We caught up with Antonio Martinez, Vice President for the LAB and Biotics Product and Technology Platform at ADM, and Birgit Michelsen the Business Director for the dietary supplement market segment in EMEA at ADM and Marie-Bénédicte Charpentier EMEA Category Marketing Director, Health & Wellness, ADM.
What direction is ADM going in, Antonio?
I would say we are going even broader on food as the root of wellness - and of course we know the gut microbiome is the root of wellness. We want to focus on sustainability as well as plant-based alternatives, cleaner living and supplements from their natural origin, It’s not all about ingredients, it's about the overall trend.
“We are looking after natural resources, ingredients that are scientifically backed and that's where we are focusing our efforts. It's a market that we believe will be growing very largely.
But we have been developing scientifically based ingredients that will be able to offer an extended presence.
What about the acquisition of Deerland, is your aim to keep expanding?
We are integrating different companies that can satisfy in the most sophisticated manner that needs regardless of the segment of population. We operate in other supplements and that was one of the main reasons why we integrated with Deerland because it offers versatility to satisfy many customers. The journey has been very interesting because I believe the approach for ADM is getting the best of many companies and that would create an ecosystem.
Birgit, how did you come onboard?
I was part of the Deerland deal with ADM. In Denmark, I was heading innovation, so for me, it's a real shift. We are looking at how can we combine our portfolios and our thinking, and I would say that this was a perfect match. Being science-based and extremely customer oriented We have focused a lot on finished products and ensuring that they are appealing to consumers, they want new things they want a new a pleasant experience.
People get a little product fatigued but here we can offer other things and other ingredients that we can bring to the portfolio. So that ADM now has a very, very strong portfolio of ingredients for both the dietary as well as food and beverage industries.
So, you've brought in a new portfolio?
Indeed, the aim of ADM is having the broadest pantry of ingredients of all the industries together within our capacity and to develop the best way to satisfy the needs of the customer.
So, we will have the most powerful offering of this nature - scientifically backed ingredients and the leading capacity to combine all of these different ingredients to satisfy different needs while growing and looking after the main industry trends like the gut microbiome having an impact on your digestive overall health.
Marie-Bénédicte, if I could ask you what direction the business is going from your perspective?
For a long time, we have explored the gut brain axis with several different products starting with migraines, then with mood and targeting a type of depression. Of course, it's not a drug, it's not going to cure, but it's going to help and everything has been supported with scientific evidence and clinical trials on humans, proving that that people feel better after using our products over a period of time.
We have gummies and powders that dissolve on your tongue with a very good taste – that is important because you want people to go back for more. We also comply with a very important trend, which is the flexitarian lifestyle that many people have these days which is why we also make vegan gummies with natural taste, natural flavours. I have tried lots of gummies here at Vitafoods and I can safely say ours taste the best!
How did the pandemic alter people’s nutritional mindset?
Consumers are really interested in maintaining a good shape, they have experienced periods of being stuck at home and that was difficult. Since then there are around 53% of people declaring that they are nutritionally conscious, active people. That means that the specialised nutrition or sports nutrition segment is booming. It used to be something consumed I would say, mainly by athletes, the ones going to the gym every day, who are really building their muscles. But now this is a market that is open to many more people that just want to take care of their health.
We have protein bars with active ingredients that appeal to the flexitarian trend. Flavour is important. At ADM we have a lot of expertise and more than 60 different blends of plant proteins, so we are concentrating on best flavour protein blends including mixes of plant and soy protein.
ADM’s products on show at Vitafoods included:
Gummies with BPL1™ HT and Complex Tea Extract, demonstrating the synergies between key microbiome and botanical ingredients.
Vegan Protein Bars for a high-protein, high-fiber and low-sugar option.
FastMelt Stick Packs made with specially selected probiotic strains for individualized support.