Len Monheit, executive director of Engredea, told NutraIngredients-USA that attendees at trade shows find it increasingly difficult to find out what is truly innovative, and that this has led to “a lot of people becoming disengaged from the trade show circuit”.
To remedy this, the Engredea team “determined to really drive innovation and focus on innovation.
“We’re changing the dialogue with the client base,” said Monheit.
The event will host an Innovation Station, providing a forum for 12-15 companies to demonstrate innovative products, ingredients, technologies and services. Featured companies were selected following an application process to convince the organizers that their products were innovative, added Monheit.
Engredea has a 12% increase in exhibiting companies with a 10% increase in attendees over last year, compared with its predecessor SupplyExpo in 2011.
The event, to take place March 7-11, 2012 at the Anaheim Convention Center,
Innovation will also take center stage at the Nutracon conference, said Todd Runestad, editor-in-chief of Engredea/Functional Ingredients magazine. This year, the four tracks for the program focus on omega-3 (“the hottest ingredient in the industry right now”, according to Runestad), functional beverages (“the leading area of innovation”), healthy aging (“the focus of a lot of innovation”), and a “provocative look” at the food-supplement-drug convergence.
Stand out speakers involve Dan Buettner, a researcher, explorer, New York Times bestselling author and National Geographic Fellow, who will give the keynote presentation on Unlocking the Secrets of Happiness.
Dr Allen Lim, who has worked with Lance Armstrong, is also on the program to discuss sports science, and will give a presentation entitled, “Blending science and practice to create an all-natural functional sports drink from scratch”.
The program also boasts industry experts like Michael McGuffin from the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), and Risa Schulman, a consultant with professional experience with POM Wonderful and Mars Botanical.
Attendee figures are already up 13% on last year, with opportunities still open to register, added Monheit.
While last year’s Ingredient Idol does not get a second edition at this year’s conference, the event’s awards ceremony is preceded by the unveiling of the Hall of Legends, described by Monheit as a celebration of 14 of the industry’s vibrant and dynamic champions.