7 key reasons to attend Hi Europe
To gain insight into Hi Europe & Ni, exciting new sections and initiatives, I spoke with Julien Bonvallet, Brand Director at UBM plc, about this year’s top challenges for the conference. Here are his expectations of what the event will offer.
Hi Europe & Ni attracted almost 9,000 visitors in 2016, with 27% of attendees coming from outside of Europe. What are the expectations for this year's exhibition in terms of the scale and global span of visitors and exhibitors?
At this year’s edition of Hi Europe & Ni, we expect visitor numbers to increase by approximately 10%, exceeding the 10,000 visitor milestone. We currently are on track to deliver a 15% increase in exhibition space, which will also translate to a similar increase in numbers of exhibitors. This year’s growth primarily comes down to an increase in first-time exhibitors at Hi Europe & Ni.
With growing awareness around digestive health and its impact on multiple bodily functions, what specific health ingredients are expected to attract the most interest at the upcoming conference?
Digestive health is certainly gaining importance, with greater consumer awareness around its greater impact on the body. Probiotics, fibres, and enzymes are among the ingredients that are likely to be on our visitors’ sourcing list when visiting Hi Europe & Ni later this year.
Plant proteins also are, without a doubt, a fast-trending ingredient class that will be well represented at the show, both in terms of exhibitors and content available to attendees through the many conferences and seminars.
Given growing consumer interest and endeavours to personalise nutrition, what challenges and opportunities does this pose for companies in the health foods and food-tech industries?
How do you think companies can commercialise this trend and make it more accessible to consumers?
There is indeed no way around personalisation today – it’s everywhere. For the average consumer, personalisation means expressing their individual lifestyle and beliefs in everyday products. When it comes to dietary habits, personalisation is – strictly speaking – nothing new.
An interest in ‘better for you’ food began in the 1970s, along with growing affluence and the knowledge that what we eat influences our health. From the 1980s onwards, there has been growing emphasis on whole-grain and raw foods, followed by low cholesterol in the late 80s and 90s.
After the millennium, low-carb and ‘free from’ foods started to gain popularity, a trend that continues to this day. A diet is now, for many people, an expression of their personal lifestyle, a sign of individuality or of belonging to a certain group or social status.
On the other hand, some consumers face very real health issues after consuming certain foods. For some, this might be a serious reaction due to a diagnosed condition, while for others it might be more general discomfort.
These consumers tend to follow their own diets, some more strictly than others. A basic pillar that makes different forms of personalised eating habits possible is today’s connected world. Modern consumers do their own research on the internet, find like-minded people, and create their own personal diets.
However, the result of this is that the food and beverage market now faces serious fragmentation. Products that used to be confined to specific niche groups are becoming more and more popular. Today, vegan and vegetarian products sit happily alongside free-from alternatives, 100% organic food ranges, clean-eating and paleo products on the supermarket shelf.
The health and nutritional challenges that appear to occupy most consumers’ minds today encompass issues with gut health, obesity, protein alternatives, improved quality in sports nutrition, and sustainability. What are Fi Global's strategic plans for addressing these challenges?
The Fi Global team continuously engages and interacts with industry professionals to ensure we build our content-led program in line with the most relevant topics and trends. More specifically, the issues you raised will be addressed during the various conferences, seminars and other forms of content-led activities on site.
For example, the Future of Nutrition summit will have a full session dedicated to Sports Nutrition that we organised in partnership with ESSNA, the European Specialised Sports Nutrition Association. The Hi Conference will have a dedicated session on proteins that will focus on various areas of this trending topic, such as sourcing and protein trends, including plant proteins.
Other topics, such as gut health, obesity, or sustainability, will also be covered in various parts of the extensive content program of this year’s Hi Europe & Ni and Health & Nutrition week, organised in partnership with a wide range of partner associations and industry bodies.
What, in your opinion, are the leading nutritional trends that will drive new product development in 2019, and what are their ethical and environmental implications?
During the last few decades, consumers have developed a deeper understanding of how nutrition influences their personal well-being. As awareness of the benefits of fibre-rich foods increased, the first whole-grain breads became available. In the same way that green parties started to populate the political stage, organic products found their way onto shop shelves, and a newfound sense of responsibility and sustainability began to permeate the public. Intolerances and sensitivities suddenly upped their presence on the medical radar, and now free-from food products have become a guarantor for marketable growth.
The clean label trend also has many implications in ethical and sustainable sourcing. As the clean label trend continues to gain importance, consumers are increasingly seeking products that are not only free from artificial ingredients but also are ethically and sustainably made. Similarly, transparency has a strong influence as consumers are increasingly concerned about how products have been made. These consumers are on the look-out for ethical or environment-friendly claims.
Where do you see Hi Europe & Ni in 5 years’ time? Can you provide a brief summary on the story of Hi Europe & Ni, and the secret of success as a global leading event platform for the international health ingredients industry?
Celebrating its 10th edition in 2018, Hi Europe & Ni was launched in 2000 as a dedicated platform to fulfill the needs of the health and nutrition industry. The fast-growing consumer trends for a healthier lifestyle and better-for-you food and beverages has certainly been key in the success of Hi Europe & Ni throughout the years.
Health Ingredients Europe & Natural ingredients continues to innovate and provide the industry with relevant content, innovations and business opportunities. As this year marks the 10th edition of Hi Europe & Ni, we look forward in the coming years to continuing our efforts in delivering a unique gathering of health and nutrition professionals. We will particularly focus on increasing content-led activities around the events, networking opportunities, and enhancing each attendee’s experience. The upcoming editions of Hi Europe & Ni are likely to witness a transformation of the event industry as a whole, with ongoing development of innovative technologies as well as attendee needs evolvement in terms of experience, content, and networking.
What are some highlights that attendees can look forward to at this year’s Hi Europe & Ni?
At this year’s edition of Hi Europe & Ni, attendees will be able to take advantage of a range of features to learn about the latest industry solutions, from dietary supplements and nutraceuticals to formulation, packaging, and processing.
The Hi Conference offers three full days of expert presentations, master classes, and the chance to get up close and personal with decision makers, product developers, and market researchers. The third edition of the Future of Nutrition Summit also take place this year, bringing together independent food pioneers to discuss the future global trends in nutrition, as well as to explore cutting-edge innovations that are most likely to influence the industry within the next five years.
Moreover, networking events, such as the Women’s Networking Breakfast, are ideal ways to get in touch with interesting business partners and new clients.
Finally, a real highlight this year is our second edition of Health & Nutrition Week. Away from the hustle and bustle of the show, Health & Nutrition Week is a week-long lineup of events, meetings, and training sessions dedicated to promoting a better understanding of health and nutrition.
Thank you Julien. It was a pleasure speaking with you. We definitely learned of many exciting highlights to expect at this year’s Hi Europe & Ni. And for our readers, come, join us and don’t forget to fill the registration form here. Happy mingling!
About the author
Liat Simha is a public relations expert for health and nutrition. She helps companies stand out in the crowd internationally by custom-developing a complete toolbox of PR promotions, social media and advertising for each client.