According to the Spanish Cardiology Society [Sociedad Española de Cardiología], four out of every five adult males and one out of every two females will be overweight or obese in 2030. One response to present food trends that make excessive use of pre-cooked meals and processed food is the consolidation of new models that are based on healthier alternatives.

A study of the growing “veggie” segment, which already accounts for 8% of the population of Spain, The Green Revolution, reveals that there are three main reasons for turning away from the consumption of animal products: sustainability, health and respect for animals.

The Green Revolution

The false myths

First of all, it would be wrong to assume that a diet free of animal-based products is a healthy one, A diet that includes meat and fish can be far healthier than one which includes frequent consumption of cakes, refined pasta and sauces.

There is currently a broad consensus around the recommendation to adapt the DASH diet cas the best way to prevent cardiovascular disease. It is very similar to the Mediterranean diet in its emphasis on the consumption of wholegrain cereals, fruit and vegetables, and the reduction of red meat and processed, cured meats. It also recommends moderate daily exercise and limiting the intake of sugary soft drinks and alcohol to only occasional consumption.

The conclusion is that greater consumption of fruit and vegetables, a healthier lifestyle and regular exercise are far more important than the consumption of animal products when it comes to judging lifestyles.

New food trends

The consumption of certain foods does not always represent the preferences of the consumer, as in the case of diets, but are often the result of increasingly common circumstances such as food intolerances, which affect a quarter of the population, or allergies.

This has led the food industry to adapt to these new demands with products that are “free from”. Whether it is lactose, gluten or fructose, the market today has plenty of alternatives for people who have to to exclude some of these ingredients from their diet.

Besides these dietary requirements, there are other currents that are growing strongly in the marketplace, such as the rise of organic food, realfooding and the consumption of locally-sourced products. In general, consumers are more and more aware of the requirements of their own bodies and are more commited to the environment and animal welfare.

The Free From Functional Food fair

Free From Functional Food Expo is the only trade fair in Europe devoted exclusively to functional food products without allergens, and this is the third time it has chosen the Gran Via site for its latest event, the seventh in total.

This edition of the fair, which is being held on 28 and 29 May, brings together more than 350 exhibitors to display the latest trends in the following areas:

  • Free from: products without allergen ingredients such as lactose or gluten
  • Organic: products made in the most natural way (with no added preservatives)
  • Vegan: options without meat or any animal derivatives
  • Functional: vitamins and nutritional complements
  • Ingredients: new food ingredients

Besides the commercial area, which includes exhibitors from countries like Finland, Korea, Canada, Ecuador and Poland for the first time, the fair has strengthened its programme of conferences, presentations, seminars, talks and networking meetings. Over 4,500 visitors are expected to attend.

HELENA DE TORRES