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From pharma to food: Vitafoods 2024 highlights
FoodBev Media

FoodBev Media

23 May 2024

From pharma to food: Vitafoods 2024 highlights

Last week, FoodBev Media’s Rafaela Sousa attended Vitafoods Europe 2024 in the lovely city of Geneva, Switzerland. Geneva, situated at the meeting point of Lake Geneva and the Rhône River, is renowned for its Old Town, waterfront promenades and beautiful parks. Its historic architecture and picturesque scenery make it a charming destination for visitors. Beyond the vibrant displays and insightful discussions at Vitafoods 2024 stood the backdrop of a rapidly expanding nutraceutical market. With consumers increasingly seeking preventive healthcare solutions and natural alternatives to traditional medicine, the global nutraceutical industry has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years. Fueling this growth are shifting consumer demographics and lifestyle trends. As populations age and health awareness rises, demand for products that promote overall wellbeing, address specific health concerns and enhance quality of life continues to soar. Moreover, changing dietary preferences, coupled with a growing focus on personalised nutrition, are driving innovation and product differentiation within the nutraceutical sector. So, what were some of the highlights presented at Vitafoods 2024? Gummies with benefits Gummies continued to gain prominence as a popular delivery format for nutritional supplements at Vitafoods 2024. The trend towards gummy vitamins and supplements reflects consumer preferences for convenient and enjoyable ways to incorporate health-promoting ingredients into daily routines. Exhibitors showcased a variety of gummy formulations targeting different health needs, from multivitamins to specialised supplements addressing specific concerns such as immune support, skin health and stress relief. The versatility of gummies, combined with their taste and texture, makes them a compelling option for consumers of all ages seeking to support their wellbeing. In the gut health space, DSM-Firmenich and Indena partnered to debut two different dietary supplement gummy solutions. The first targets the gut-brain axis using DSM-Firmenich’s postbiotic, Humiome Post LB, and Indena's calming botanical agent, Relissa, a Melissa officinalis extract enhanced with patented Phytosome technology. The second gummy concept blends Humiome Post LB with Cubo, which features Indena's curcumin Phytosome and Boswellia serrata Phytosome, to support microbiome balance. Additionally, a new gummy product designed to support rapid brain fuel, delivering essential nutrients to alleviate brain fog and promote cognitive wellbeing, has been introduced at the trade show. Sirio displayed its pectin-based Mind Sharpener mushroom gummies at Vitafoods’ tasting centre, offering attendees the chance to sample the product. These gummies, powered by cordyceps and chaga mushrooms and vitamin B6, aim to support mental clarity and vitality. Gummy supplement manufacturer TopGum unveiled IronGum, high-dose iron gummies with a sensory appeal. IronGum offers a solution for those struggling with iron supplements' metallic taste. These vegan gummies provide a pleasing flavour and smooth texture, eliminating the need to swallow large pills. At the event, Kerry aimed to showcase the company’s ability to innovate in health benefits through various formats. The company presented three different gummies concepts, each using different types of technologies. The first concept, branded as Cola Calm Ashwagandha Gummies, featured Kerry's ashwagandha extract, Sensoril, which is designed for stress reduction. The second concept introduced was Kerry’s newest launch, Glow from Inside Out Yuzu Gummies. This product includes Plenibiotic, which is a science-backed postbiotic ingredient that supports digestive and skin health, emphasising the gut-skin connection. The final concept focused on immunity with Stress-Less Immune Summerfruit Gummies. It featured an ingredient called Wellmune Adapt, which combines Wellmune, an immunity-boosting ingredient, with vitamin C for immune health and Sensoril ashwagandha to help the body adapt to stress. “ is part of the trend where consumers don’t want just one health benefit, they want everything in one,” said Niamh Hunt, senior global marketing manager for immune and joint health at Kerry. “Consumers now seek multiple health benefits in one product". Glanbia Nutritionals' booth centred around the theme of 'health and vitality,' emphasising a holistic approach to wellbeing that includes both physical health and mental wellness. A key feature of its showcase was the NutraShield microencapsulation technology, which was demonstrated through two caffeine gummy products. The grapefruit and ginger gummies contain 25mg of caffeine each, while the chocolate and coffee gummies contain 50mg each. Tara Bane, EMEA marketing manager at Glanbia Nutritionals, told FoodBev: "The microencapsulation has a flavour mask and a thin coating, similar to an M&M, which helps prevent the bitter taste when the gummies touch your tastebuds."

