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BDB’s top trend takeaways from Vitafoods 2023

Vitafoods Europe 2023 is over for another year – and what a show it was! The world’s leading nutraceutical trade event never fails to impress, showcasing the latest advancements, products, and trends shaping the industry. The BDB team returned to the 2023 show to connect with clients and, importantly, explore the latest trends in the nutraceutical space.

From the rising popularity of gummies as a lifestyle-fitting format to ingredients that boost emotional and physical wellbeing, this blog dives into the trends we spotted at this year’s show and outlines the opportunities on the horizon.

Gummies everywhere: meeting demand for delicious, nutritious convenience

One of the first things we noticed when we stepped into the Vitafoods Europe hall was the volume of gummies. A trending nutraceutical format, gummies of all flavours and colours were on display and available for sampling – and some were tastier than others!

One of the companies with the best tasting gummies (in our opinion!) at the booth included Sirio, a leading global nutraceutical CDMO, which showcased two collagen gummies using Lonza’ UC-II® undenatured type II collagen. We also saw innovative gummy innovations at Israeli company TopGum’s booth, who created a very tasty high caffeine ‘cappuccino gummy’.

Catering to the growing demand for ready-to-consume, functional food formats, gummies are an ideal solution for consumers with busy, active lifestyles. The growing interest in gummies, among other accessible formats such as shots and gels, signifies huge opportunity for brand owners and manufacturers to innovate and develop on-the-go, ultra convenient formulations that align with consumer preferences.

Holistic wellbeing: harnessing the power of sports nutrition
Athletes and fitness enthusiasts are no longer just seeking products that optimise their physical prowess. There is now widespread understanding that optimal mental wellbeing is integral to enhanced performance. As such, sports nutrition has evolved beyond muscle-building and athletic performance.

At Vitafoods Europe, we saw holistic health take hold in the active nutrition arena – with several companies, such as FrieslandCampina Ingredients and Fonterra, bringing new products to the market that boast multi-purpose benefits in one ingredient. Companies in the nutraceutical space can seize this trend by formulating products that focus on both mind and body.

Empowering women’s health: embracing wellness at every stage

Women’s health was central to this year’s show, with ingredients addressing the specific needs of females across different life stages, including pregnancy, menopause, and overall well-being. This trend is a refreshing one in a market segment that often excludes women from clinical and consumer studies and it offers huge, almost untapped potential for brands. Tailored formulations that address women’s unique health concerns will thrive in this growing niche market segment – but robust clinical research is needed to back up efficacy claims.

Cognition takes center stage: nourishing the mind

Cognitive health stole the spotlight at Vitafoods Europe. From chocolate that can help you chill out from Primova, to probiotics that target the gut-brain axis from Novozymes OneHealth, we saw cognitive health all over the show this year.

In today’s fast-paced world, people are becoming increasingly aware of the profound impact that mental acuity and brain function have on overall well-being. As such, demand for cognitive-focused health products is skyrocketing, presenting a golden opportunity for B2B brands to make a mark in this rapidly growing market. Some of the trending ingredients we saw at Vitafoods Europe included the use of adaptogens, nootropics and botanicals, all of which can provide a natural brain boost.

Sustainability: A missing piece of the puzzle

Despite increasing consumer demand and a spotlight on sustainability by the show organisers, we were surprised by the lack of sustainable solutions at the show. Brands adopted an ‘all or nothing’ approach on stands – either focusing entirely on sustainability or not at all. And while some companies showcased their sustainable solutions at talks in the Vitafoods sustainability theatre, these did not attract the number of attendees we would have expected.

But the pace of change in the sustainability space is not slowing down– and now is the time to act. As you might have seen in our latest issue of the knowledge, we’ve highlighted sustainability as a huge consumer trend – and how brands need to adopt more responsible practices throughout their organisation to truly stand out in the market. Integrating sustainability into product development, packaging, and manufacturing processes can not only align with consumer preferences but also differentiate brands and gain a competitive edge.

(Vita) Food for thought

Vitafoods Europe serves as a valuable platform to stay ahead of the curve in the nutraceutical industry. The trends we spotted at this year’s show underscore the changing landscape of consumer preferences. From creating convenient formats to developing solutions that prioritise holistic health, by leveraging these trends B2B brands can position themselves at the forefront of the evolving nutraceutical market.

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