Jasenka Pervan Alonso (Croatia, 1983) is the Sales Director of Free From Food Exhibition 2023 for Spain. Trained in Master in Business Administration, Pervan Alonso has professional experience as Supermarket Category Manager for Health Food and other categories. She was also Export Manager in the plant based sector, and finally developer of international projects in functional foods. We talked with her about the new edition of Free From Food Barcelona, which will be held from 30 to 31 May 2023 at the Fira Barcelona exhibition centre.

Jasenka Pervan Alonso

Free From Food returns to Barcelona from 30 to 31 May. How are the preparations coming along?

Since this is the first time that we are doing it from Barcelona office, we are able to approach it more proximate, to start developing all our Strategic Partner alliances in everyday perspective earlier in year than before, and to maximize our efforts in order to engage all new tendencies, new and very innovative producers, and in the same time to be on continuous disposal for all out trusted previous Partners. We are very much on schedule and sales is going very well.

What are the main novelties the sector will find at the 2023 edition?

The main tendencies are with no doubt all kind of now already sophisticated meat and fish plant-based alternatives, with much higher technical solutions in selecting their source of protein. Then making gluten and lactose free meals tasty but not mainly with sugar as a substitute for a good taste. They getting to be, low in sugar, high in protein, and free from allergens.

Alcohol free products that traditionally contained alcohol (from, kombucha, beer, to all sorts of other beverages). In general, the category of functional beverages has never been more creative and innovative. And then there is a permanent goal of all free from food producers to be first tasty and healthy, with the aim to become a part of some standard «shopping cart» of consumers is the continuous tendency that never gets to be less than a main focus in our categories.

«The main Free From trends are all kind of now already sophisticated meat and fish plant-based alternatives»

Why is the 11 th Annual Free From & Health Ingredients Barcelona 2023 «international, focused, specialized, dedicated, global, innovative and profitable»?

We organize the 11th edition now and since we continue  travelling from north to south Europe, we do have many attendees who follow us, re-visiting the show. We also have an international campaign as well so the Free From BCN is a European show. We already testify that vegan gluten free, lactose free, and other free from categories producers really need our platform and can make a lot of international business out of it.

We are focused and specialized cause this sector needs a focused platform, we are unique both in offering only the specialized and highly professional visitors for 5 categories, as in our space model where all exhibitors are highly visible and reachable – everyone is noticed by everyone. We are dedicated cause this is really the only way how to make any niche sector grow – for many we represent the unique opportunity to explain their project to the right decision maker.

Being global is one of our achievements that we are proud of, because it is several times more difficult to globalize such a young business as most of the businesses from the categories that we cover are, and we are managing this in having the business decision makers as our visitors from around 60 countries.

«Being global is one of our achievements. We are managing this in having the business decision makers as our visitors from around 60 countries»

As a consequence, we are highly profitable for any of our Participants, because they manage to present themselves in only 2 very dense days to so many markets, and from many markets.

Who will exhibit and who will be visiting?

Our Exhibitor is a producer or/and brand owner that promotes the products from one of 5 categories: Free From – Organic/Natural – Plant based – Vegan – Functional, Our Exhibitor is a producer or provider of healthy ingredients for such categories. Finally, our Exhibitor is the producer or provider that enables the final product to be called sustainable: smart and sustainable packaging producers.

Our visitors are functional food-oriented retail and wholesale professionals and distributors, but also the producers who are searching for healthy ingredients and sustainable packaging.

The trade show has a strong professional focus. What can you anticipate from the conference program and matchmaking sessions?

There will be many different conference platforms, but together they all have the aim to present innovative trends, stories of success to inspire the category newcomers, to educate, but also “befriending” of all functional food with a regular consumer. Our producers not only want to satisfy the need of mature functional food consumers, but they often want to change the world where we live and become everyday choice of the majority, for making better tomorrow. With the conferences we try to help them reach this goal.

Matchmaking sessions are the most efficient way for scheduling the opportunity for the concrete deal and make your chances high even before the fair starts, and it is custom made for all kinds of Participants such as Purchaser, Producer, Sales Manager, Product Development, etc…

«Free From is nowadays in the center of a modern and healthy lifestyle»

Lifestyle improving products are on a rise – how do Free From products fit in?

We are not only fitting in, but we are one of the very important tools of making this happen in Europe. We trust to be the strong ambassador and co-creator of this tendency, by building the real opportunity for any functional food product to go to any retail shelf, not only to special store, to satisfy any consumer with some free from product but helping to producer to find adequate taste while not resigning the functionality.

And finally to help to all our Participants to educate the final Consumer in detecting what is their need and if that need can be satisfied already with lifestyle choice. Free From is nowadays in the center of a modern and healthy lifestyle: less or no additives, Allergen Free, replacements (carrots instead of gluten, etc.), natural ingredients, supporting a vegan diet, functional (better for you), etc. All these segments are part of the Free From Food Expo Umbrella which supports the consumer looking for healthy diets following a healthy lifestyle.

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