The Food Matters Live calendar is one we take a particular interest in. Food, sustainability, innovation; all our boxes ticked thank you very much. So, when James was asked to speak at the ESSNA Annual General Meeting: Innovation and opportunities – the future of sports nutrition, we jumped at the chance.

It’s exciting for us to be involved in such a forward-looking movement, with huge leaps being made in cutting edge solutions for food and sustainability. If we can support any of those game changers we’ve got a chance to make a difference and change lives.

Here’s a roundup of what went down…

Pushing it with proteins

Dr Fernando Naclerio, Principal Lecturer in Strength Training and Sports Nutrition University of Greenwich

The rise of visual social media has seen entrepreneurs (Joe WicksKayla Itsines) become best-selling phenomena in the health industry. Before and after selfies focus on toning and definition and protein supplements play a major role.

Dr Fernando Naclerio talked us through his impressive 30-year experience in the industry with a fascinating journey through various forms of proteins and alternatives… and for those gym bunnies wondering:

  • First and foremost, good nutrition is absolutely essential
  • Eating protein just after training improves muscle mass
  • A post workout drink containing beef protein

Baking with beasties

Neil Whippey, Eat Grub Ltd

At 19, Neil Whippey was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. This debilitating bowel condition calls for a considered diet and, after much research, Neil discovered people all over the world eat insects as a rich source of protein. Edible insects could be life-changing for sufferers (and anyone else interested in boosting their intake of nutrients). That’s right folks. Eating insects.

80% of the world’s population already eat insects. Not only are they delicious and nutritious, they’re also incredibly good for the environment as a food source with carbon footprint drastically lower than traditional livestock.

Once Neil assembled his Eat Grub Ltd team, there was no stopping them. Releasing the first insect cook book in the UK; stocked in Planet Organic; producing a range of insect energy bars – we kinda get the feeling that Eat Grub is something of a revolution! If you fancy cooking with crickets or grilling with grasshoppers, check out the recipe section of their website for inspiration

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It’s all in the ingredients

Ronald Geerts, Van Eeghen Functional Ingredients

Veganism, yoga, mindfulness, hygge: the self-care zeitgeist is both a welcome trend and a new avenue for markets. Our consumer goals have changed and Ronald talked about meeting these through considered ingredients in the sports nutrition market.

“Health is happening”, insists Ronald. Trends for natural and organic ingredients, plant based proteins, grains and greens are going stratospheric. From the perspective of the sports nutrition market, these trends form the basis of consumer need and, in turn, the key to providing the right solutions.

Ronald tips non-protein products, the use of seed-derived proteins and complex carbs as solutions to watch. We’re still in love with spinach and kale; greens and organic provenance continue to trend, while interest in antioxidants is in decline. What remains constant is the focus on ingredients in fulfilling consumer needs in this expanding market.

Supercharge your site

James Read, Giant Peach 

A prominent web design trend for 2017 is minimal: less copy, fewer options, no fuss. But with less you can do more. Supercharging your site to convert visitors to die-hard fans is a simple case of knowing your audience and relating to them.

As intelligent beings, we like to think we’re objective, logical and conscious, but the way we interact with the world is largely intuitive and unconscious. We make emotional decisions based on who we trust. Reliability and relatability are how we forge connections with our audiences.

By incorporating relatable elements into your site, you’ll boost its ability to reach out and convert visitors to clients:

  • Moving pictures: Voices, body language and movement fascinate us. Within the next 20 years 80% of online interaction will be video. In fact, video on product pages has been shown to increase sales by 30%.
  • Pack mentality: ‘Social proof’ is key to being trusted. Regularly updated testimonials show potential clients safety in numbers. The same goes for certifications and strong social media presence.
  • The need for speed: Reliability means being able to click on a site and it be there when you need it. No waiting around for a wheel of doom, no graphics that take ages to load.
  • Wherever you want: Responsive sites aren’t a new phenomena, but it can often go unchecked. Double and triple check that the beauty of your online presence is replicated on mobile.

The meeting didn’t disappoint; we certainly learned a thing or two! Keep your eye on Food Matters Live for more collaboration, innovation and sustainability in the world of food.