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Asia is the fastest growing region for nutraceuticals
Vitafoods Asia 2018 showcased growing trends in nutraceuticals Vitafoods Asia 2018 showcased growing trends in nutraceuticals

Vitafoods Asia 2018 held in September 2018 in Singapore brought together the nutraceuticals industry from all parts of the globe to showcase how the region is embracing adoption of true, science-based innovation in functional foods and drinks. Both the trade show and the conference brought about greater understanding of current consumer trends at the regional and local level.

Singapore has proved a particularly successful host city as it is a hub for food research, with most of the world's leading food companies undertaking nutraceutical research here. Innovation centres here leverage the country's superior research capabilities and infrastructure to understand the metabolic differences of Asians to foods eaten in Asia, and to develop foods that promote health and wellbeing.

Key takeaways from Vitafoods Asia 2018

Consumers are highly evolved

Today's consumer is "very, very evolved consumer", as Jeff Hilton, Partner & Co-Founder of BrandHive, put it during his Conference session on 'How to successfully market your science to a consumer audience'. They want the health benefits of nutraceuticals in their daily consumed food, without having to change the way they behave and interact with their food.

Palatable fortification of everyday foods

Advancements with taste masking and new technologies have helped overcome the taste challenges that have been prohibitive in the past, lending manufacturers the ability to create more palatable functional foods. At Vitafoods Asia 2018 there was a rise in the prevalence of nutraceutical ingredients in everyday foods, for example, baked goods such as protein fortified muffins. Nutribio's Triple Layer Vanilla & Brownie bar won the Vitafoods Asia 2018 Tasting Centre award for 'Best tasting functional food' and AstaReal's SootheMe won the Tasting Centre award for 'Best tasting functional drink'.

If it's a gummy, we'll eat it

How we consume nutraceuticals also extends to the packaging of supplements. Supplements now come in many forms: tablets, gummies and gels for example. At Vitafoods Asia this year, there were multiple packaging manufacturers that had made their mark in the pharmaceutical industry for example, that are now embracing the nutraceuticals industry. A case in point was exhibitor Yaya, who provided vegetarian jelly beans that were loaded with multivitamins, zinc and iodine, raspberry in flavour, to delight every visitor with a burst of candy-flavoured goodness as they arrived at the show.

In Asia, there's an overriding consumer preference for gummies. For example, the number one way to help pre-natal and postpartum mothers ingest their supplements, we learned, is with gummies.

The rise and rise of botanical beverages

Another thing that was outstanding about Vitafoods Asia this year were the several exhibitors showcasing contract manufacturing for botanical vegetable and fruit drinks. Lapovo from Japan and HealthyLink, from Croatia for example, sought to find distributors in the region for their products, which are made from real fruit and vegetables. A representative at the Lapovo stand commented, "Definitely we have a seen a lot of users and also many traders here for our products. I think it's a great show. I think everything is perfectly set up."

Beauty from within

Starting from the premise that beauty comes from within, supplements that have been developed with proven, science-based research and that have been subject to clinical trials are addressing all kinds of beauty matters, from obesity, through inhibiting lipids, to cosmetics which are fortified with ingredients to improve and protect our skin.

Exhibitors included HIQ, in the Taiwan pavilion, were showcasing ingredients such as fucoidan, which has proven efficacy as a raw material to boost the immune system and manage weight. In the new products pavilion, there was Emu Tracks, who sell emu oil for its sunscreen and moisturizing properties, along with healing properties for small abrasions.

Introducing tech into personalised nutrition

As the world of personalized nutrition grows, along with it is coming the introduction of technology. One trend that was evident at Vitafoods Asia, is how manufacturers are developing apps to help make nutrition personal, as well as develop a point of interaction with consumers, which informs them what the consumer wants, what they need, what are the ongoing effects of their products on the consumer, and what the consumer feels taking the product.

"We are combining supplementation, branded ingredients that we develop based on the clinical studies to show their effectiveness, along with digital technology, so that you can allow the consumer to track their consumption, and the results while they are taking the product. For example, for people that want to lose weight, we've developed the Metabolaid App," said Jonathan Jones, Product Development, Scientific Advisor for the Digitalization of Health Ingredients at Monteloeder.

Vitafoods Asia returns for its ninth edition from 25 - 26 September 2019 at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.

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