The end of the year is the ideal time to reflect, and as such, each member of the NutraIngredients editorial team has picked their favourite articles of the year.
Olivia Haslam, Reporter, selected:
Some stories feel important to retell, and as the year draws to a close, I’m reminded of a significant conversation I had with Peter Wennström from the Healthy Marketing Team in November - International Men's Mental Health Awareness Month.
Our conversation highlighted some key challenges in overcoming the damaging stigma associated with men discussing their emotions, and the intersection of men's mental health, cognitive function, and marketing strategies for supplements, all with the purpose of “marketing for good”.
As societal mindsets continue to shift, hopefully, that brings with it a more enlightened and compassionate approach to men's mental health—a narrative essential in its retelling as we stand on the threshold of a new year.
As a new member of the NutraIngredients team, engaging in a conversation with Caroline Sims, the force behind the plant-based startup Botanycl, proved to be an enlightening experience at the onset of the year.
Her story is one of grit and gumption, and most importantly, taking matters into her own hands. Hormonal acne was greatly impacting her life, so through research and determination, she launched her supplement brand to help other women in her position, eventually being granted a £60,000 investment on the BBC television show Dragon’s Den.
The podcast that ensued from our dialogue serves as a poignant testament, at least to me, of the resolute spirit and fortitude embodied by a new mother and entrepreneur who, confronted with the exigencies of her circumstances, took action.
Olivia Brown, Reporter, selected:
Throughout this year there has been a huge amount of interest in women’s health and hormones, and the impact that nutrition can have on the array of symptoms associated with menstrual cycles,
menopause, and hormonal conditions such as PCOS. I am particularly interested in this area, so it’s been fascinating to see the science finally receiving the attention it deserves.
Many brands have been quick to innovate within the category and products for menopause have been particularly popular, with an array of supplements claiming to alleviate adverse symptoms. I wanted to investigate the ingredients being used and their science-backing for this article, and it was fascinating to learn about the state of the science. I also approached Dr Sarah Berry, chief scientist at ZOE, who gave some great insights into the opportunities for the category, yet warned companies of the dangers of ‘menowashing’.
Another category receiving a lot of attention this year has been cognitive health, with a particular interest in drinks promoting relaxation over heightened energy. I really enjoyed speaking with the director of Mintel, Johnny Forsyth, about the key challenges for the category and what needs to be done to overcome these to achieve success.
“What they need is a hero brand, like Red Bull, and hero ingredient, like caffeine, to realise a dormant opportunity,” Forsyth said. I'm excited to see that hero brand and ingredient in 2024!
Nikki Hancocks, Editor, selected:
My biggest highlight of this year has to be the Active Nutrition Summit, which took place in Amsterdam in October, and provided a plethora of content.
This was a newly rebranded event so production of the agenda required huge amounts of time and effort to ensure the content hit the right
note with our audience. The months of hard work felt well worth it when we received hugely positive feedback.
We opened the event with women’s health research experts Drs Nicky Keay and Sharon Madigan who painted a clear picture of the current knowledge and unanswered questions related to women’s nutrition needs.
And Mariette Abrahams’ talk on the state of the personalised nutrition market was a thought-provoking and data insight-dense presentation providing an inspiring, if a little daunting, vision of the future.
I am highly interested in the impact of medicalised deliveries on the infant microbiome and so it was a pleasure to speak to Jan Knol, Professor at Wageningen University, about his research in this space.
He made clear how fragile the infant gut microbiome is and how essential it is that we nurture this as best we can in the first hours and days of life. It is extremely disheartening to know how increasingly common it is to medicalise deliveries and instigate antibiotic use within these crucial days.
CBD regulation has provided a rollercoaster of news this year, and I’ve enjoyed speaking to experts across the market to hear their individual takes on updates.
One particularly shocking shift was the FSA’s reduced recommended daily intake for CBD, from 70 to 10 mg per day. This led to a range of responses from industry players and pundits, with some predicting this wouldn’t impact their sales and others suggesting it was the beginning of the end for the industry in the UK.