Where is the food ingredients industry going? HIE lessons and sessions

By Patricia Wiklund

- Last updated on GMT

"The nutrition business is experiencing a rapid period of change and firms are trying to cope with that change by building ‘Full service houses’."
"The nutrition business is experiencing a rapid period of change and firms are trying to cope with that change by building ‘Full service houses’."
Despite  challenging times in the ingredient business there exist excellent opportunities particularly for mid-sized ingredient firms, concludes Nordic strategy and marketing agency Invenire. Analyst Patricia Wiklund unpicks key trends from the recent Health Ingredients Europe show in Amsterdam.

The nutrition business is experiencing a rapid period of change and firms are trying to cope with that change by building ‘Full service houses’​. The ingredient portfolio itself is becoming almost a secondary thing. Ingredient companies compete fiercely by offering services for R&D, logistics, regulatory support, market intelligence, and commercial consultancy. With these service entities, the ingredient players try to build as many switching barriers as they can to keep their customers locked in. The customers are becoming accustomed and keep increasing their demands. How long will the wheel spin?

HIE hot trends

Some of the most prominent nutrition trends at HIE were

  • The search for alternative protein sources is on.​ Apart from insects, highlighted at HIE were plenty of other protein sources. Hot topics for the B2B market were price, source, type, quality and availability of the protein form.
  • Thinking like a professional athlete.​ Mainstream consumers are adopting methods of professional athletes and think more about how to time nutrition intake during the day and how to optimise muscle mass and shorten recovery times.
  • Clean labels.​ Especially the encapsulators were pushing the clean label issue in Amsterdam, particularly through their vegetarian capsule options. In general, the understanding of requirements of a clean label spans non-GMO, free of additives, preservatives, allergens, starch and gluten, as well as free-from animal derivatives. Preferably the products should also be Halal, Kosher and Vegan certified.

The power of consumer understanding

In a Nutraingredients interview from last year, Beneo chief Matthias Moser explained the company’s understanding of innovation as follows: ‘To be a true innovator you need to understand market trends and consumer requirements sooner than others do​.’ When you understand them you should be a fast mover and provide solutions and concepts to customers, rapidly. Beneo and others showed that understanding at the show with one example being Beneo’s free-from The Power of Less campaign.

Bugged

PatriciaWiklund
Patricia Wiklund

Go to the show website and you’d be forgiven for thinking the whole industry has already fallen for the bugs and gorgeous grub. The HIE phone app, Twitter and Facebook were flooded with updates regarding this phenomena. At the show consulting and awareness promoting platform 4Ento was tucked away in the outskirts of Hall 2, but the energy, enthusiasm and joy were tangible at the booth, leaving no one cold.

Even though 4Ento was busy at the booth, they had understood the power of combining the different channels for synergy effects. They had prepared well to be active online in tandem and they were discussing, informing, educating and reacting in the virtual space at the same time. During a very short time and a place with boundaries they reached an attentive audience of almost 10 000 people.

A lesson for others exhibitors is that social media channels are a great opportunity to influence the direction of the discussion, to get your carefully focused messages through, and to execute a whole communications program in 3-7 days. 4Ento stood out with their well-planned content marketing approach and many other exhibitors would benefit also from a think through prior to the show, of what their focus and tasks are at the show and how they could make better use of all channels simultaneously.

More from Invenire on HIE here​.

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