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Vitafoods: the merger of two of Wallonia’s strengths – biotech and food

The Vitafoods Europe trade fair will take place between 10 and 12 May 2022 in Geneva. This is one of the most important events in the world dedicated to every aspect of the nutraceutical industry, from raw materials and ingredients to finished products, as well as private labels, big names and famous brands and equipment and machinery. This flagship sector brings together the best of two industries in which Wallonia's reputation is second to none: biotechnology and agri-food. Several stakeholders in Wallonia stand out thanks to their innovations and major discoveries that combine health and nutrition.  Twenty of these will be present in Switzerland, in Halls 2, 4, 5 and 6 of Palexpo. The Wallonia Export & Investment Agency (AWEX) collective, which brings together 14 companies, will be found at stand K 154.

The food supplement sector is affirming its development in Wallonia. As the name suggests, these capsules, vials, spoonfuls of powder and small liquid drops are an addition to food, rather than a replacement for it. These beneficial foods are primarily vitamins, but not exclusively, since many plant-based products, in particular, also help with digestion, sleep or easing other forms of discomfort.

Wallonia is home to an innovative, end-to-end ecosystem: from design, the supply of ingredients and manufacturing to marketing, every link in the chain is accounted for. The Wagralim competitiveness hub plays an active role in this dynamic by hosting various events and missions abroad, in collaboration with AWEX, in order to increase the visibility of this sector in Wallonia and to foster its international development.

In accordance with the adage ‘strength in numbers’, Wagralim has also established the B.H.I.G (Belgian Health Ingredients Group), which brings together eight Walloon companies who are at the forefront of this sector. They have partnered to provide a comprehensive service, in order to meet the healthcare challenge through nutrition. A veritable one-stop shop for finding all the Walloon suppliers of solutions when it comes to ‘healthy’ food ingredients.

In recent years, the Walloon ecosystem has been enriched by the emergence of promising and innovative new companies (Botalys and its production of Ginseng, for example), alongside well-known and well-established companies  (such as Bio-LifeTilman or Laboratoires Ortis, who have been pioneers in phytotherapy – or herbal medicine – since the late 1950s).

Wallonia also stands out thanks to its scientific research in this field. Nutrition has been the subject of much study in the region and there are cutting-edge institutions in this field there, such as the CICN (Centre for Clinical Investigation of Nutrition).

Patrice Cani, a researcher for the  Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research and Director of the Metabolism and Nutrition Research Unit at UCL, made a name for himself internationally a few years ago thanks to his discoveries about Akkermansia muciniphila bacteria. This intestinal specialist noted that this micro-organism could have beneficial effects for the immunity of those suffering from diabetes, obesity or cardiovascular disease.

Due to the ageing population, the food supplement sector is also heavily influential for the silver economy, namely those economic markets, activities and issues related to people over the age of sixty.

Since 2008, AWEX has been proposing a collective for Walloon companies at the Vitafoods trade fair and, over the years, the Walloon presence there has grown. For the 2022 edition, Wallonia will be represented by 20 companies (including 14 from the AWEX collective) among the 1,200 exhibitors and 120 countries that will be present. Vitafoods Europe offers an ideal platform for generating new opportunities and forging new relationships and attracts 25,000 industry experts every year, who are on the lookout for ingredients, raw materials, services and food supplements.

Contact our specialists:  Agri-food (


Mark your calendars

Other upcoming AWEX events this year in the nutraceutical ingredients sector:

Food Ingredients Vietnam (12–14/10/2022)

Food Ingredients Europe Paris (6–8/12/2022)

WAGRALIM is proposing a collective at the CPHI trade fair in Frankfurt (1–3/11/2022) and will also be present at Nutrevent in Nantes (4 and 5/10/2022)



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