Our Director of Business Development, James Street attended Food Ingredients Europe (FIE) Frankfurt last month with CEO Bill Greuel to gather insights, discuss Canada and our plant-based ecosystem, and explore potential partnerships.
It was interesting to participate in meetings so soon after being in both Singapore and London this fall. Across the globe, investors, ingredient makers and CPG brands are feeling the inflationary pressures and relative drops in consumer spending but optimism is still high. Singapore was perhaps moving slightly faster than the EU towards new investments, but many are slightly paused; companies are using the current business climate to reposition, restructure and retool in preparation for another push ahead when consumer habits and interest rates start to stabilize and growth resumes.
Some key takeaways from FIE Frankfurt include:
- There is a large need and a matching eagerness to collaborate on pre-competitive research in the ingredient space. Health- and nutrition-related data gaps were most of the discussion areas as both businesses and research institutes in the EU are working to catch up to innovation with data.
- Ingredient demand from the multinational CPGs and ingredient brokers is driven by functionality and upcoming crops such as Faba and lupin were top of mind.
- Plant-based portfolios were showcased widely across many of the ingredients hall exhibitors. Companies were holding short presentations within their booths with consumer insights slides that held plant-based as a potential solution to many consumer pain points.
- Consumer understanding is still a shifting landscape, and we had a few interesting conversations that explored a stack of consumer lenses that affect adoption. A specific example discussed how most UK citizens only know how to prepare 6 recipes. When you compound insights such as that against single-person households, eating on the go and the emphasis on fresh vs frozen in the UK – formulations for the North American market are not an easy plug-and-play.
- Interest in Canada is strong, however, the global business environment is making it challenging to convert that into investment and growth. Fundamentals are very strong, and the consensus among many is that a growth period is on the horizon.
Director of Business Development
Protein Industries Canada