At Vitafoods Europe leading product makers explained just how deep collaboration needs to go to achieve success in highly competitive markets in Europe and beyond.
“The manufacturing process is only the end,” said Roel van Dam, sales manager at Dutch bar specialist, VSI.
“That’s the part where we make money, but the part where we make business is the first part.”
Off-camera he added: “A customer comes to us and tells us what he is looking for. Sometimes it is already very elaborate, sometimes it is just with a few details like 30% of protein, and then we start a project with them to define what exactly they are looking for. So we talk about flavours, we talk about the nutrition values, about the texture of the product and then we develop that for them.”
“And after development we take care of the production and the packaging – we arrange the whole lot for them.”
A complicated business
Eveline Gispen, international business development manager at Italian nutraceutical, medical devices and pharmaceutical contract manufacturer Fine Foods, said nutraceutical manufacturing brought special challenges.
“The nutraceutical business is extremely complicated. The customer wants to have products on the market fast; they must be cheap or relatively inexpensive, it requires a lot of creativity also because there are rules that are unified throughout Europe…”
Martina Markov Singer, head of development at Croatian player Milsing, said a contract manufacturer had to bring added value to the table. In this way it had developed concepts around gummy bears and confectionery products.
“We put a lot of good active ingredients into the chocolate form and then we register it as food supplements so you have a food supplement with added value,” Markov Singer said.
“It’s not easy to put active ingredients such as probiotics into chocolate form and have them viable at the end of the shelf life so this all about the knowledge and technology and it’s all about product development really.”
“It’s like almost a joint venture…”
Herlander Mendes from Portuguese teas and infusions firm Go Green said its manufacturing partner had been vital in developing a range of teas fortified with claim-backed vitamins and minerals and other nutrients.
“It’s like almost a joint venture between our company and the contract manufacturer,” said Mendes. “We have developed this line a little bit together…we have the ideas and they have the technology.”