In October, Vitafoods Insights dived into some topics covered at Vitafoods Europe 2021 hybrid event, where we covered a range of topics including gut health, personalised nutrition, women in nutra, pharma and nutra, sustainability, healthy ageing, brand leadership positioning, regulatory considerations among many others, some of which we explored in more depth.
Tune in to hear more about:
- Gut and digestive health—important considerations, innovations and the evolution of the industry
- Women in nutra—how can we ensure the nutraceutical industry offers flexibility, support and embraces women at work and their career development
- Women participants in research and clinical trials— what is the current gap and needs?
- Sustainability—how can the industry make better decisions? What are the opportunities available for the industry to become more actively engaged in sustainable practices?
- The issue of obesity— tackling obesity through collective action
- European regulations—regulatory guidance for nutraceutical brands, including tips on how to use the term ‘probiotics’
- Nathan Gray, Director of Nutraceutic
- Jennifer Cooper, CSO of LPS Health Science
- Graham Robison, Research Executive at Giract
- Heather Granato, VP of content at Vitafoods
- Dr. Louise Burke, Chair of Sports Nutrition, Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research, at the Australian Catholic University
- Daniel Baertschi, Food and Agriculture Sector Lead at Quantis
- Christina Dhillon, Senior Technical Specialist at GAIN
- Vanessa Mayneris, Founder at Little Big Collective
- Paul Gately, Professor of Exercise and Obesity at Leeds Beckett University
- Prof. Hans Verhagen, Consultant at Food Safety & Nutrition Consultancy
- Anja Derijck, Regulatory Affairs Associate at Food Compliance
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Welcome to the Vitafoods Insights October Industry Highlights. I’m Natalia Franca Rocha, content producer at Vitafoods. Today we’re showcasing some of the key highlights across Vitafoods and the nutraceutical industry, offering a little context on how it might accelerate your product ideation and go to market strategy. Earlier this month, we hosted our Vitafoods Europe 2021 hybrid event, where we covered a range of topics, some of which we will now deep dive into. First…With so much focus on the human microbiome and consumers’ digestive health, at Vitafoods Europe, we had our own probiotics resources centre stage, where we covered a range of relevant topics including all the ‘biotics’ term -probiotics, prebiotics, parabiotics, postbiotics and synbiotics. We also saw in the exhibition floor as part of our start up pavilion, that the spin off company CGT was embracing the term of ‘eubiotics’ in relation to human health. It’s important to note however the microbiome differentiates between people and age groups, as Natah Gray, Director of Nutraceutic highlighted at Vitafoods:
The microbiome shapes how we age. There's a distinct decline in the microbiome diversity as we age. And that might not be a bad thing because an 85 year old probably needs a different microbiome to a 25 year old because they’re biologically very different. And proper nutrition is vital to healthy microbiome in ageing.
Jennifer Cooper, CSO of LPS Health Science also dived into new science, innovation and the evolution of the probiotics market.
The prebiotic data lends itself to both prebiotics that could act more in the way that we think probiotics do by modulating the actual commensal organisms, but also provide support. This is great validation for synbiotics. So what's next? One of the giant shakeups coming in this category for all of us that love probiotics, is that, there's very little research that validates the multi strain that the innovation we've had in the categories, just the little arms race, right?
To the point of changes in the industry, Graham Robison, Research Executive at Giract touched upon how unconventional products are on the rise to meet yet unmet needs of consumers.
Probiotic cultures is still very opaque. We speak to a lot of end users, In fact, a lot of the work Giract does is speaking to manufacturers of food and beverage products and supplement products. And asking them about the ingredients they use, and why and what challenges they have and how much they pay for them. What's clear actually is in a lot of applications, you can use the same organism and use the same probiotic culture, but with a different claim it will carry a different premium.
Next.. Let’s look at women in nutra – a topic importantly approached at the event for industry stakeholders to consider women’s participation and inclusion in the industry. Highlighting the key takeaways from one of our interactive roundtable discussion, my colleague Heather Granato, shares some very important considerations on the topic.
This idea that you could have more empathy, more flexibility in the workplace. The bad? while you have this flexibility, and you've got mom's home, and helping with the kids, and she's doing the homeschooling as well as the work. She's also got this increase in mental load. So we talked a little bit about how do you address that anxiety and depression? That has led to a lot of women actually leaving the workforce. We were talking with Traci Kantowski, who talked a little bit about this idea of a she session, not just a recession, but women who were actually stepping back. Julia Wiebe also talked that you've got a lot of women who have decided, they're going to
Considering women in academic research, Dr Louise Burke, Chair of Sports Nutrition at the Australian Catholic University talked to us about the importance of considering and planning for female-only clinical trial research.
