Each day of the Virtual Expo centred around one of four key themes, providing insights and sparking new ideas around Mental Performance, Gut and Immune Health, Sports and Active Nutrition and Healthy Ageing.
Hear more directly from the Vitafoods #TeamContent how the event went!
Vitafoods Insights: 00:05 Welcome to the vitafoods insights podcast. Join us as we explore the latest science innovation, helping the global health and nutrition industry connect, develop and progress.
Heather: 00:17 Well, hello and welcome to our vitafoods insights podcast. I’m Heather Granato, I’m the vice president of content at Vitafoods Insights. I'm thrilled to have you join us as we recap our vitafoods insights virtual Expo which took place the 10th to the 13th of May. We had an amazing time connecting with our global nutraceutical community. And with me today are the other members of #teamcontent. I've got Charlotte Bastiaanse, Natalia Franca Rocha and Carla Hill. What was really wonderful was being able to take some of the learnings that we had from our September vitafoods Expo and our February Vitafoods Asia digital week, and expand on that the things that we've learned and things that we saw from across the world. Certainly in the APAC region, there are a lot of interesting trends happening. In our virtual Expo, we saw beauty from within CBD and immune health really being categories that are set to grow in the next few years in the APAC nutraceuticals market. A lot of these trends have really been accelerated by COVID-19. But the pandemic has also brought a lot of challenges into the APAC market. These include the continuing prevalence of false and deceptive marketing, difficulties conducting clinical trials, and amassing sufficient scientific evidence to make health claims. We've certainly seen challenges for traditional specialty retailers as a result of the exponential growth of the e-commerce channel. Now, Charlie, I think you had worked with our EU trends session, what do you have to share from that area?
Charlotte: 01:52 Yeah, absolutely Heather. So, were very fortunate to have Innova deliver our EU trends overview as part of our main stage. What this really demonstrated is how ready the nutraceutical industry is for innovation and how interested consumers really are in functional foods and supplements. They have a greater awareness of the importance of preventative health, they're a lot more willing to invest in this. And we're seeing quite a lot of companies that are actually investing in newer technologies that do meet the needs of these consumers. Through Innova's presentation, some of the macro trends that were highlighted were transparency, plant-based eating, omni channel eating, immunity and nutrition hacking and mood solutions, tackling some of the really big issues around mental performance and mental health. But one of the biggest trends was certainly around immunity, and I think that's obviously reflective of the COVID-19 pandemic. And that was something that was a trend central to both EU and APAC. Natalia really was leading on our gut and immune stream, so maybe she could tell us a little bit more about that.
Natalia: 02:59 Absolutely I can. Immunity was, um, the really centre of our immune health stage. And a few highlights worth mentioning include how consumers, they are nowadays embracing the connection between the gut and immune health. And around two thirds of the population believe that gut health is important for their overall health, so not just digestive system health. And it's also worth noting that consumers are looking for a more natural, more effective, more ease of use solutions that's convenience for their lifestyles on the daily. So that is definitely lots of opportunities around the combination of products and messaging there. And during our panel, we discussed innovative forms for guts and human health products delivery. And one of the key takeaways on that session was that collaboration is a key to drive new products to the market and start-ups are in a really great position to push this drive for the digestive health industry to continue to accommodate consumers wishes and wants. And of course we couldn't leave out from this key highlights how consumers are more aware of their gut and immune health, and so there is this higher demand for more science backed products and people are interested to push further their understanding on different mechanisms of actions and also to understand better different requirements for food vs supplement trials. So in our interactive roundtable discussion, we addressed this importance of investing in clinical trials and formulations and also design considerations. And it was brought up that finished product brands, they are looking for challenges of effectively communicating the results of clinical trials to consumers. And interestingly, it was also brought up the animal trials were found to be more efficaz following human trials rather than vice versa, which is what people believe to be true. And I think that was it the main key highlights from the gut immune health stage. So now linking more about consumers well being, Carla, would you be able to share with us more about the key takeaways from cognitive and mental health?
Carla: 04:59 Sure, thanks Natalia. And I think it's really clear like gut and immune that stress and sleep is a category whose growth has been really accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic as well. And this was particularly evident in our roundtable discussion with nootropics expert David Tomen. And this discussion explored the crucial opportunity for the nutraceutical community to provide solutions for the large number of people suffering from the long term effects of COVID-19 such as brain fog and memory loss. Another really interesting session was Mintel's presentation on mental wellbeing and opportunities for functional ingredients in the food, mood and cognitive space. And this similarly covered how as a result of the pandemic, consumers are increasingly feeling physically and mentally exhausted. And innovation and ingredient and product delivery, for example, expanding beyond traditionally caffeinated energy drinks or calming teas into new categories such as product support, meditation or holistic next generation solutions, can help consumers relax and re-energise. Then, in our sleep and stress innovation panel, it was really interesting to hear about the importance of clinical research and label claims backed by regulated science in this category. And this was something covered more extensively in our regulatory overviews from both the EU and APAC spaces. For example, our presentation on ASEAN supplement regulatory harmonisation outline that while the ASEAN supplement market is already growing at solid rate, it's expected that the harmonisation will lead to an additional up to 8% compound annual growth rate over the next coming years. At the same time, there'll be challenges posed by training for regulators and industry about the new requirements, as well as investigating in SMEs and building the appropriate production capacity. One of the sessions that was particularly interesting on the mental performance stage was the e-sports roundtable, and this was a great session to see representatives from both the cognitive and the sports nutrition communities come together to discuss innovation in e-sports nutrition. Charlie, maybe you can tell us a bit more about the session and, and the other learnings that we had from the sports nutrition stream that you were leading?
