Suppliers and marketers want to know what tickles their consumers, and are identifying target audiences for different products. Consumers are aware of the role nutraceuticals play in their health and wellbeing, and this notion trickles down to food behaviour. There has been a clear shift away from pills and toward powders, edibles and teas. Across the expo hall, companies were displaying new options including water-soluble versions of ingredients for incorporating into beverages; sachets and stick packs for on-the-go consumption; and recommendations for multi-tasking ingredients to accomplish given goals with fewer components.
In good taste
While many nutraceutical ingredients lend an unpleasant taste in finished products, new technologies and formulation innovations have allowed to the development of palatable functional foods. At Vitafoods Asia, Nutribio’s Triple Layer Vanilla & Brownie bar won the Taste Centre award for ‘Best tasting functional food’ and AstaReal’s SootheMe won the Taste Centre award for ‘Best tasting functional drink’.
In Asia, there’s a clear rise in consumers who favour supplements in gummy and gel forms—visitors were especially delighted by exhibitor Yaya’s vegetarian jelly beans, packed full of nutritional goodness.
Bottoms up for botanicals
It’s not only foods that were in favour this year—several exhibitors showcased contract manufacturing for botanical vegetable and fruit drinks. Lapovo from Japan and HealthyLink, from Croatia for example, sought to find distributors in the region for their products, which are made from real fruit and vegetables.
Beauty from within
Asia has been on the cutting edge around nutrition for beauty for years. Consumers are demanding innovative and scientifically-based products that address concerns surrounding beauty. The market’s response was evident at this year’s Vitafoods Asia, with multiple ingredients and formulations promoting their benefits in the cosmetic market. Multiple varieties of collagen were on display, as well as research studies around the benefits of essential fatty acids and carotenoids. Many of these ingredients were showcased in formats like shots, blending the desire for beauty boosters with the good taste/convenience trend.
A common trend throughout the exhibition was the concept of personalised nutrition. On the show floor, exhibitors showcased apps developed to help meet individual nutritional needs as well as facilitate a relationship between manufacturers and consumers. In the conference rooms, experts discussed the idea of ‘nutrition passports’—a concept devoted to individualised diets. Visitors enjoyed the likes of Prof. Jun Nishihira, who spoke about the model of personalised nutrition based on data obtained from clinical trials for foods, and Jude Uzonwanne who discussed the future of self-care in a world of precision. Visitors were also interested in bridging the gap between academia, industry and healthcare professionals.
Consumers are increasingly concerned about taking care of their gut. More and more products are targeted at managing gut microbiota as knowledge about gut health positively impacting wellbeing grows. Consumers are embracing a wider variety of products to achieve gut wellness, and the industry is responding with more research around ingredients like probiotics and prebiotics. However, the research is getting more specific in terms of strains and synergy, as well as the expected outcomes. Further, the Digestive Health forum dove into issues including the importance of micronutrient supplementation, formulating probiotics into food matrices, and the benefits of botanicals for digestive support.