11 May in Geneva, Switzerland, this year, offering three days of in-person exhibitions from international nutraceutical suppliers and experts from across the globe.
Geneva, Switzerland is known for many things – its picturesque landscapes, diplomatic ties and global significance in science and technology. It is also a hub of world-leading innovation and development, which attracts many global and multinational companies.
From pioneering start-ups to industry giants, the event displayed smart products, formulations and ingredients that utilise the latest technologies, while offering multiple consumption options. And a sophisticated programme of keynote speakers, panel discussions and pitches aimed to unravel the latest trends and challenges faced by the burgeoning nutraceutical sector.
Exhibitors were excited by the hustle and bustle, recognising a “return to normality” following travel restrictions and lockdowns as a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic. It was refreshing to witness the enthusiasm and energy of the event as it bounced back from quieter years.
The event itself was a vibrant hub of discussion, with buzzing aisles, live demonstrations and fruitful collaborations, which FoodBev had the opportunity to engage with, albeit wishing for more time to explore further.
A special thanks to Arla Foods Ingredients, Kerry, ADM, Meurens, Carobway, Ingredia, Carbery, Rousselot, Volac, Givaudan, Prinova, Sirio, FrieslandCampina Ingredients and many more who invited us to discuss the latest ingredients and sample ingredients, application formats and flavours for their latest solutions.
So, what were our key take-homes?
This year, gummies were more popular than ever. With hundreds on display, it was really a battle of texture and taste, as manufacturers raced to tap into Europe’s adult gummy market – which many said was far behind that of the US. Sirio displayed raspberry-flavoured ‘Glow’ collagen gummies, which it says are “the only gummy offering the complete spectrum of hydrolysed collagen type 1, 2 and 3,” providing visible effects on skin elasticity, smoothness and glow.
Prinova’s Radiance Retainer gummies made similar promises, with the inclusion of zinc for the maintenance of normal hair and biotin, iodine, niacin, riboflavin and vitamin A to help prolong skin health.
Collagen-based solution provider Rousselot exhibited its latest collagen and gelatin ingredient innovations – it spotlighted the benefits of porcine collagen ingredients, namely Peptan P, which is said to aid joint support and bone health and enhance skin and hair beauty. Rousselot also showcased its SiMoGel gelatin solution that enables manufacturers to produce functional, liquid-centre filled gummies using a hygienic, starch-free molding technique.
E-sports and gamers
Gaming penetration grew significantly during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, as lockdowns forced people to stay home and socialise through digital means. As more people join the gaming community, food, beverage and dietary supplement brands vie for a slice of the action. Givaudan showcased Cereboost, an American ginseng extract and potent adaptogen that they say is clinically proven to improve concentration, working memory, calmness and self-confidence, and reduce mental fatigue by activating the gut-brain axis.
Microphyt, a French company that develops microalgae-based bioactives for nutrition, displayed GamePhyt, a natural complex designed specifically for gamers. The ingredient contains extracts of Phaeodactylum tricornutum microalgae, a source of fucoxanthin, which has proven benefits on memory, focus and anxiety. It also contains guarana extract, known for improving energy, endurance and mental sharpness. Double-blind and placebo-controlled clinical trials have shown GamePhyt to improve cognitive performance both after a single dose and after 30-day supplementation.
Gut health took centre stage in all forms – gummies, powders, effervescent tablets, sachets, gels, you name it. As we deepen our understanding of the crucial role the gut microbiota plays in maintaining overall health and wellbeing, it is clear to see that the demand for targeted food and beverage products has proliferated. ADM displayed DE111, a spore-forming probiotic supported by numerous studies that show it aids factors pertinent to digestive health, regularity and body composition.
Additionally, a groundbreaking study demonstrates that DE111 can germinate in the small intestine, as it can survive gastric transit and the harsh conditions of the stomach and bile salts. FrieslandCampina Ingredients showcased Biotis Fermentis powder sticks, specifically designed to support athletes in maximising their athletic performance while reducing associated gastrointestinal issues by stimulating the growth of Bifidobacteria.
The crucial role gut microbiota plays in maintaining overall health and wellbeing is discussed in more detail in the next issue of FoodBev, stay tuned or click here for more details.
Making a health claim is easy when comes to launching new ingredients and products; but ensuring those claims are accurate and evidenced is crucial.
Clinically proven health claims seemed to permeate all corners of the expo centre, with manufacturers insisting that research and clinical trials instil confidence in the consumer. With research as a priority, almost every booth had some form of clinical results to back their products.
And of course, sustainability reigned strong among those exhibiting at Vitafoods. From upcycled ingredients to sustainably, naturally sourced formulations, no pages were left unturned. Foodtech start-up CarboWay showcased nutritious products – bars, chocolate and crackers – made from ancient superfruit carob, which has prebiotic effects and can also be used as a 1:1 natural sugar replacement.
CarobWay optimised the fruit, which is native and acclimatised to the Mediterranean region, through strategic solutions that utilise 100% of the carob while conserving resources such as water.
Italian Alps-based fruit processing enterprise Iprona showcased ElderCraft, a brand of black elderberry extract for immune and gut health. The company sources the extract from Austrian Haschberg berries and prides itself on its business ethics and on keeping a close eye on its environmental impact as a supplier. The supply chain is European – meaning short transportation routes and transparent and sustainable handling of the whole process. It is fully controlled by Iprona, including storage and pre-processing, enabling full traceability that allows a finished extract to be precisely tracked back to its farm of origin.
By Phoebe Fraser
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