BE THE CHANGE at Vitafoods: What is loved and why it is complicated

Das BE THE CHANGE Team an der Vitafoods Europe (v.l.): Andrea Tobler, Sven Altorfer, Barbara Stolba, Melanie Metzger, Elìa Diehl)

Image: The BE THE CHANGE team at Vitafoods Europe (from left): Andrea Tobler, Sven Altorfer, Barbara Stolba, Melanie Metzger, Elìa Diehl.

Inside BE THE CHANGE Immerse yourself in a huge and opaque industry: We visited the second largest B2B trade fair for nutraceuticals, Vitafoods Europe in Geneva. These are the insights we take with us.

Vitafoods Europe was launched in 1997 to meet the growing needs of the emerging nutraceuticals* industry. This B2B trade fair* is the second largest of its kind behind Vitafoods World and takes place at Palexpo in Geneva.

The annual event is aimed at a global audience across four sectors covering the entire nutritional supplement supply chain from start to finish: raw material producers, contract manufacturers, product manufacturers and white label manufacturers*.

Inexhaustible – or what the industry is looking for

Quality, customer service and, unsurprisingly, Swissness are increasingly sought after. It seems that consumer demand for good quality products is growing, which in turn means that the industry needs to move in this direction.

The demand from the industry for new and innovative raw materials that are reliably available is also evident. New things are being innovated from different sources: from algae to protein peptides to probiotics. Trending products for 2023: weight management, products for the microbiome and mental performance as well as products for women and menopause.

A look into the Palexpo hall in Geneva: Over 1000 exhibitors from around 130 countries around the world.

A look into the Palexpo hall in Geneva: Over 1000 exhibitors from around 130 countries around the world.

On the bench – or what role sustainability plays

Surprisingly, the issue of sustainability in this industry is small to negligible globally. The searcher is most likely to find what he is looking for in raw materials. Some producers are looking for more long-term solutions. Energy and water are initially included in production. Animal welfare has also gained some importance, but is anything but an omnipresent topic.

When looking for sustainable processes, you will find contract manufacturers particularly in Switzerland and Central Europe: on the one hand, processes such as encapsulation or filling are subject to the stricter laws of the respective country, and on the other hand, responsible companies also use the latest technologies.

Many product manufacturers, however, switch to countries where these services are cheaper to obtain for these production steps, which makes the product cheaper and increases the margin. There were no packaging manufacturers represented at Vitafoods who presented a breakthrough in alternatives to plastic waste , BPA or other substances that are harmful to health and the environment.

For product manufacturers, the pressure from politics and regulations is becoming ever greater. Consumer demand for sustainable products is growing rapidly globally, but is extremely fragile depending on the economic situation. This is where you as a consumer come into play to ensure that these products become the market standard in the long term.

In the jungle – or where the end customer stays

We never tire of emphasizing: your demand generates supply.
Especially in the food and nutritional supplements industry. However, the hurdles for consumers to understand and evaluate the products are very large. It is a dense, inscrutable jungle.

For example, a layperson can hardly tell the difference between white label products and products from a manufacturer. This means that the products and ingredients can hardly be checked for their quality or origin.

Likewise, sustainability and animal welfare are usually the subject of good marketing and are often incomprehensible or even a fraud and opaque for the consumer .

Own league – or what BE THE CHANGE does

As an organic certified manufacturer and our Swiss made products under Swiss regulations, we are taking the following with us from Vitafoods 2023:

With our comprehensively new and sustainable approach - from raw materials to quality to packaging - we are meeting growing demand and leading the way as a pioneer for the entire industry.

The CHANGE , i.e. the change that we are driving forward, is complex: health, sustainability, transparency and quality require new ways of producing raw materials, production and packaging .

Swissness is in demand globally thanks to reliability, customer service and the strict requirements of our food law.

* Glossary

Nutraceuticals : The term nutraceutical was created in the 1990s to define foods or parts of foods that provide specific health or medicinal benefits. According to this definition, nutraceuticals can be used for health-promoting or therapeutic purposes. The particular strengths lie in the health-promoting effect through immune strengthening and immune modulation, in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and digestive and mucosa-protecting effects. [...] (DOI: 10.1007/978-3-662-64744-8_1 )

B2B: Abbreviation for Business to Business. Products and services offered and sold by companies for companies. The counterpart is B2C, abbreviation for Business to Customer, which describes the relationship between the company and the end customer.

Raw material producers: Produce ingredients such as probiotics, algae raw materials, calcium, etc.

Contract manufacturers: carry out certain production steps such as encapsulation, filling, mixing, refining steps such as pasteurization, and much more.

Product Manufacturers: Manufacture products using their own recipes. Produce raw materials yourself and/or buy the ingredients from raw material producers. Almost everything is manufactured in-house; some process steps may also be carried out by contract manufacturers.

White label manufacturers: Manufacture finished consumer products/entire product portfolios. These are purchased (without labels and marketing) from companies that do not produce any products themselves in order to sell them under their own brand name.

Packaging manufacturers: Are suppliers and partners of product manufacturers and white label manufacturers. BE THE CHANGE, for example, develops and innovates sustainable packaging in constructive partnerships with visionary packaging manufacturers.

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