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Founded in 1886 by a German chemist, today Dr. Paul Lohmann GmbH KG is a mid-sized company offering more than 400 different mineral salts derived, in a total of 7000 different specifications, to clients all over the world. It aims to be a one-stop-shop for its food industry customers' mineral needs ‒ whether they want to improve technical performance with additives or to boost nutrition through fortification.
For the last 15 years, Fi Europe and Hi Europe have been central fixtures in the family-run firm's marketing calendar. Klaus Brockhausen, Sales Director Business Unit Food / Animal Nutrition, shares his insights on mineral trends in food and dietary supplements and gives a preview of plans for this year's trade show in Paris.
What are the major trends you see in the food and nutrition industry?
“We focus on trends in application areas. One major area of interest at the moment is sports nutrition, which is broadening out to new product applications and entering the mainstream. There are even some teas on the market now that are marketed as sports nutrition products.”
“Another is senior nutrition. This is a tricky application area that it is hard to communicate about because no-one really wants to be considered 'senior'. But there is a lot more to senior nutrition than catering to people in nursing homes and hospitals. Some older people who live at home have specific nutritional requirements, others need food in smaller portions that still delivers the nutrients they need, and with no side effects.”
What can visitors to the Dr. Paul Lohmann stand at Fi Europe expect?
“We will have a 32m2 stand within which we aim to create a haptic experience, allowing visitors to see, touch and taste application samples containing minerals, as well as hear the product managers' explanations. The opportunity for personal contact is one of the main reasons why Fi Europe is an important trade show. You cannot do everything online.”
“This year we will showcase three mineral concepts, discussing the ingredients, the minerals' health claims, and the application areas.”
“The first concept is the use of magnesium compounds in different sports nutrition products to reduce muscle cramps. The company's magnesium line includes citrates, lactates, acetates and carbonates, each of which has a different character, solubility, and taste profile. The best option will depend on the application. For example, if a customer wants to include magnesium in a sports drink, their requirements will be different to someone wanting to use it in a sports bar or a chocolate cookie.”
“The second is Calcium Carbonate D.C. (directly compressible), a new grade for use in chewy tablets with gum arabic as a carrier. More common carriers for calcium carbonate are corn starch and maltodextrine, but neither of these allow for compression and it is impossible to get the right mouthfeel for chews.”
“The third is gums as a delivery form for mineral dietary supplements. Many people think of gums as a suitable format for children but they are also appreciated by adults and seniors, especially those who have difficulty swallowing tablets and capsules.”
“For each of these concepts, visitors will be able to try professionally-produced samples, part of a small run of prototypes made by a support partner.”
Who will be at Fi Europe?
“There will be ten staff on the Dr Paul Lohmann stand this year, mostly members of the sales team (all of whom have a technical background), from the company HQ in Germany and the offices in France and The Netherlands. Distributors from other European countries, such as Italy and the UK, will also be present.“
“The focus is on the European market. Trade shows in other geographical markets, such as the US and Asia, are handled by colleagues from regional offices.”
What constitutes a successful trade show?
“We have two aims for Fi Europe. Firstly, we want to say hello to our longstanding customers and introduce them to new ideas and products, and secondly, we want to introduce our products to people who do not know us yet. As a medium-sized company with a long history in food and nutrition, we are always surprised to find people who don't know us.”
“Success is coming away from the show with a certain number of new contacts ‒ whether new customers or new people who are working for existing customers. Previous shows have been a good opportunity to update our contacts.”