Anuga 2015: A Taste of the Future

Lessons from award-winning new products at world's largest show.

opener asiantastingToday’s foodies looking for their next photo opportunity should find many of the innovations that debuted at Anuga this past October “camera worthy.” Held biennially in Cologne, Germany, Anuga claims to be the world’s largest food exhibition. The trade fair focuses on new products, innovative trends and future-oriented concepts.

With more than 7,000 exhibitors from 108 countries and 160,000 trade visitors from 192 countries, the 2015 installment broke records in both exhibitor and attendance numbers. The Anuga exhibitors are separated into more than a dozen halls designated by one of 10 different segments: Bread & Bakery and Hot Beverages; Chilled & Fresh Foods; Dairy; Drinks; Fine Food; Foodservice; Frozen Food; Meat; Organic; and RetailTec.

Within each of these segments, more than 830 companies, for a record number of more than 2,000 submissions, entered the Taste15 competition, which recognizes the best new products to debut at the exhibition. This competition functions as a trend barometer for the buyers and as a source of inspiration for the global food business.

From vegan gelato to spinach coconut milk, 61 products and concepts received Taste15 accolades, as they convinced the jury in terms of idea, innovative power and creative implementation. The winners were showcased in a special exhibit on the trade fair boulevard.

One of the strongest trends is the theme convenience. More and more single or small households are purchasing ready-made meals, preferably in smaller portions. A large selection of dishes and snacks for the microwave or the toaster were among the Taste15 entries. Convenience, however, doesn’t stop consumers from paying attention to quality, sustainable production and “free-from” product positioning.

For many people, “free from” means void of artificial ingredients, while for others it means void of allergens or ingredients associated with intolerances. Vegetarian and vegan lifestyles demand their own “free-from” formulations.

The following is a brief overview of many of the Taste15 winners.

In the meals category, Germany’s Meica Ammerlandische was a winner with Curry King Real Veggie, which combines barbecued vegetarian bratwurst with original Meica-brand curry sauce. Simply microwave and enjoy. The package includes a wooden fork for on-the-go convenience.

Vepura GmbH of Germany was recognized for its Sabz Miloni Hariyali. This heat-and-eat meal combines a medley of vegetables with a spicy spinach and cashew sauce and yellow basmati rice. The spinach functions as the base for the authentic Indian green curry.

Heinz Funken, a German manufacturer of fresh convenience foods such as single-serve salads, fruit-yogurt parfaits, pre-made sandwiches and salad bar offerings, introduced its first vegan dessert. Creamy like pudding, this winner is a blend of pumpkin and quinoa.

Japan’s NH Foods Ltd., is making its line of frozen kids meals called “Add One Vegetable” available for international distribution. This Taste15 winner comes in six recipes, five containing pre-cooked chicken, vegetables and sauces. They are: Bang White Meat, Cashew Stir Fry, Chili Chicken, Green Pepper Stick and Sweet and Sour Chicken. To prepare the heat-and-eat frozen meal, the cook simply adds a fresh vegetable, which can be cucumber, green pepper or onion, depending on recipe. The sixth offering — Ma Po Tofu -- is vegetarian. Preparation calls for the addition of fresh tofu cubes.

Germany’s Tillman’s Convenience GmbH is known for its extensive range of frozen convenience foods, many in the form of hand-held, grab-and-go items. The company’s most recent innovation is Ping, a microwavable snack sandwich on a pita-style flat bread. The five varieties are: BBQ (hamburger and barbecue sauce), Caprese Veggie (tomato, cream cheese and mozzarella), Currywurst (bratwurst with curry sauce), Hot Dog (wiener with hot dog sauce and fried onions) and Puszta, or Hungarian (cream cheese, salami and paprika).

Bake Your Own allows consumers to create their own natural, artisanal sour dough bread at home. From Bakery Service Holland BV, The Netherlands, the consumer simply defrosts the dough, slices and forms it into the desired shape and then decorates it with their choice of toppings before baking for less than 20 minutes.

