Returning for the sixth consecutive year, Free From/Functional Food Expo heads north, to Stockholm – the Nordic region's capital of free from.

Free From/Functional Food Expo is Europe's annual trade-only event for the free from and functional food market. The sector has grown exponentially over the last few years - and the outlook is more positive than ever, with an explosion of new brands, products and ingredients.

Over 275 producers and manufacturers will showcase their latest products and innovations. Both retail and food service buyers from across Europe will be visiting – over 4,000 are expected. In addition, the extensive conference schedule features 55 specialist key speakers.

Veganism has led the way over the last year. Partly thanks to health-conscious millennials and partly thanks to increased publicity campaigns such as Veganuary in the UK - and global websites such as veganevenhub. The US have seen a 500% increase in veganism since 2014 and the UK a 360% increase in the last ten years.

To meet this new demand, plant-based alternatives have exploded. Products with vegan claims have risen 32% during 2016-2017 in the US and 39% of Europeans are buying vegetarian options, a 26% increase over the last three years.

Dairy alternatives are also set to continue their upward trajectory. No longer consumed only by those who are lactose free or vegan, these alternatives are perceived as the healthier option. Walnut, cashew and hazelnut milks are new additions to the market.

Making up the majority of the free from sector, gluten free welcomes new flours and flour substitutes. Ancient grains, green banana, mushroom flour and algae are ones to watch. New for FFFE 2018, is an award sponsored by Association of European Coeliac Societies, (AOECS), in conjunction with International Coeliac Day on May 16th.

Functional food remains a fast-growing section. Vitamins, probiotics, nutritional and food supplements, protein and sports nutrition will be represented across the show floor.