Free From Functional & Health Ingredients (FFF&HI) broke records when it welcomed more than 7,800 key buyers and decision makers from the free from food, drink and sustainable packaging industries through its doors in Barcelona from 28-29 May.
Now in its seventh year, this staggering 52% increase on visitor numbers reflects the dynamic growth and development of the global free from market and cements the show as Europe’s leading platform for the free from industries. Visitors took advantage of the unique platform the show provides, informing and inspiring decision makers from the world of retail, ingredients, wholesale, distribution and foodservice with a packed schedule of conference sessions, pioneering brands and products plus multiple networking opportunities.
Leading the field
Five core areas of the free from market; free from, vegan, natural and organic, functional and health ingredients were represented across four conference stages with insights from key speakers.
Highlights from the packed conference schedule revealed the latest data covering key areas including the 11.5% increase in sales of free from foods across Europe in the past year  and the 133% growth of the UK free from market since FFF&HI began in 2013. 
Show partners, ProVeg International hosted a dedicated vegan area and a series of seminars at the vegan conference stage. Verena Wiederkehr, International Head of Food Industry and Retail at ProVeg International revealed the most prominent trends driving the sector including sensory experiences, clean-label products and raw materials, explaining the opportunities for businesses who tap into this buoyant sector.
FFF&HI was the platform for new brands and product launches from those shaping the organic, vegan, functional foods and ingredients markets.
On the first day, FFF&HI unveiled the winner of its Product of the Year Awards – a celebration of the most cutting-edge free from food and drink products launched in the past year. Manufacturers and producers put their best innovations for contention to be crowned winner and runner up across three categories, Product of the Year, Best New Brand, Free From Plastics.
Product of the Year Award
- Winner: Qwrkee Foods – Pea M’LK
- Runner-up: Ambrosiae
- Runner-up: Pizza Mi – gluten free pizza bases
Best New Brand
- Winner: I am Bart’s – Vegan Nutrition Bites
- Runner-up: Juustoportti – Organic and Gluten free Oat Drinks made from Finnish Premium Oats
Free From Plastics Packaging
- Winner: EncajaBio – Packaging system and cellulose film which sustainably reduces the carbon footprint
The lifetime achievement award was given to Molino Nicoli, European leaders in gluten free cereal-based production, who have exhibited at FFF&HI since the first show in 2013.
I Am Bart’s launched a range organic snack bars made with vegetables, fruit and seeds without preservatives and added sugars. Commenting on winning Best New Brand, Founder, Bart Veldkamp said: “We are delighted to have won an award, especially as it’s our first time exhibiting at a trade show. We’ve been impressed with this dynamic show and the high quality of the visitors. The team has worked very hard and we are very proud of this win. It’s great to be recognised as we’re in the company of such interesting brands showcasing fantastic products – I’m very proud to be surrounded by such great innovators!”
FFF&HI Exhibition Director, Ronald Holman commented: “It was fantastic to return to Barcelona and we are absolutely delighted with the number of visitors that came to discover what’s happening at the forefront of the free from industry. It’s great to see returning exhibitors and new ones coming to showcase such a diverse range of products and the industry leading experts who drive the market forward.
We’ve received a fantastic response from show visitors and exhibitors alike. We’re looking forward to hearing about the outcomes for our exhibitors this year and seeing what the show will bring in 2020.”
FFF&HI will return for its eighth edition in Amsterdam from 23-24 June, 2020.
 Mintel UK Free From Food Market Report – UK – December 2018
Find more information at www.freefromfoodexpo.com/
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