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‘Innovation through formulation’. The new tagline of specialty chemicals and food ingredients distributor Azelis reflects the serious resources the company has invested in its network of application laboratories in recent years.
In 2012 Azelis had 12 application laboratories. Today the company has more than 60 labs around the world, 17 of which are devoted to food applications.
Andrey Zhukov, Market Segment Director Food & Health at Azelis, explains the fundamental role of innovation to the business, and gives a preview of how Azelis will be demonstrating its innovation capacity at Fi Europe.
Why is innovation so important for Azelis?
"Azelis is on an exciting journey, from being a leading distributor of specialty chemicals and food ingredients to becoming a global, fully integrated and innovative service provider.
"In the past years we have added new application laboratories in all regions, allowing us to serve local market needs and help customers to shorten their time to market. The labs are staffed by a talented pool of experienced lab professionals.
"The services our labs offer include custom formulations, product testing, regulatory compliance and sales support. We also regularly bring our customers together in our laboratories for market-focused seminars, and they are invited to have on-site visits.
"We recently created the function of Technical Innovation Director, which will be taken on by Ron Rosenberg. Ron supervises and provides leadership to Azelis' lab organization across the entire group, to coordinate knowledge transfer and ensure sharing of best practices."
What are the food trends that the application labs are addressing this year?
" A big trend in the food industry is the rise of vegan and vegetarian alternatives to traditional food choices. We have also witnessed several other trends in the past months (and years), such as ethnicity, and ‘on-the-go’ habits of consumers"But we believe that the main trends this year will be about healthy food, and more specifically the ‘free from/low in’ trend ‒ that is, food that is free from or low in sugar, fat, lactose, gluten and so on."
How have these trends influenced Azelis' plans for Fi Europe?
"The Azelis stand will be a celebration of healthy food and healthy lifestyles.
"The staff in our 17 food laboratories are continually trying out new things, and Fi Europe is a chance to show off their passion. This year, we will be featuring a number of formulations for healthy-yet-indulgent foods, prepared with products that have a low salt, fat and/or sugar content, or with vegan alternatives.
"We also want to show our visitors that indulgence and a healthy lifestyle do not exclude one another. On the contrary! We will be showing products such as a vegan burger with a low salt bun, a clean-label vegan crème dessert, and an indulgent cream liqueur with reduced fat.
"We will be showing healthy options for every meal of the day, and have even created a healthy post-work-out snack."
How can people tell whether seemingly indulgent products are really healthy?
"Visitors to the Azelis stand will be able to learn about the Nutri-Score label.
"The Nutri-Score system has been introduced by the French government's public health agency to the European Commission, which is looking into launching it all over Europe. It works with a colour scale in combination with a letter code to show which products within a certain group are healthier than others. The colour and the letter are determined by an algorithm developed by the French Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team."
Our lab teams have calculated the Nutri-Score of all the formulations that we will have on display, and we will be able to advise visitors on how to achieve a better Nutri-Score for their products."
Why is Fi Europe an important industry event?
"Trade shows provide a valuable opportunity to hold meetings with our customers and suppliers, to find out more about trends on the market, and to exchange experiences with our business partners.
"Fi Europe is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our abilities and to surprise visitors with unexpected formulations, tastes and textures. It is also a rich source of inspiration for future lab work and formulations.
"Long days and a mass of information are integral to Fi Europe. They are what gives it such a buzz, and what makes it unmissable."
Azelis will be exhibiting in Hall 6, Stand 6G161.