Charlotte: 07:14 Yeah, sure. I think e-sports is really such an interesting field at the moment, and one that a lot of product developers have got their sights on. There's actually really clear benefits as to although this is targeted for the gaming community, I think a lot of physical and conventional type athletes are also really interested, as mental performance becomes more of an area of focus for them too. But gaming and e-sports is obviously quite a strongly growing community of loads and loads of commercial opportunities. Asia Pacific appears to be the biggest market for e-sports. And the role nutrition plays in e-sports is really still in its infancy phase. So I think a lot of product developers looking for the sweet spot that they can kind of get into within this very niche market. E-sports related products are actually of interest to a multitude of different generations, and again, clearly stretches into benefits for physical athletes. So I think the awareness for e-sports products, which including energy drinks, and nootropics will just continue to grow on the topic, I guess of e-sports. And moving a little bit more away from mental and into conventional physical sports, um, there is a clear return to food or superfoods for nutrition. The panel discussion on aligning innovators, which was led by Ian Craig of integrated sports nutrition, spoke about how supplements can certainly be leveraged to support athletes in achieving their performance goals. But athletes also do understand the value that they can unlock through nutrient rich foods. So I think there's a big opportunity there and a lot of interest from consumers to look for things that are a lot more naturally formed. There's also an opportunity for personalised nutrition like the panel certainly discussed that, but there are, you know, opposing views as to personalised nutrition and how it needs to be positioned for professional versus amateur athletes and accessibility and costs associated with it. We also looked at the opportunity for protein through one of the roundtables that we hosted with this is still one of the greatest ingredient categories within sports nutrition. definitely seeing a lot of consistent year on year growth across you know, powders, bars and beverage categories. And unsurprisingly, I think plant based protein is still seeing a tremendous amount of interest. I think that's very much driven by the health benefits and sustainability awareness at the consumer level. So this whole concept of sustainability again, this was reinforced multiple times across the entire Expo and through many of the sessions that we were hearing from. In fact, I think the keynote presentation within the sport and active nutrition stage by Claudia Mucciardi on behalf of ESSNA was highlighting the farm to fork strategy which aims to address the issues of overly processed foods, obesity, and you know, the issue of enhancing nutrient profiles. And then I think tying into that actually we spoke to Ryan Cameron and Ben Stafford of Regenerate Asset Management about some of the key challenges pertaining to sustainability across the value chain. But while we were actually wanting to talk through how regenerative agriculture is attracting investor interest, we got quite second conversation really about how that type of information at the base of the supply chain fulfils an environmental and social responsibility because not only are those practices working toward a better farming model, but also promotes higher nutrient profiles of foods that are later retailed out to consumer. So really a lot of conversation taking place about nutrient profiles and raw foods and the consumer interest in that. But building on that I think we were talking a lot as well, on the topic of sustainability about packaging, and Heather, maybe you want to chime in on that.
Heather: 10:53 Yes, absolutely. Sustainability really was a key focus around our packaging session. It was interesting to see how many examples there are across the different regions. But certainly sustainability is not the only trend that we've seen accelerated during the pandemic as consumers have become much more aware of their own vulnerability, the importance of preventive nutrition. In our panel discussion, Peter Wennstrom, really was talking about what has driven consumers to take a more proactive approach. Sometimes it's that fear of death. And so when you think about healthy ageing, and the information that you may need to make better decisions that gets into this idea of technology. What is the data that you need to make better decisions? And how do you apply that? It's going to be a challenge, I think for our broader nutraceutical community as the idea of n = 1 can be difficult to address at a commercial scale. However, Geoff Mullan, who is from HumanPeople, is really taking a different approach to that through his company. And I think you'll be seeing a lot more of unique ways to deliver important nutrients. What those nutrients are? it depends, there is an argument that everyone should be taking a multivitamin, vitamin D; maybe everyone should be taking probiotics. We had a pretty robust conversation around that, and how you can take the data that applies to you, but also work on your long term, well being overall, and that improves your ability to fight off illness. It improves your ability to stay mentally clear, certainly to perform long term. So I think there's a lot happening across the healthy ageing space that is going to bode well for the long term opportunities for the nutraceutical community. And certainly, we will continue exploring how our community can deliver great products and information to consumers. And really, that's how we at Vitafoods are looking forward to collaborating with the community. So Natalia, perhaps you can bring us home with a little bit about vitafoods insights and our mission into the rest of 2021.
Natalia: 13:16 Thank you, Heather. We have definitely had a lot of interesting highlights throughout the event. So thanks, ladies for sharing this with our audience. And the vitafoods insights continues to be our main digital platform. But going forward, we will have next vitafoods Europe in a hybrid format, where we will continue to connect to the nutraceutical industry to develop and progress. So do stay tuned for some exciting things coming up for vitafoods
Carla: 13:40 Thanks for Natalia and we hope listeners have found this wrap up of the learnings from vitafoods insights virtual Expo helpful and informative. For more content on the nutraceutical industry. Make sure to check out our website on the link available in the shownotes. And if you'd like our show, make sure to follow our vitafoods insights podcast series. Feel free also to recommend the show to a friend who you think would enjoy it. Thanks, everyone. And we'll see you soon.
Charlotte: 14:04 Bye bye.
Natalia: 14:05 Thank you