Nutrition companies embracing new technology, Vitafoods survey shows

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Technology is becoming increasingly important to nutrition companies, according to a survey of companies attending Vitafoods in Geneva in May. Pic: © Vitafoods
Technology is becoming increasingly important to nutrition companies, according to a survey of companies attending Vitafoods in Geneva in May. Pic: © Vitafoods

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Almost two thirds of nutrition companies are implementing new forms of technology, with around half increasing their R&D spend this year, according to a survey by the organizers of the upcoming Vitafoods Europe event.

Vitafoods Europe exhibitors and visitors were asked about six new forms of technology.

Around a third (32%) of the 192 respondents said their companies have implemented, or are planning to implement, new product testing technologies. Nearly a quarter (23%) are introducing smart packaging.  One in five (21%) is exploring new tracing technologies such as QR codes on packaging while 17% have created or will create smartphone apps.

Less common forms of technology being used include 3D printing (6%) and geolocation technology (2%).  Only 36% said they were not using any of the technologies on the list.  

Almost half the companies surveyed plan to increase their R&D spend, while 47% said they were planning to spend more on research and development projects this year than last year. Only 6% said their companies would spend less. 

Importance of technology

Commenting on the findings, Chris Lee, managing director, Global Health and Nutrition Network, Europe, Informa Exhibitions, which stages the event, said new technology is revolutionizing the way nutrition companies do business.

Innovation has always been at the heart of Vitafoods Europe, and this year visitors will have more opportunity than ever to learn about new products, new technologies, and new ways of working,”​ Lee said.

Lee told DairyReporter this will be be the 21st Vitafoods Europe. 

“At the first one, 20 years ago, there were 100 exhibitors, and just over 1,000 visitors. This year we’re expecting around 18,500 visitors from 115 different countries.

“I think it’s fair to say the stature of the event has grown too.  We’re pretty  firmly established as the place to be for anyone who wants to do business, source new ingredients and products, learn and network in the global nutraceutical industry.”

Portfolio of events 

Lee said the philosophy surrounding the event remains different to others.

“We see ourselves as a key stakeholder in the nutraceutical industry - our mission is always to help build it in partnership with like-minded people​,” Lee said. 

“We’re also different in that we work year-round so we’re not just a one-off event.  And in recent years we’ve become part of a much bigger group that brings together a portfolio of events and media including SupplySide West, Expo West, Natural Products Expo, Engredea and Supplyside East as well as Vitafoods Europe and Vitafoods Asia.”

Dairy participation

Lee said the event tries to ensure there is something to meet everyone’s objectives, from ingredient to shelf.

“So we divide content into four key areas of the industry: Ingredients and Raw Materials; Contract Manufacturing and Private Label; Services and Equipment and Branded Finished Products.

“There will be 120 new offerings launched over the past year in our New Products Zone, and 66 in the New Ingredients Zone.”

As far as the dairy industry is concerned, Lee said there’s plenty of representation.

“Over 100 exhibitors will be offering ingredients for dairy​,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the Omega-3 Resource Centre will offer expert information on fortifying dairy products with Omega-3s.  We’re also the best place to understand more about consumer trends, get advice on regulation and meet providers of specialist services and technologies.”

Vitafoods Europe takes place May 9-11 at Palexpo, Geneva, Switzerland.

DairyReporter will be in attendance at the event. Companies wishing to meet and discuss their new products can contact us here​.