Panel discussion on...

Healthy lifestyle

Welcome in the world of alternative meat: analytical challenges and perspectives


Cristiana Piangiolino

Managing Director

SynBalance srl

Below the surface:
Sustainable marine ingredients

Innovation and motivation in nutritional supplements

The growing health-related economic and social challenges of our rapidly aging population are well recognized and affect individuals, their families, health systems and economies. Considering economics alone, delaying aging by 2.2 years (with associated extension of health span) could save $7 trillion over fifty years (1). This broad approach was identified to be a much better investment than disease-specific spending. Thus, if interventions can be applied that extend health span even modestly, benefits for public health and healthcare economics will be substantial. Social networks, particularly during and after the pandemic, have facilitated health literacy, over-exposing individuals with health information on diet, sleep, exercise, and relaxation from numerous self-proclaimed experts (2) thus making consumers more conscious and proactive about the personal role in the health paradigm.

Megatrend drivers

Wellbeing remains a top priority amid the crowded marketplace and health industry research for innovation. Companies are adopting multidisciplinary strategies to elevate their value proposition, emphasizing personalization and consumer data utilization, especially in nutritional supplements, beauty, sportswear, and tourism.

Along the healthy life-style approach, sustainability represents a global thread but, at the same time, the major challenge when looking at the different factors that come into play such as the environment, the importance of an effective nutrition and the socio-economical features.

Heal the planet

Earth's resources are finite. The food industry generates nearly one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating climate change and threatening future food production, particularly with the impending 10 billion global population by 2050. This is compounded by deforestation, desertification, biodiversity loss, freshwater depletion, contamination, and food waste. From these evidences comes the need to shift toward plant-based or alternative sources of proteins and implement more sustainable technologies to enhance agricultural efficiency, reduce food waste and make healthy foods more accessible and affordable for a growing population. Among them:

  • Precision fermentation, already used in both pharmaceutical and dairy industries since the beginning of the XX century, enables to produce specific and alternative proteins or other compounds by using microorganisms.
  • Enzymatic technology uses enzymes as catalysts to optimize and improve technological processes, enhance product quality, extend shelf life, recycle wastes and unlock new functionalities through biotechnology.
  • Cultivated meat in vitro, projected to become as competitive as beef in few years, its microbiological process could dramatically reduce land use current required traditional production and related pollution.

However, big challenges for this progress depend on consumer acceptance and regulatory compliance, thus requiring cross collaboration and reliable positions of all the stakeholders involved.

The power of nutrition

Today, 2 billion people are overweight or obese, driving a surge in diet-related diseases like cardiovascular issues and type 2 diabetes, straining health systems and diminishing quality of life. Wars and COVID-19 contribute to inflation and hinder access to healthy, sustainable food, exacerbating malnutrition in undernourished countries, affecting nearly 735 million people (3). The global population is set to reach almost 10 billion people by 2050 and the urgent goal remains a balanced compromise between healthy food with lower environmental impact and an affordable cost. Today the variety of food source for human use is extremely low, being derived from few plants and animal species.

Nutrient-rich natural foods like whole grains, eggs, dairy, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes are key to preventing diseases. With the aim of decreasing the risk of non-communicable diseases, malnutrition and obesity, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recalls industries and governments to reduce the intake of salt, saturated fats, sugars, and calories, prompting stricter labelling laws for transparent consumer communication.

The socio-economic challenge

The COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing conflicts worldwide have amplified a global cost-of-living and inflation crisis due to supply-chain disruptions, affecting individuals and societies. While the impacts of climate change are felt globally, developed countries have resources to mitigate risks, unlike the world's poorest nations, where limited finances exacerbate losses from climate disasters. Importing food from western economies is not a sustainable solution for developing countries (4). Instead, empowering local primary sectors and investing in alternative technologies are vital to serve domestic markets and promote a sustainable, affordable food system worldwide.

Trends segmentation: less local, more global

Unlike previous years, where pandemic consequences on globalization exacerbated geographical market trend polarization in North America, Europe, and APAC, recent observations show a shift towards global harmonization in consumer needs and directions.

