My first Vitafoods experience in May of 2013 was unforgettable. It kicked off with a party hosted by BrandHive client, OmniActive. The event was held on the outdoor deck at La Perle du Lac, on the edge of the Lake Geneva, Switzerland. In addition to an informative talk by Dr. Jorg Grunwald, President of Analyze and Realize, who provided an update on EFSA claims, there was a terrific jazz quartet, amazing food, and the wonderful company of international colleagues. The warm, sunny weather that evening brought a parade of walkers, bikers and joggers along the lake path and the city really came to life.
The next day I easily navigated my way from downtown Geneva to the Palexpo exhibition center via the quietest train I have ever experienced (thanks to Swiss engineering expertise). Hitting the tradeshow floor, one immediate difference soon became apparent. While most US tradeshow exchanges are handshakes and the occasional hug, the European “kiss hello” was offered by almost everyone. I had a few anxious moments as I worked on my aim and tried not to bonk anyone’s glasses.
After spending a few hours on the floor show it appeared that most ingredients and finished goods were primarily marketed toward “prevention” and healthy aging. Similar to what we see in the U.S. market, heart, cognitive, joint, and skin health products seemed to predominate. Emerging interest in protein supplementation was prominent at this show. In addition to enriched foods for the elderly, there were products targeting vegetarians, dieters and children. The targeting of product benefits to clearly defined small niches was in line with the trend towards “personalize nutrition” that was also a hot topic at the show.
In the afternoon, it was fun to participate in a long-standing Vitafoods tradition — a Norwegian specialties buffet at the Epax stand! The smoked salmon with our client Gunilla Traberg’s special mustard sauce was a real treat. A party theme perfectly suited to a Norwegian company with a 170+ year history in marine Omega-3s, this event was extremely well attended.
BrandHive has been designing the Epax Vitafoods stand graphics and event invitations for many years. It was great to see the stand in action and to attend the educational events they host. This year’s topics were the Effects of Marine Omega-3s on Telomeres, and PUFA’s affects on Inflammation biomarkers, both presented by Dr. Morten Bryhn, Scientific Advisor to Epax.
In the evening, the Nutrition Business & Technology Awards Gala was held at the Starling Geneva Hotel with Jeff Hilton acting as the event host for the second year in a row. Several BrandHive clients were nominated for awards, including Epax 1050 TG for Outstanding Application in Health Management, and Gencor Nutrients’ Libifem for Most Innovative Ingredient. While neither client walked away with an award this year, it was an honor to have them nominated and recognized for their efforts in product excellence.
Thursday was the last day of the show, and the slightly slower pace allowed for several client meetings to recap show highlights and discuss upcoming projects. In the afternoon, I made my final rounds to say “Good-bye”, “Au revoir”, “Auf Wiedersehen” and “Ha det!” before heading back to the hotel to pack my bags.
Overall, Vitafoods was a fantastic experience and a wonderful opportunity to support our BrandHive clients who market in both the U.S. and European markets. Next year Vitafoods will be held on May 6-8, 2014. I hope to see you there! http://www.vitafoods.eu.com/page.cfm