Italy’s Pedon SpA, introduced Bioritmi, a line of organic grain and vegetable salads. These fully cooked side dishes are ready in just four minutes in the microwave. There are currently two varieties: Farro and Red Quinoa with Broccoli and Five Grains with Green Peas, Red Beans, Grilled Peppers and Mais.

Ireland’s 2 Sisters Food Group received two Taste15 awards. One was for Green Isle Bakehouse Pulled Pork Pies. These hand-held stuffed sandwiches are puff pastry filled with tender pork in barbecue sauce.

On the sweeter side, there’s San Marco Sweet Pizza in two varieties. Apple Crumble starts with a sweet stone-oven pizza dough that gets topped with apple pieces, applesauce and streusel crumbles. Chocolate Brownie uses the same dough but this time it gets topped with chocolate sauce and sprinkled with chocolate brownie chunks and milk and white chocolate shavings.

Righi Sri of Italy received an award for its Gelato Di Verdura, which translates to Vegetable-Based Ice Cream. This vegan frozen dessert comes in two-packs of 50g single-serve containers. Varieties are: Carrot and Lemon Sauce, Pumpkin and Balsamic Vinegar Sauce and Tomato and Strawberry Sauce.

The drink sector had its fair share of winners. Austria’s Toni’s Handels GmbH, a producer of free-range eggs, received Taste15 accolades for its new Toni’s Smoothei fruit and whole egg drinks. Toni’s Smoothei contains 12 vitamins and minerals, along with pure protein from free-range eggs. The refrigerated single-serve bottles come in three varieties: Peach Passionfruit, Raspberry Reisling and Strawberry Ginger.

Froosh is a line of 100 percent fruit--and now fruit and vegetable—juices produced by the Swedish namesake company. The company received an award for its new spinach and coconut milk drink. Other new offerings include a starfruit with yuzu and beetroot with black currant.

Interestingly, beetroot showed up in a number of new beverage innovations, including Bio Rüben Herz from Austria’s Voglsam GmbH. This beverage is a unique combination of 80 percent concentrated beetroot juice that is fermented, 10 percent concentrated Jerusalem artichoke (a source of inulin fiber), 5 percent passionfruit puree and 5 percent herbal extract (peppermint, lemon balm, lavender, stinging nettle and black cumin). The drink comes in a 3-liter bag-in-box concept. According to the company, the well-known vegetable beetroot is on its way to becoming the next superfood, as it is loaded in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and trace elements. When combined with the Jerusalem artichoke and herbal extract blend, the drink supports a healthy digestive system.

Another winner was found in the Fine Food hall. From Great Britain’s Ovio Wellness Ltd., Ovio Infusion is a line of beverages based on olive leaf extract, which is a source of polyphenols and flavonoids. The Cucumber & Juniper variety received the award. Other flavors in the line include Lemon & Mint and Strawberry & Elderberry.

Dairy received many accolades. Switzerland’s Züger Frischkäse AG, was recognized for its new Bio Mozzarella Herzen, organic heart-shaped pieces of mozzarella suitable as an appetizer, especially on “loving” holidays such as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

Ireland’s Kerry Dairy was a winner with its new Yollies. Designed for children, these are yogurt snacks on collectable plastic sticks. Yollies are made using extra-thick, fruity yogurt and can be enjoyed chilled or frozen. Merchandised in the refrigerated yogurt case, Yollies are sold in four-packs of 25g snacks. Available in three varieties — Apricot, Raspberry and Strawberry — the clean-label formulations are free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.

Petri Feinkost GmbH & Co. KG, a German company specializing in premium cream cheese products, received an award for Primello Shrimp Torte, which is a layered cream cheese spread in the form of a piece of cake. It consists of two creamy layers of cream cheese with a center of shrimp-flavored cream cheese. The product delivers a “taste of the freshness of the sea,” combined with aromatic garlic and fresh dill. This variety joins other similar cream cheese tortes in flavors such as chili, jalapeno, Mediterranean and salmon.

The next Anuga will be Oct. 7-11, 2017, also in Cologne. For more information, visit the Angua website

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