  • Mental health: The World Health Organization's 2022 report (5) revealed a striking 25% rise in global anxiety and depression rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This heightened awareness of the link between daily habits and cognitive health has encouraged consumers to confront depression stigma and embrace proactive holistic approaches, ranging from food supplements to mindfulness practices (6). Stress and sleep quality are closely linked, and managing them effectively enhances resilience.
  • Microbiome revolution: The human gut microbiome has emerged as the crucial moderator in the interactions between food and our body. Today we know it can also influence our immune system, metabolism and even moods and behaviours, going beyond the digestive health. Considered as a second brain, it is a sort of director among the different microbiotas inhabiting other body districts such as oral cavity, skin, vagina, lungs etc and it is unique to each of us. The gut microbiota can be affected by lifestyle, diet, genetic make-up, lack of exercise, and medications that we consume, thus personalization with probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, postbiotics, psychobiotics, etc. is the key point. Innovative applications have created a huge market ranging from functional foods to dietary supplements (e.g. biotics, next generation bacteria) and therapeutic applications and services (e.g., gut microbiome transplantation, LBP, microbiome-testing kits, etc…).
  • Hack my Health: With increasing interest in how products interact with genes, phenotypes, and lifestyles, personalized nutrition is essential due to individual uniqueness. Health needs vary by person and can change over time, necessitating tailored support. Affordable test kits offer insights into metabolism and microbiome, while integrating personal data with digital trackers guides dietary choices for desired health benefits. The rapidly growing science of targeted nutrition meets consumer demand for scientific rationale and technological progress, promising a more effective approach to health.
  • Women’s health: it refers to the unique physiological and nutritional needs of females throughout the various stages of the life course (adolescence, reproductive age, pregnancy, lactation, perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause). Such a popular trend, supported from both the industry and the scientific community, originates from women attitude: used to take care of the family and kids, to monitor diet and menstrual cycle, to search for lifestyle and beauty tips, female consumers are more conscious and sensitive to the personal responsibility on quality of life. This makes women a perfect target for precision nutrition, highlighting the need of clinically proven supplements to support hormonal and metabolic balance in the female reproductive cycle. From microbiome targeting solution like probiotics to herbal extracts, there are many supplements addressing pregnancy, infertility, urogenital infections, menopause, pre-menstrual syndrome, breastfeeding, as well as universal concerns like stress, cardio-metabolic health, immunity, digestion and sleep quality, dedicated to women.
  • Healthy ageing: As lifespan extends, maintaining quality of life is crucial. A rising trend emphasizes rebounding from stressors like illnesses (cold and flu), muscle damage, and exercise-induced inflammation. Immune health is not just about infection frequency but also recovery time from sickness. Thus, food supplements providing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients represent a self-care strategy as can significantly reduce systemic inflammation, aid muscle recovery and prevent from joint injury. According to WHO estimates, the number of people older than 60 years in 2050 will be 2.1 billion, 1.7 billion of whom will be living in low-income countries. For this reason, the period 2021–2030 has been declared the Decade of Healthy Ageing, with the purpose of promoting a healthier life style to prevent diseases, face ageing with a more responsible attitude and reduce the public health pressure (7).

Figure 1. Overlaid Representative Chromatograms for PBM (black) and Organic Beef (pink) (6).


Barry Skillington

Chief Commercial Officer - Atlantia
Clinical Trials

Adriana Olivares

Corporate Communications
Director - Bioiberica

Amanda Jepson

Vice President, Business Development - Biova

Andrea Zangara

Head of Scientific Communications and Medical Affairs - Euromed

Magda Starula

Consultant, Health & Beauty - Euromonitor International

Mike Hughes

Head of Research and Insight - FMCG Gurus

Oliver Wolf

Marketing EMEIA - GELITA

Bertrand Rodriguez

Business Development and CSR Director - Gnosis by Lesaffre

Filipa Quintela

Global Marketing Manager, Human Nutrition and Health - Kemin

Celia Martin 

Regulatory Director & Health Ingredients Innovation Manager - Lallemand Bio-Ingredients

Amanda Mackinnon

Marketing & Communications Manager - Marinova Pty Ltd

Cindy Dekeyser

Global Business Intelligence Manager - PB Leiner

Yingying Wu

Global Product Manager Health & Nutrition - PB Leiner

Reyhan Nergiz Unal

Health & Nutrition Science Lead - PB Leiner

Carlos Rodríguez

Communication Manager - Pharmactive Biotech Products, SLU

Federica Carrozzo

Product Manager Nutraceutical - Roelmi HPC

Catarina Ferreira da Silva

Science Integration Manager - Rousselot

Elaine E. Vaughan

Health Science and Regulatory Affairs Leader - Sensus (Royal Cosun)

Veerle Dam

Health Science and Regulatory Affairs Specialist - Sensus (Royal Cosun)

Alice Barbier

Active Ingredients Product Manager - Seppic

Cristiana Piangiolino

Managing Director - SynBalance srl

Suzan Wopereis

Principal Scientist “systems health” - TNO