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Vitafoods Europe 2024: The Big Goodbye to Geneva

The Future of Nutrition Summit

The show was off to a remarkable start on Monday with the Future of Nutrition Summit, where I was pleased to be asked to share insights into how digital technologies are influencing the future consumer and join a panel looking at how this is translating through to new product development trends.

The discussion was hosted by Niamh Michail from Informa, with Alex Glover from Holland and Barrett, James Collier from Huel, and Ian Noble from Mondelēz International covering a wide range of topics that are impacting the consumer decision making in the future. Some of the topics covered included: who is the next generation consumer and how can companies connect with them; the growing trend for convenience; personalization and the role of technology in the NPD process.

The conference was well attended, and participants could learn about a wide range of topics including Customer First Science First R&D; precision nutrition; the use of AI in personalized nutrition and ingredient discovery; and the challenges associated with precision fermentation. It culminated in a vibrant networking session with delicious and predominately vegetarian food and drinks (the ginger water and organic apple juice were particularly enjoyable).

VitaFoods Europe 2024

Then, on Tuesday, we headed to Palexpo for the last time as, after hosting the show for 26 years, VitaFoods will move to Barcelona next year.

The show was well attended and busy on all three days. Opening up the Insights Theatre and Conference Theatre presentations to all attendees was seemingly a wise move as both of these theaters were packed out every time I walked past.

Consumer Education in the Influencer Economy

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of joining a panel at the Insights Theatre to talk about Consumer Education in the Influencer Economy, alongside Niamh Michail from Informa and Simon Pettman from IADSA. During this well-attended session, we acknowledged both the challenges and opportunities for the industry in working with influencers.

We also discussed the imperative of both industry associations and governments to introduce better regulation for this channel to level the playing field between what brands and responsible industry professionals can claim about products/ingredients in their marketing and what influencers say on social channels.


Given the digital trends I discussed on Monday, evidently this channel for consumer communication is not going anywhere soon. Moreover, most of the audience admitted to leveraging this channel.

Therefore, alongside better regulation and “teeth” providing a deterrent, there is an opportunity for brands to further leverage these channels to provide positive and accurate messaging to a consumer audience that is increasingly keen to learn more about the products promoted to them.

The Year of Biotics

Later in the day, I presented at the Conference Theatre on the topic of Navigating the Evolution of the Biotics Market.

I took the audience of this bustling session on a whistle-stop, 20-minute tour through the key developments in ingredients, competitive landscape, market drivers, health benefits, consumer perceptions, as well as opportunities for pro-, pre-, and post-biotics. The presentation is available for download here – Navigating the Biotics Horizon: Market Evolution and Beyond.

It was a timely presentation given that biotics in all forms (pro-, pre-, syn-, and post-) were probably the dominant ingredient category at the show.

The key trend in this area was the targeting of products toward specific benefits going far beyond gut health, including cognitive health, women’s health, pregnancy and infant health, ENT health in children, liver health, vaginal and respiratory health, as well as satiety benefits.

In the New Products Zone, there were several products combining different biotic ingredients to maximize benefits. Some examples include multiple strains in one product, a combination of pro- and pre-biotics in synbiotic formulations such as the latest combined launch by Probi and Clasado, and even a 3xbiotic product from Fine Foods maximizing efficacy by combining pro-, pre-, and post-biotics.

In addition, biotics were paired with a number of other ingredients including multivitamins, vitamin B2, B6, and herbal extracts such as mint oil, sage leaf, and ashwagandha. These products were evident in a range of formats such as pills/capsules, powders, gummies, bars, and sprays.

The High Profile of Collagen Persists

The trend of increasingly targeted benefits could also be seen in other ingredients such as collagen, which continued to have a high-profile presence across the show. Rousselot’s launch of Nextida, an innovative platform of specific collagen peptide compositions to target precise health benefits, is a good example of the new more specific benefits that collagen is being marketed for.

Collagen ingredients and products were also featured in the Product and Ingredient Zones showcasing innovation in the market. I must admit, as a Startup Innovation Challenge Finalist, I was interested to see a “plant-based” collagen in the New Ingredients Zone, and I’ll certainly be looking in more detail at the solution launched by RAWGA.

One of the key challenges in the collagen market is consumers’ understanding of its myriads of sources and benefits, along with its accessible delivery formats beyond powders, which would facilitate everyday consumption of the supplement. In the Tasting Center, I was pleased to discover a functional beverage from PB Gelatins incorporating its new marine collagen into a delicious collagen water.

Women’s Health and Active Aging

To finish the show on Thursday, I attended the Women in Nutraceuticals session, moderated by Heather Granato. Three great presenters—Len Monheit, Aurore De Monclin, and Sudipta Veeramachaneni—took part in a panel discussion on Research essentials for powHERing success in formulating and marketing food supplements for women.

Women’s health was rightfully high on the agenda, since women are both more likely to consume and purchase supplement products. The topic is no longer a taboo, and it is great to see that companies are taking the products they offer beyond just hormone-related issues. However, recognition needs specific products and research, and it’s no longer okay to stick a pink label on and call it a day.

Alongside women’s health, healthy aging, defined as maintaining an active lifestyle for as long as possible and investing in long-term future health, was another key theme across a wide variety of ingredients, products, and presentations.

Large Presence of Contract Manufacturers

Finally, there was a huge rise in the number of contract manufacturers providing solutions from ingredient sourcing to product formulation in a wide variety of application formats, among which packaging stood out.

I wonder if this represents that the industry has great, often clinically supported products, but it remains challenging to get those to consumers to purchase products in a format that they will reliably take. Overcoming this is essential, so that consumers see the full beneficial effects of the ingredients and become consistent for the industry to ensure its long-term future.

Roll on 2025!

Overall, it’s been an extremely tiring but inspiring week here in a rather cloudy and wet Geneva – roll on Barcelona 2025!

If you didn’t get a chance to attend the show or missed out on my presentations, please get in contact and I’ll be happy to share them with you.

And if you’d like any further information on how Kline + Company can support you with growth opportunities in the food and nutrition market, please also reach out to me.

I look forward to hearing from you!

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