With more visitors than ever before - Free From Functional Food Expo 2017 was the most successful in its history. Its growth mirrors the trend for free from and functional food - which continues to thrive right across Europe. This fifth jubilee edition in Barcelona featured more than 260 producers from 39 countries around the globe, including the UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, Korea, Ireland and Canada. It attracted more than 4,300 buyers - up by 29% on 2016.
Producers included: Grano, Bute Island Foods, Delicious Alchemy, Rude Health, Nakd Trek, Generous, Germen, Glebe Farm Foods, King Soba, Dhul, Sweet Switch, Turtle, Mrs Crimble's, Broderick's Brothers, Virginia Health Food, 226ers, Honest, Probios, Proceli and Bfree Foods.
In an exciting and dynamic sector, Free From Functional Food Expo excels in showcasing the best new free from food and drink products, ingredients and services. It is also the best platform for connecting top buyers with the right suppliers. Products on show this year included: dairy free cheese, organic ice tea, free from noodles, rice mayonnaise, vegan eggs, gluten and sugar free iced coffee and ancient grain flour. More than 40 industry experts were also part of the line-up in the two conference theatres - highlighting the trends, challenges and opportunities in this fast developing market.
Conference-goers heard from Mintel that the UK free from market is currently worth £531 million - and is predicted to grow to £673 million by 2020. The sector has a promising future, driven largely by millennials (16-24 year olds), it reveals. Industry expert Hamish Renton, of food and drink consultants, Hamish Renton Associates also revealed the exploding popularity of lactose-free, calling it the "star in the free from sky" . He told conference-goers that the rate of product development, the weight of marketing investment and the expansion of distribution means the category is set for very rapid growth.
Producers and manufacturers said that Free From Functional Food 2017 delivered for them - with more than 36% already signed up for the sixth edition in Denmark.
Rebecca Rayner, for Glebe Farm Foods said: "This is the fourth time we have attended the Free From Functional Food Expo. Once again we came away with lots of good leads - and have already signed up for Stockholm next year."
Christophe Harou, from Generous, said: "We have attended the show for the last three years - and it did not disappoint. We were very happy with the results of our visit and we look forward to building on that - and returning in 2018."
Oriol Viladevall, from Innova Food, said: "The show was very successful for us. We decided to exhibit as we have a great new range of free from raw materials to introduce. The location was also great for us as we are based in Barcelona, so it was great to meet new people from different markets."
Ronald Holman, Exhibition Director, said: "The success of this year's trade event in Barcelona reflects the incredible growth in this exciting and dynamic sector. There is no better place for producers to showcase their innovations, and no better place for buyers to discover them than at Free From Functional Food Expo. Top that with the wealth of information delivered by our industry experts, and our highly successful matchmaking scheme introducing buyers with the right suppliers - this year's event has outshone the rest."
Free From Functional Food Expo 2017 was held in Barcelona, Spain on June 8 and 9
Free From Functional Food Expo 2018 will make its debut in Stockholm, Sweden on 16th and 17th of May
For further press information and images, please contact: Claire Dunn or Rosalind Evry at Monkhouse Food & Drink
Free From Functional Food Expo 2018