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07 Nov 2022 — The free-from and plant-based food market has witnessed a transformation over the past year, with the COVID-19 pandemic helping to drive greater consumer awareness of the environmental and health benefits of a free-from diet. 
But now with the pandemic in the rearview, consumers continue to remain steadfast in their approach to diet and well-being, putting the European free from market on a path of continued growth, with projections outlining a CAGR rate of 8.7% to 2025.
This data has been highlighted by the organizers of the upcoming Free From Functional Food & Health Ingredients (FFF&HI) event in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (November 22 to 23). The show will be spotlighting innovations from brands, retailers and food manufacturers in the scope of the free-from, organic and vegan food spaces.
“We hope that attendees leave these sessions feeling inspired and equipped with the knowledge to add value to their business and respond to emerging consumer demands,” comments Ronald Holman, event director.
Trend-driven innovation highlights
In just two years, the European plant-based food industry is reported to have grown 49%, according to FFF&HI-cited data. This is transforming the perception of plant-based options from novelty to a promising market segment, raising expectations that this will feature prominently at the show.
Among the exhibitors, Portuguese gluten- and GMO-free pasta brand Belvida will showcase its range of legume pasta products including its Fusilli Brown Rice, Rigati Pea and Corn and Fusilli Chickpea.

Döhler will present its free-from ingredients which span natural flavors and colors, sugar-free sweetening systems and gluten-free barley malt extracts.

Among others, Dutch brand Soof Drinks will present its syrups and soft drinks made from 100% all-natural fruits, vegetables and herbs.
Industry expert line-up
Brands and ingredients will also be on show by location, with the event’s country pavilions capturing the trends and innovations in Indonesia Pavilion, Tunisia Pavilion, Seaweed Pavilion, Austria Pavilion, Denmark Pavilion and Bolivia Pavilion.
Complimenting the innovation demonstrated on the show floor, a series of industry experts will discuss the most influential trends in the event’s carefully curated conference program.
Three streams covering “Free From Retail,” “Vegan & Plant-Based” and “Supplier & Insights,” will guide attendees through the latest industry trends, helping brands understand how to capitalize on market changes and respond to changing consumer demands.
Speaking during the Free From Retail conference, experts will also explore the development of health food categories in the Netherlands. The Association of European Coeliac Societies will address the importance of the Crossed Grain Trademark – an internationally registered gluten-free product certification for food and drink products.
ProVeg will lead a debate on plant-based versus cellular agriculture.Pro Carton – the European Association for carton and carton board – will highlight the importance of sustainability in packaging and the role of carton board in achieving true circularity.
Meanwhile, in the “Vegan and Plant-Based” conference, consumer acceptance and plant-based alternatives will be discussed by Schouten Europe. Enriching plant-based products with locally grown quinoa will be the focus for GreenFood50.
ProVeg International will lead a discussion on the plant-based versus cellular agriculture debate, posing the question of whether they are mutually exclusive categories, or promoting complementary strategies.
This discussion has grown in prominence over the recent year, as large food players move into the cultivated meat space to scale alternative proteins, fat and everything in between using the novel technology.
In the third and final conference, “Supplier & Insights,” a speaker from the Netherlands-based University of Wageningen will take on the topic of personalized nutrition and health. Also, Nutrlab will explore LC MSMS allergen screening while R Biopharm will explore food trends that are influencing food contaminant trends.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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