A veteran view on HiE 2016

By Dennis Seisun

- Last updated on GMT

A veteran view on HiE 2016

Related tags Collagen

Hydrocolloids specialist Dennis Seisun reflects on this year’s Health Ingredients Europe (HiE) expo in Frankfurt, Germany in this guest article.

Protein & collagen

The two main types of ingredients were, protein and collagen, which were being promoted by countless producers and formulators. This ‘bandwagon’ trend is reminiscent of the fibre phase when pandering to consumer (mis)perception that all fibre was good for all things was rampant. The trend is also reminiscent of the consumer confusion over which ingredient really did what.

Not all proteins are equal, nor are all collagens, yet in the consumers' mind they fall into a common basket.  ie. A protein is a protein and a collagen is a collagen. Much consumer communication is left to be desired. The question is who is best qualified to do the communication?

Chinese influence

The presence of Chinese exhibitors was striking. A glance at the map of exhibitors indicates that some 15-20% of the entire exhibit space was occupied by exhibitors fromChina. There were three sizeable Chinese pavilions and a number of Chinese companies that exhibited independently outside their national pavilion.


Of the hydrocolloids covered by IMR, the most prominent ones at HiE were, gelatin, gum arabic and xanthan, each for their own reason. Gelatin is a protein and also the source of collagen. It is also the foundation of nutritional supplement delivery ie. Gelatin capsules.

The market for vegetarian capsules, carrageenan (soft capsules) and HPMC (hard capsules), is growing, but still a relatively small part of the total capsule market.

Dennis Seisun

Gum arabic is the most widely used hydrocolloid as a soluble fibre. Fibre remains a hot topic albeit behind proteins and collagen at this event. A special grade of enzyme modified guar gum was also being promoted as a fibre source.

Xanthan gum is touted at the HiE, because it is the ubiquitous hydrocolloid in countless formulations including those in the health arena market. The fact that Chinese xanthan is at nearly giveaway prices has helped drive its ubiquitous presence as a rheology modifier in many liquid formulations.

Positive perceptions

Clean label continues to become more important. GMO free, organic and even a ‘natural’ designation, which has no official meaning. are all promoted by suppliers, some with more legitimacy than others. The main challenge for ingredient suppliers, however, is to achieve a positive consumer perception. The advent of social media and ease with which mis-information can go viral cannot be halted, but it can be mitigated. HiE is a B2B venue, but without a B2C effort, there will be no B2B.

Dennis Seisun/IMR has published The Quarterly Review of Food Hydrocolloids​ since 1984.

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