When we look across all sports science and sports medicine disciplines, only about 30% of the participants in research in these areas is undertaken by females. But when you look more closely again, you can see the area in which is the greatest disparity is the area of performance, science that looks at what you can do to make athletes go higher, faster, stronger. And so what we need to do is change culture. We need to be able to make female athletes, coaches and sports scientists recognise that special research is needed.
Another area requiring action points is sustainability. With the COP26 getting closer, it is really timely for all businesses to look within and analyse their activities in achieving further sustainability. In our sustainability panel discussion, Daniel Baertschi, Food and Agriculture Sector Lead at Quantis, Christina Dhillon, Senior Technical Specialist at GAIN, and Vanessa Mayneris, Founder at Little Big Collective, talked about the three key pillars of environmental, social and economic sustainability.
I think consumers today they're aware that we have a problem. And we have climate change. And that's visible. And we experience that. And so people need to find ways how we can make better decisions. And so it's more about also the education system.
You don't want people to feel bad, when they're buying a product, because that's negative marketing. But a lot of sustainable brands do in a very positive way. And that works very well.
This is the decade of action for nutrition. There's so much momentum around nutrition, at the end of this year in Japan linked with the Olympics is the nutrition for growth Summit. And they're looking for companies, private sector, public sector to make commitments towards nutrition. There's many pledges that can be signed, so opportunity to get engaged
One other topic needing attention is obesity. Paul Gately, Professor of Exercise and Obesity at Leeds Beckett University shared with us the importance of tackling obesity through collective action.
With a large majority of countries approaching 30% of the population suffering from obesity, it's a problem because our global burden of disease is relevant to a number of issues. What we're seeing is rates of childhood obesity continue to rise. Arguably, one of the best models is been delivered in Amsterdam. They've got the supermarket chains, they've got a number of companies involved. The mayor of Amsterdam was very, very proactive and supportive. They've invested a significant at scale investment across Amsterdam. And they are
Regulatory considerations is also of great importance for brand owners. Focusing on EU regulations, Prof. Hans Verhagen, Consultant at Food Safety & Nutrition Consultancy shares some insights.
15, 20 years ago that European Commission and the member states at one point decided, let's issue a regulation where it is explicitly stated that health claims on foods should only be authorised for using the European Commission in the European community after a scientific assessment of the highest possible standards, which means EFSA. Claims should not be false or misleading. And you cannot make a claim that a food prevents treats or cures a disease. For health claims, where the efficacy needs to be demonstrated, there's distinction between basic function claims textbook knowledge claims etc. To evaluate the science behind these claims, EFSA issued a scientific opinion in 2007, which said that the evidence that you need is all the pertinent scientific data, both the ones that are in favour, as well as the ones that are not in favour. You need to be describing the characteristics of the food or the ingredient specifications. So you need to have data in humans
Anja Derijck, Regulatory Affairs Associate at Food Compliancealso added some key points about the use of the term ‘probiotic’ in Europe.
So far, there is no definition at EU level, there is no harmonisation. We do have a global definition, namely that probiotics are life microorganisms, when administered in adequate amounts, they confer a health benefit to the host. We do have some general regulation about food labelling, you say that a product contains probiotics, it will be considered a nutrition claim. Well, in 2007 with EU guidance, this has been interpreted otherwise by the commission because they say if you refer to probiotics as such, you talk about the functionality of the individual probiotic strains. So, they say this is more than just a factual statement about the substance as such, and it implies a health benefit. And only when your health name is included in this list, you can use them on the food products. So this means you cannot use the word probiotics as such on your labelling, not in your marketing. But you can use namely, indicating in the label, in the ingredients list, that the particular strain of bacteria is available in the product. Next to these, only for food supplements, not for regular foods, you can also add the number of added bacteria in the nutrition table. Or you can say for example, live bacterial cultures are present in the products.
As you can see, there was lots of learnings and a great variety of topics covered at Vitafoods Europe 2021. And looking ahead of time, our next Vitafoods Europe will take place in May 2022, so stay tuned for more information coming soon. Thanks again for joining me, and don’t forget to check the show notes that will allow you to link to the information discussed in today’s podcast. The Vitafoods Insights Industry Highlights podcast happens monthly, so be sure to stay tuned, subscribe and even suggest to a friend.