The Health Ingredients Europe (HiFi) fair in Frankfurt closed its bi-annual edition 29th November to 1st December reporting 30% more visitors than in the previous one. Over 8,600 professional attendees from nearly 140 countries gathered at the Messe Frankfurt Exhibition grounds to talk with 500 ingredients providers about hot topics such as the latest research on natural ingredients, formulations that offer a clean label and the increased focus on personalized nutrition.

More exhibitors took part in the organic section at HiFi this time, but most organic farmers, processors, and traders had their booths set up throughout the fair.

The “Health & Nutrition” week was celebrated simultaneously, offering additional opportunities to hear about key related topics during the conferences on sports nutrition, gut health, plant ingredients, and nutrition during pregnancy, infancy and other life stages.

Creating increased awareness of the benefits obtained from nutritional supplements has become a real challenge, as not all consumers take a supplement for the same reasons. Take Omega-3 for example. The GOED Omega-3 Association (Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3) presented a case study that highlights how European consumers perceive this ingredient. A survey showed that consumers get their Omega-3 in Europe mainly through fish (around 30%).

Meanwhile, in the US consumers take Omega-3 through supplements (45%). And while in Germany and the US, 50% of consumers of Omega-3 had heart disease, in France and the United Kingdom, almost 50% are taking it just to keep an overall wellness. In the UK, Omega-3 is also used among people willing to improve their joints and mobility. The fact is that by measuring the HS-Omega-3 index, we can optimize levels of Omega-3 that improve the heart, joints, the vision and other organs and functions.

Depending on the target for specific formulations and ingredients, manufacturers could communicate at a double level. By adopting a B to B approach towards industry partners to focus on the main health benefits, but also selecting a B to C speech to reach the different end consumers such as Generation X, Millennials or the mature, baby boomer generation.

Personalised nutrition was a topic highlighted across different presentations. Depending on the lifecycle and condition (pregnancy, early years, active sports, obesity), the industry should customise not only the formula and product packaging, but also the communication channels, for instance on-line campaigns to reach millennials & Generation X and print for baby boomers and more mature generations.

Increased collaboration among experts in the different sectors is crucial to share findings on the positive impact natural ingredients can have to our overall health.

Innova Market Insights

At HiFi, Juliette Kuiken, Innova Market Insights´ Market Analyst said that in terms of wellness, consumers want to “feel good.” Innova Market Insights based the 2017 trends on three key elements: natural, health and clean labels.  After tracking the products launched between 2011 and 2015, the consulting firm has identified the growth of natural ingredients, particularly botanicals such as ginkgo, ginseng, and curcumin that relate to heart and brain diseases, and supplements such as omega 3 fatty acids B vitamin and DHA present in fish oil, chia and mixed seeds. “Brain health products” are being introduced mainly in beverages (+30%) and dairy products (+23%).

Among the 10 trends for ingredients in 2017 highlighted by Innova Market Insights, "transparency" is the keyword that connects them all. Consumers are paying more attention to the origin of the products, the supply chain (Clean Supreme), plant-based formulations (Disruptive green), taste (Sweeter balance), ethnical food (kitchen symphony), and the ingredients they are eating, selecting those that offer better health choices.

Over the last eight years, there has been a strong shift towards consuming more natural products. In 2016 the "clean label" became a hot topic. Protein snacks such as “slim secrets”, a multifunctional bar with green-tea extract or “eat grub” a natural cricket protein bar and healthy drinks are in the spot this year, said Ms. Kuiken. More products with natural sweeteners, fermented foods, and botanicals such as chlorella, hawthorn, rosehip, cinnamon and guarana will come to market.

The next HiFi will return to Frankfurt 27-29 November 2018.