GELITA food symposium 2015

Challenge traditional textbook knowledge … or what I didn't learn at school

GELITA, the world’s leading manufacturer of gelatin and collagen peptides, reflects on a successful customer event in Heidelberg, Germany (10–11 June). At the symposium, internationally renowned experts presented insights from the field of neuroscience, food biotechnology, market and consumer research and regulatory affairs.

Together with an enthusiastic and dedicated audience, more than 60 delegates and speakers took the opportunity to discuss exciting new pathways to product innovation by learning from other industries and bridging the gap between them.

'For more than 135 years, science-based innovation has been the driving force of our success, and for the success of our customers. This approach has been highlighted and reinforced at this year’s symposium,' said Dr Franz Josef Konert, CEO of GELITA AG. 'The quality and content of the speeches both met and exceeded our high expectations. In addition, the event provided an environment for networking, talking and making good business contacts in a professional and, at the same time, relaxed atmosphere.'

Day one

The symposium commenced with Dr Juergen Eck, CTO and Co-Founder of BRAIN (Bio-Technology Research and Information Network AG) who discussed the basic drivers and barriers of innovation. Further, he shared the latest developments in the exciting field of modern molecular bionics and how food product developers can make use of these findings.

Dr Margarethe Plotkowiak, a food specialist at GELITA, explained the multifaceted properties of gelatin in various product categories: from food and pharmaceuticals, from technical applications to even medical uses. Her introduction to the versatile world of gelatin was followed by the first of two interactive sessions in which delegates had the opportunity to see, taste and feel the varying properties of different hydrocolloids used in foodstuffs.

'Where Food and Pharmaceuticals Collide' was the title of the presentation made by Melanie Felgate from Datamonitor. Not only did she shine some light on the discussion about defining the pharma–food category, she also discussed the promising growth potential for this market, described key target groups and some innovative product examples.

Christiane Friedmann, Founder, Zukunftsinstitut Workshop GmbH, a company that specialises in applying trends and future research in innovation projects, brought the first day to a close. In a fun presentation, she outlined the potential of free-spirited and unconventional approaches to finding new ideas, as well as successful examples of cross-innovation in various industries.

Day two

Defining the product status of new healthcare products according to regulatory requirements was the central topic in the introductory presentation on the second day of the symposium. Following a profound analysis from Dr Annemarie Dengler, Director of Business Development at RED OTC Development GmbH, Dr Stephan Hausmanns, Head of the Health and Nutrition Business Unit at GELITA discussed how formerly disconnected areas offer the potential to create new business opportunities. He also explained how collagen peptides can bridge the gap between product categories such as food and cosmetics or food and pharma.

The second interactive session involved exploring new ideas and getting inspired by innovative product samples. Exclusively for the symposium, the technical experts at GELITA developed an array of different product ideas, all of which showcased the creative potential of gelatin in foods and beverages. Among these were sliceable pizza toppings, sugar-free candy floss and great tasting instant beauty smoothies, to name a few.

Being passionate about designing better tasting, more stimulating, memorable and healthier food and drink experiences, Prof. Charles Spence focuses his research on the interface between modern cuisine and commercial food and beverage design. The internationally known food scientist and Oxford professor clearly illustrated how scientific knowledge can influence our perception and change the way we eat. He took the audience on a fascinating journey through the art and science of multisensory flavour perception to conclude the symposium.