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25th November 2019

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Food Matters Live – Protein, Health Ingredients & Plant-based

Last week Market Insights Executive, Karen Lancashire, was at the ExCel in London attending the Food Matters Live exhibition. Food Matters Live is an event that brings together professionals from across the food and drink, nutrition and health sectors highlighting challenges facing food and drink manufacturers and ingredient suppliers, as well as celebrating the latest innovations reshaping the food and drink industry.

20191119_132350aThis year saw a continued focus on natural health ingredients. It was prevalent that almost all the ingredients being showcased at the event came with a health benefit message. Whether it’s the antioxidants from spirulina in providing a natural source of blue-green food colouring, or probiotics in kimchi and other fermented foods, or the introduction of cannabinoids to everyday products, it appeared every ingredient had been developed with health in mind.

As with previous years, products to support muscle remodelling and improve nutrition following exercise had a large presence at the exhibition. Whilst there were still many companies promoting sports nutrition products made from traditional dairy proteins, there was a considerable increase in companies offering plant-based alternatives that were blended to contain an essential amino acid profile in addition to considering bioavailability affecting the absorption and digestibility of different plant proteins to mirror that of dairy proteins. Interestingly, one seminar also touched on the concept of exercise induced oxidative stress and concluded the need for incorporating antioxidants in sports nutrition products to support an overall body recovery rather than simply repairing muscle following a workout.

But by far, the biggest emphasis of the event was recognising that the future of food ingredients, and in particular plant-based products, is no longer the ‘future’ – it is happening now! There has been a growing acceptance from consumers over the last 12 months that plant-based diets are no longer viewed as ‘peculiar’ or only indulged by a minority, but in fact plant-based products are playing a key role in many individuals’ diets, driven by the desire for sustainable nutrition and the health benefits from reducing meat consumption. The growth of the plant-based market and the introduction of new products over the last year was recognised by the addition of the Plant-Based Pavilion at this year’s event dedicated to the international innovators re-defining plant-based food and drinks. Despite the unprecedented growth of this sector, it was widely recognised that there are, however, still barriers challenging the development of plant-based products, such as the perception of a highly ‘processed’ product, the regulatory approvals regarding novel foods, and many functional challenges for example developing a plant-based alternative with an equal nutritional profile as well as textural imbalances.

Food Matters Live 2019 was a really interesting exhibition where lots of industry experts shared their knowledge and experiences in developing innovative products that are pushing the boundaries of the food and drink industry like it’s not experienced before. With an industry opening its mind and growing at its current rate, we at Biocatalysts can’t wait to see how it develops over the coming months and we will be here to support you with the challenges that arise.

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