The survey questioned the opinions of 143 people who have visited the show before, and/or will be visiting the show this year.
Respondents were asked what they saw as the three most important trends in the nutrition industry. For the short term (over the next 12 months), personalised nutrition was picked by one in five respondents (19 percent). However, when they were asked to think about the long term (the next three years) over a third (35 percent) identified it as an important trend.
The figures reflect the emergence of new possibilities such as individualised dietary guidelines, wearable technology, and personalised nutrition based on genetic testing. Accordingly, another hot topic for the future was nutrigenomics, which was seen as an important short-term trend for eight percent of respondents, but an important long-term trend for twice as many (17 percent).
The survey also demonstrates the continuing importance of high quality and evidence-based claims in order to meet regulatory requirements and consumer demand. The issue most likely to be seen as important—both now and in the future—was scientifically supported health claims, which was identified as a key trend in the short term by 47 percent of the respondents, and in the long term by 50 percent.
The health needs created by demographic trends such as population ageing and obesity continue to shape the agenda for much of the industry. Respondents were asked which three health benefit areas were most important to their companies. Healthy ageing, picked by one in four (23 percent) ranked top, followed by bone and joint health (22 percent), cardiovascular health (21 percent), general wellbeing (21 percent), and weight management (20 percent).
Commenting on the survey findings, Chris Lee, portfolio director of Vitafoods Europe, said: “Part of the role of Vitafoods Europe is to help the industry prepare for challenges and opportunities approaching on the horizon. When it comes to personalised nutrition, our research suggests we’re at the start of the curve. Areas such as wearable technology and genetic testing for nutrition may seem niche now, but one day they’ll be the norm.”
He continued: “The fact that half our visitors list scientifically supported health claims as an important trend reflects the close relationship between science and our industry.”