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Trends and takeaways from Vitafoods Asia 2019

A record-breaking number of attendees and more than 370 exhibiting companies helped make the 2019 edition of Vitafoods Asia the most successful event to date. Now in its ninth year and held for a third time at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre in Singapore, Vitafoods Asia is a key connection point for the Asian nutraceutical supply chain. Beyond being an essential event for leading suppliers and industry experts, Vitafoods Asia captures the trends in raw materials, ingredients, finished products, services and manufacturing across the APAC region. The Vitafoods Asia Conference highlights relevant industry trends—like digestive health, personalised nutrition and mental wellbeing—while product showcases across the expo hall reflect exactly how those macro movements translate into micro offerings.

Keeping up with consumers

Changes in end consumer behaviour and preferences pose a challenge for businesses along the supply chain to keep up with current and future direction of purchase. Traditional pills and conventional capsules are retaining market share, in contrast to shifts seen in the European and North American markets. At the same time, functional beverages remain popular for the APAC audience, with a similar amount of powders, gummies, teas and water-soluble ingredient versions to last year.

Mirroring a macro trend highlighted in the Conference, we saw more sports and ‘active’ nutrition solutions targeting key consumer concerns like building healthy muscle, and bone and joint health. Visitors could assess their mobility status with AstaReal, and sample market-ready sports nutrition products at the Tasting Centre. Notably, the winner of the Best Functional Food in the Tasting Centre Awards was Ashland’s Dark Chocolate Almond Protein Bar, which contains a pre-mix of protein and MCTs.

Plant power

Plant-derived solutions have a history of dominance across the APAC region, and each year sees a new influx of emerging ingredients for prominent markets—cognitive health, nutricosmetics and omega-3—as well as next generation solutions for established ingredients like curcumin. Speaking of which, this year’s winner of the Best Functional Beverage at the Tasting Awards was Sabinsa’s Curcumin 3C Power TM Liquid—a market-ready formulation containing Curcumin C3 Complex® and suitable in multiple beverage formats.

Consistently popular for the Asian market and prominent at this year’s event were mushroom raw materials, extracts and finished products. Wuling Biotechnology together with its two branches (Fujian Herbal and Treasure Bioengineering) had a showcase of mushroom species developed for medicinal and nutraceutical businesses, and emphasised their grass-grown mushroom and eco-conscious practices.

Market entry

As a new attraction for 2019, the Market Entry Hub was developed to provide visitors with a holistic framework of individual country market regulations within the APAC region—essential understanding when launching a new product to market. Industry and academic experts highlighted key considerations, consumer trends, regulatory challenges and alternative solutions for businesses focusing on markets including China, Japan, Indonesia, India and Korea. 

The overflowing Market Entry Hub Theatre certainly reflects the broader interest and common challenges amongst businesses looking to overcome hurdles and drive market success, particularly within China and Indonesia.

Beyond the showfloor

Alongside bringing together the nutraceutical supply chain, Vitafoods Asia is also dedicated to macro issues that span across all business types, such as sustainable practices and diversity and inclusion concerns.

This year’s Diversity & Inclusion Networking Breakfast hosted a range of guests from varying business backgrounds. Fair and equal rights for women in the workforce, LBGTQ recognition, proactive recruitment, mentorship programmes, and split parental leave were common themes across the roundtables.

Attendees also raised the gender diversity and sustainability foundations investors are putting in place. Supply chain sustainability is a key concern for the European and North American industries with a vast stake of businesses putting proactive measures in place. The APAC region appears slower in progress, but nevertheless a number of suppliers at the event were promoting newfound transparent and sustainable practices.

Vitafoods Asia continues its evolution to serve the nutraceutical business across Asia. Next year’s event is set for 23-24 September 2020, again at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Singapore.

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