The show, held from 11-13 May at the Geneva Palexpo, used its third morning to draw industry attention to the growing push towards regulation of health claims in Europe.
Shutting the exhibitor floor between 9 and 11 am on the last day, the organisers pulled in a number of experts to update supplement manufacturers and ingredient producers on the state of claims regulation within the European Union, and elsewhere.
Taking place for the first time, the session, chaired by Simon Pettman, director of European Advisory Services, attracted more than 400 attendees.
"Few people really understand what kind of impact this issue [health claims regulation] will have on their business but they should assume that it is not going to go away," said Pettman, referring to a draft European Commission regulation, issued last year but too controversial to reach the voting stage in the current European Parliament.
He added that the Vitafoods discussion forum got marketers and manufacturers thinking about issues often left to regulatory experts. Yet marketers are often the first to consider the use of claims to promote their products.
Companies can also play an active role in lobbying MEPs to influence how the next draft health claims regulation takes shape.
Another speaker, Jean Feord, business manager of legislation at Leatherhead Food, added that the forum "probably needed more time for discussion as questions expanded into general nutrition issues and the data required to support claims".
Some of these questions came from Eastern European companies, exhibiting for the first time, and facing new requirements under EU regulations.
The 300 exhibitors also included many of the Chinese companies prevented from attending last year due to SARS, Korean firms and an African pavillion, making it the most international Vitafoods yet.
On the trade floor visitor numbers were up 13 per cent on the previous year, with more than 3400 professionals from the nutraceutical, dietary