Free From Functional Food & Health Ingredients, Europe’s leading innovation platform for the free from, organic, vegan, functional and ingredient food industries, celebrated its 10th edition in Amsterdam with a strong number of attendees and high quality of mainstream retailers.
Thousands of key decision makers including representatives from Albert Heijn, Lidl, Jumbo, COOP, Aldi, Spar, Plus, Carrefour, Dekamarkt, and more buyers from the multiples, passed through the doors throughout the two-day event. More than 5.400 visitors from more than 60 countries globally attended to meet with almost 300 suppliers, learn about the very latest product innovations and discover the future trends that will dictate the course of the industry in the coming years.
Delegates attending this year’s show were invited to attend conference sessions examining the key topics dominating the industry agenda. Curated around three trends-based streams – Free-From Retail, Vegan and Plant-Based and Supplier and Insights – and delivered by more than 65 expert speakers including ProVeg International, IRI Worldwide, Döhler, Foodvalley, Wageningen University & Research and FMCG Gurus – the sessions provided insights into the latest industry research, analysis and key trends shaping the sector. These were supported by extensive networking opportunities and the latest product developments from key exhibitors.
Reflecting the popularity and growth in the category, some of the most popular sessions were in the free-from retail stream. The gluten-free presentation by Floris van Overveld from AOECS dealt with the subject ‘How will the revised AOECS Standard and Gluten Free Addendum affect gluten free Food Business Operators’. This session drew crowds from the show floor, highlighting the growing interest in this area. Frank Quix, founder of Q&A Insights and Consultancy, offered an exclusive first look into their new report ‘Foodretail towards 2030’ featuring insights from Albert Heijn and other big retailers.
Equally, presentations in the vegan and plant-based stream proved to be popular, with Mathilde Alexandre from leading international food awareness organization, ProVeg, discussing the debate of plant-based vs cellular agriculture. Are these categories mutually exclusive or promising complementary strategies?
Always interesting for visitors, the supplier insights presentations provided an opportunity for companies to share their insights, equipping attendees with the very latest industry intelligence to help them steer the direction of their business. Presentations from leading exhibitors at the event – including R Biopharm, Zeelandia, and Ctic Cita – were popular as always, and included in-depth examinations of a broad range of topics including allergen management, the challenges of gluten-free products, insights into food trends and the future food and many more.
Celebrating the very best of the industry, this year’s Awards were a hotbed of excitement, with organisations celebrated in four key categories. Brand of the Year was awarded to Austrian company Landgarten GmbH & Co. The company, which was set up in 1989, offers the development, manufacturing and refinement of innovative snacks and the finest treats for body & soul. Runner-up for Brand of the Year went to LilaLou Biscuits.
It was a tough contest in the Product of the Year category, but the deserving first prize went to the Spanish company Sanygran with their product vegan Tuna. The original aim of the project was to develop an extruded food product out of legumes and cereals which could substitute meat and be suitable for people who do not eat animal-based food products, such as vegans and vegetarians.
Runner up was Zero Carb Company with their product Zero Carb Bread.
The Newcomer of the Year award was handed to the amazing Newcomer company Intolerants. The company offers different vegan and gluten-free products. The most innovative product they offer is a gluten-free, vegan, sugar free egg. The runner up for the Newcomer was Veggie Crumbz with an innovative way of frying.
Bonvita took home the Lifetime achievement award. They have a wide variety of chocolate. It does not only taste good but the chocolate are Fair Trade, 100% vegan and gluten free. The company uses rice milk and not cows milk. This makes the chocolate 100% vegan and this is the reason why this company deserve the Lifetime achievement award!
Commenting on the success of the exhibition this year, Free From Functional Food & Health Ingredients event director Ronald Holman said: “We have been completely blown away again by the response to the exhibition this year compared to last year. Not only did it surpass all our expectations in terms of visitor and exhibitor figures but most importantly, the atmosphere among attendees was extremely positive. Visitors were able to identify new and exciting products from exhibitors, suppliers did business with the retail and manufacturing contacts they wanted to meet, delegates spoke extremely positively of the education opportunities at the conference and overall the industry seemed to be buzzing with life after a difficult few years. I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the winners of our awards – who have all worked so hard to get to where they are today.”
“We now move on to planning our next event – Free From Functional Food & Health Ingredients in Barcelona, which is already 65% re-booked following our successful during the Amsterdam & Barcelona edition. It will take place on 30-31 May 2023 and we very much look forward to welcoming the industry to the FIRA in a few months’ time.”
For more information on the Free From Functional & Health Ingredients Expo, which returns to the FIRA Barcelona from 30-31 May 2023, visit https://barcelona.freefromfoodexpo.com/.