Women’s health Another notable aspect of the event was the emphasis on women’s health. Many exhibitors showcased novel products designed to support various aspects of women's wellbeing. These included supplements targeting hormonal balance, fertility, urinary tract infections (UTI), skin health and overall vitality. Sirio Pharma, for example, showcased a wide range of women’s health products, ranging from supplements rich in essential vitamins and minerals to specialised formulas targeting specific women's health needs. The company’s offerings included its new PureOrganix range of gummies and softgels, which were formulated to meet the stringent EU-Organic certification criteria and target three health areas – PMS and menopause, metabolic health and cardiac health. Sirio also developed Innofolate, which is a softgel that uses Gnosis by Lesaffre’s Quatrefolic, a highly available folate to help combat anaemia during pregnancy. In addition, another concept developed by Sirio is Me & Mum, an all-in-one postnatal softgel. This product is powered by kd-pür, which is a highly concentrated pure algae oil DHA of KD Pharma. The formulation supports mothers' health and wellbeing during the postnatal period, helping with hormonal hair loss and breastfeeding. Meanwhile, Kerry displayed its ingredient – Caronositol Fertility – designed to support hormonal and metabolic balance in a woman’s reproductive cycle. Caronositol Fertility combines Myo-inositol (from corn phytin) and D-chiroinositol (from carob bean fruit) to help women with fertility issues related to PCOS. UTI prevention supplements are another key focus, with products designed to support urinary tract health and prevent infections. According to OASH (Office on Women's Health), women are up to 30 times more likely than men to get UTIs. Therefore, Givaudan presented its branded ingredient, Pacran, which a 100% natural blend of whole cranberry ingredients, optimised for urinary tract health. Supported by ‘gold-standard science’, it has proven effective against E.coli adhesion, which is the main cause of UTIs.

Collagen Collagen remained a hot topic at Vitafoods 2024, with numerous exhibitors showcasing innovative collagen-based products targeting various health and beauty needs. Collagen, a protein that provides structure to skin, hair, nails and joints, has been gaining popularity in recent years for its potential health benefits. One notable presentation came from Rousselot who introduced the launch of Nextida, a platform of specific collagen peptide compositions with targeted health benefits. Nextida supports the body’s balance naturally. These compositions have been rigorously tested through preclinical and clinical trials, ensuring their efficacy and safety. Nextida offers targeted health benefits beyond traditional collagen formulations. Nextida.GC, the first product from the Nextida platform, naturally reduces post-meal sugar spikes in healthy individuals. German manufacturer Gelita showcased novel ingredient solutions in its portfolio of bioactive collagen peptides at Vitafoods – PeptEndure and Verisol. PeptEndure, described as the first collagen protein solution for improved endurance performance, promotes long-term adaptive changes in muscle, supporting sustained peak performance. Meanwhile, Verisol is a bioactive collagen peptide optimised to support beauty from within. By stimulating fibroblasts to produce more collagen, it enhances hair, nail and skin health while reducing wrinkles and cellulite. Clinical trials While making health claims may seem straightforward when introducing new ingredients and products, ensuring their accuracy and evidence-based support is paramount. At the Vitafoods 2024 exposition, clinically proven health claims were ubiquitous, underscoring the manufacturers' emphasis on research and clinical trials to inspire consumer confidence. Mitsubishi Gas Chemical (MGC), for example, released a new study where it found that the antioxidant ingredient, Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), can help delay the natural ageing process, particularly by targeting mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell. Atsushi Sugimoto, assistant manager for MGC, said: “We’re encouraged by the preliminary research that suggests MGCPQQ has anti-ageing potential. As the elderly population continues to expand in Europe, we want to ensure consumers have access to mitochondria-boosting ingredients that have been vetted for their safety and effectiveness as well as support a healthy lifestyle.” Meanwhile, Bioiberica collaborated with the Poal Institute of Rheumatology to conduct its latest clinical research behind its native type II collagen, Collavant n2. The trial sought to evaluate how effective and well-tolerated Collavant n2 was in improving joint function among healthy volunteers who experienced joint discomfort after intensive exercise. Daniel Martínez-Puig, head of R&D human and animal health at Bioiberica and one of the investigators of the study, said: “This research could be a gamechanger in the field of nutrition innovation. Not only were the initial findings promising, but the positive effects of Collavant n2 were observed after just three months. This suggests the ingredient could therefore contribute to overall satisfaction and compliance with products featuring it.” Looking ahead, Vitafoods 2025 will take place in Barcelona, Spain, marking a new chapter in the industry's evolution. We look forward to seeing you there!

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