Free From Functional & Health Ingredients Celebrates A Triumphant Return To Barcelona

By Dayeeta Das
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  • Free From Functional & Health Ingredients (FFF&HI) broke records when it welcomed more than 7,800 key buyers and decision-makers from the free-from food, drink, and sustainable packaging industries in Barcelona from 28 to 29 May.

    Now in its seventh year, this staggering 52% increase in visitor numbers reflects the dynamic growth and development of the global free-from market and cements the show as Europe’s leading platform for the free-from industries.

    Visitors took advantage of the unique platform that the show provides, informing and inspiring decision-makers from the world of retail, ingredients, wholesale, distribution, and foodservice with a packed schedule of conference sessions, pioneering brands and products, plus multiple networking opportunities.

    Leading The Field

    During the event, five core areas, comprising free-from, vegan, natural and organic, functional and health ingredients, were represented across four conference stages, with insights from key speakers.

    Highlights from the packed conference schedule include data about key areas, such as an 11.5% increase in sales of free-from foods across Europe in the past year, and a 133% growth of the free-from market in the UK since FFF&HI began, in 2013.


    Show partners ProVeg International hosted a dedicated vegan area and a series of seminars at the vegan conference stage.

    The International Head of Food Industry and Retail at ProVeg International, Verena Wiederkehr, revealed some of the most prominent trends driving the sector, such as sensory experiences, clean-label products, and raw materials.

    Wiederkehr also explained the opportunities for businesses that intend to tap into this buoyant sector.

    Pioneering Exhibitors

    FFF&HI served as the platform for new brands and product launches by those shaping the organic, vegan, functional foods and ingredients markets.


    On the first day, FFF&HI unveiled the winners of its Product of the Year Awards – an event that recognises cutting-edge free-from food and drink products launched in the past year.

    Manufacturers and producers nominated their best innovations for the winner and runner-up titles across three categories: Product of the Year, Best New Brand, and Free-From Plastics.

    Product Of The Year Award

    • Winner: Qwrkee Foods – Pea M’LK
    • Runner-up: Ambrosiae
    • Runner-up: Pizza Mi – Gluten-Free Pizza Bases

    Best New Brand

    • Winner: I am Bart’s – Vegan Nutrition Bites
    • Runner-up: Juustoportti – Organic and Gluten-Free Oat Drinks made from Finnish Premium Oats

    Free-From Plastics Packaging

    • Winner: EncajaBio – Packaging system and cellulose film that sustainably reduces the carbon footprint

    Lifetime Achievement Award

    The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Molino Nicoli, European leaders in gluten-free cereal-based production, who have exhibited at FFF&HI since the first show, in 2013.

    I am Bart’s launched a range of organic snack bars made with vegetables, fruit and seeds, without preservatives and added sugars.


    Commenting on winning the Best New Brand award, founder Bart Veldkamp said, “We are delighted to have won an award, especially as it’s our first time exhibiting at a trade show. We’ve been impressed with this dynamic show and the [...] quality of the visitors.”

    “The team has worked very hard, and we are very proud of this win. It’s great to be recognised, as we’re in the company of such interesting brands showcasing fantastic products. I’m very proud to be surrounded by such great innovators,” Veldkamp explained.

    A ‘Fantastic Return’

    FFF&HI exhibition director Ronald Holman commented, “It was fantastic to return to Barcelona, and we are absolutely delighted with the number of visitors that came to discover what’s happening at the forefront of the free-from industry. It’s great to see returning exhibitors and new ones coming to showcase such a diverse range of products and the industry-leading experts who drive the market forward.”

    “We’ve received a fantastic response from show visitors and exhibitors alike. We’re looking forward to hearing about the outcomes for our exhibitors this year and seeing what the show will bring in 2020,” he added.


    FFF&HI will return for its eighth edition in Amsterdam from 23 to 24 June 2020.

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