3 trends (and more) we discovered on our Innovation Tour to Barcelona
15 June 2022
First impressions of our tour to Barcelona: That buzzing of people. A buzzing that we’ve been so excited to hear again because it indicates network, meeting and greeting in action. Business cards changing hands and being transported back to more than 60 destinations worldwide.
Product tasting on the "Free From" Expo
Ultimo June, Food & Bio Cluster Denmark took the trip to Barcelona to the ‘Free From Functional Food and Free from Functional Health Ingredients Expo 2022’ at the Fira de Barcelona. An expo which functions as the meeting point for exhibitors and guests from more than 67 countries worldwide with the agenda to gather the newest knowledge, the most important trends and the “what’s hot” in the business when it comes to innovative products and technologies.
The overall theme of the expo was “free from” which covers Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Lactose Free, Egg Free, Sugar Free, Meat Free, Allergy Free and many more “Free From” products in the food industry, and we were truly excited to get updated on the trends not to miss. And we were not disappointed.
A different way of networking
But Food & Bio Cluster Denmark didn’t travel alone. On the tour, we were joined by Food-Tech Inventor & Venture Investor Iryna Gavrylova de Garcia from CMYK ingredients, product manager at Aurelis Aps, Daniel Nørgaard and Karin Nielsen from Nutrition Business Strategies. Three people from tree very different companies, who, on paper, does not have a lot in common other than the overall and very wide food industry. Whose products and services differed on many levels. And yet, got a great deal out of each other’s professional experiences and knowledge. Something we would never have found if we hadn’t found ourselves in these settings.
The expo was spread over two days of stand visiting, matchmaking, innovation tours, talks, conferences, tastings and networking groups. We initially visited the expo as a group but found it beneficial to spread out and visit the different parts which had interests to each of us. Meeting up occasionally to exchange findings and experiences. “I just talked to this product developer at the Finish stand, and I think you would benefit from exchanging viewpoints with her”-kind of sentences were not rare throughout the two days of the tour. And besides visiting the stands and meeting with the many exhibitors, we joined several of the many Innovation Tours facilitated to get a guided experience of the expo. We joined the matchmaking event, where timeslots could be booked to meet with peers to exchange ideas and maybe even initiate business. And we were even invited to a networking reception hosted by the Dutch Embassy in Madrid, which perfectly tied a nice bow on day one on the expo in Barcelona. At night, we continued the great talks at a networking dinner, and already knowing each other a bit better, you could feel the comfortability of each other’s company, and sharing ideas and points of view had already gotten a bit easier. Again – something we only really get to see when we go on these tours together.
Market trends and consumer convenience
As a group, we have tasted, seen, experienced, talked about and gained a deeper insight into and understanding of all the new trends and developments, which we would never have gotten, if we had not gone on the tour. We have returned home with an idea of what’s hot out there. Besides a great representation of vegan ice cream (which was indeed very welcomed in the Barcelona summer heat), we noticed at least three trends:
• We must keep an eye out for the plant based” fish” product, which very much likely will become a relevant player on the field – and pretty soon, too.
• It’s worth considering the hybrid model when working towards substituting the full meet product. Fifty/fifty (or just about) plant/meat products might be the way forward if we want to target the wider population.
• Consumer needs and consumer behaviour must be our eternal focus; taste, consistency, habits, culture, usability, comfort and ease of use are vital elements to consider, when we target our products to those who are actually going to consume them.
“I enjoyed the presentation by Maria Pavlidou, HMT, on the new consumer narratives for the important emotional storytelling around a brand: Reflection, Connection, Roots, and Rituals and how to implement those into Brand Activation Strategies.” Karin Nielsen says and reflects on the importance of taking the consumers own narratives and needs into consideration when working towards placing new products in the market.
“I especially noticed a product which could be sitting well with consumers who has the need to buy serving sizes with a limited shelf life and risk of food waste. The product came in the shape of a powdered mix to blend with water to a spread when needed. Still, with a minority of vegans in most families, this product offered a solution for the household and supported all the trends of – Organic – Free from – vegan and CONVENIENCE.” says Karin about a product which especially stood out as it seemed to tick of many boxes, while at the same time being very much easy for the consumer to apply into daily life.
Innovation across boarders
We can do much in Denmark when it comes to developing innovative food with focus on green conversion. That was made quite clear in May where Food & Bio Cluster Denmark’s Susanne Baden Jørgensen moderated the webinar “ ”The international world of tomorrow’s food” where she had invited Helle Lykke Fuglevig, owner and director of Market Select to give us an insight into the noticeable strengths that Denmark has when it comes to foods. Even though Denmark is a small nation, we are capable of competing internationally, as we are a leading nation when it comes to the production of green, sustainable and organic foods. But at the same time, we need to have an open mind towards inspiration and new ideas coming from across borders. Because a pretty important point is that innovation only arises when we move away from the things we are used to and open our eyes to new and different ways of working. When we are out discovering and return to our desks and labs with new knowledge – that’s where innovation really takes off.
…And, we must admit. It’s really just something to once again be able to network and meet across boarders. We’ve returned home to our Danish offices with so many valuable takeaways, knowledge of new developments and insight into trends. And lots and lots of business cards from all around the world. And we are already so excited about the next Free From Expo in Amsterdam in November. Stay tuned for more info, and always feel welcome to reach out to Susanne Baden Jørgensen for info on the tour and how to join.
Enterprise Europe Network
Food & Bio Cluster Denmark is a partner in Enterprise Europe Network, so therefore the Innvoation Tour is co-organised and supported by the Network. The matchmaking event is an Enterprise Europe Network activity.
When you participate in this event, your time will be used as co-financing for the project Innovationkraft, which is funded by the Danmarks Erhvervsfremmebestyrelse and the Uddannelses- og Forskningsstyrelsen at a standard rate.
3 trends (and more) we discovered on our Innovation Tour to Barcelona