May 2023

May 16, 2023

A brief review of Vitafoods 2023

May means Vitafoods. And Vitafoods means ‘what’s new’?

The answer to that is always a challenge as the industry rhetoric typically defaults to ‘not much’.

And we’re not surprised in truth, because we are all immersed in the industry on a daily basis and we go from show to show with reasonable frequency. So what do we really think we’ll see at a show that we haven’t seen before?

Therefore, the question is more about ‘what’s evolved and/or what’s evolving’.

And Vitafoods was clear in emphasising that collagen is evolving with respect to the breadth of suppliers, in addition to the number of suppliers hero’ing ‘Vegan Collagen’. At this point it is worth reflecting that for all of the enthusiasm about Vegan Collagen, there is as much frustration regarding definitions, boosters vs. biomimetics, and regulatory oversight. We suspect it will continue to evolve quickly, albeit that evolution will be bumpy with regards to its acceptance within the B2B environment.

Perhaps, the other evolving trend of note is female health. Although to some extent, we have to remember that knowledge and product solutions are not new. In fact, it is a well-established ‘category’ within dietary supplements. So what is changing? On reflection, we’re not convinced it is an ingredient or product thing, but a recognition that at the consumer level, there are more brands looking to ‘break the taboo’ in terms of the conversation. And as such, at a B2B level, it is reflected as a priority area of focus.

Beyond that, then the microbiome, delivery systems, and plant ‘everything’ continues to dominate. And that won’t change for the foreseeable future.

No alt text provided for this image

A challenge to cut through the noise

Our alternative view of Vitafoods (not just the ‘what is new’) was one of curiosity - curiosity about the increasing number of branded ingredients that there are (there were so many!) and exactly how anyone truly interprets what is good (superior) or not (inferior). The ability to cut through the noise.

Branded ingredients serve to reflect the quality of an extract, provenance, bioavailability, efficacy (clinical trials) or other features that are similar. They come with a logo and a name and more often than not, come with a premium price. Putting aside the conversation about whether consumers care, or not, our biggest reflection from Vitafoods 2023 was just how difficult it was - almost impossible in fact - to evaluate the good from the bad.

Now, of course, that evaluation truly comes from an in-depth conversation. We get that. But on the basis a trade show is not too dissimilar to a consumer shopping experience, the ability to attract those walking by needs to be increasingly consumer centric, engaging and obvious. And interestingly, whilst the number of branded ingredients is increasing, arguably there was a lack of evolution in how well those ingredients are being presented in ways that will capture the imagination of brands.

It feels harsh to say, and we’re open to comment or critique, but there is a gap between the consumer/brand level and the B2B level, which risks widening as brands continue to democratise and become more relevant to digitally native consumers. The B2B industry needs to keep up and embrace more modern and engaging approaches to communicating what they have, and what role they play. Otherwise, they won’t cut through.

Two small gems

Amongst all the noise of Vitafoods, there were two gems that we did spot worth mentioning.

Firstly, in the tasting area, Azelis showcased their “Gummy in & out”. As the description says, it can be consumed as a gummy or diluted in water and applied to the skin. Whilst, we have no clue yet how that can be leveraged there is something genius about the concept/technology.

No alt text provided for this image

Secondly, I had the joy of watching Mariette Abrahams present at the Future of Food Forum on the Monday before Vitafoods started.

In one of her great trend slides on personalisation, she described a technology that allowed people to smell a scent so that you understood what a product could taste like. Basically, imagine a world where you get sent a range of smell cards (think perfume), that provide the sensation of taste. That way you can choose what flavour you really want, not just guess.

Thanks to Mariette, here is a nice link to read more about it.


Join our latest Engage webinar

No alt text provided for this image

An industry redefining itself - From Pre-workout, to Energy, to Gaming

So often we ask the question 'What is new?' It is a question we all understand, yet, it almost always leads to the response of 'not much'.

That is because we think we’ll see something we haven’t seen before. But this is not realistic, or how the world of nutrition works. Our industry is based on evolution, and the re-imagination and/or re-definition of products and ingredients that we know and love, but for today’s consumers.

So for our next Engage, we want to delve into one of the most interesting areas of evolution, the pre-workout powder and how it's re-defining itself in the role of energy and gaming. This is an evolution right at the heart of the new generation of digital native consumers.

Sign up today:

Uncover more...

Get immersed in the industry
Get in touch to find out more about how we can be a part of your business development journey, or book a demo of our platform to see it for yourself