Optimism and belief in the future
This year's Anuga trade fair in Cologne had many surprising and positive experiences to offer those who attended. New packaging solutions, focus on design and a coming together of food and cosmetics summarise the impressions.
"In beverages and ready meals especially, there have been lots of exciting developments," explains Hilde Skotland Mortvedt, Head of Strategy and Analysis at Nofima Mat and a trend expert.
She visited the Anuga fair, which is reckoned to be the world’s most important in the food and drink industry, together with the members of the value creation network Innovation in Practice (Nyskapning i Praksis) and network leader Stine Alm Hersleth.
"The trend signals we are seeing here should be taken seriously, even the ones that seem a bit mad. Don’t think that this is just a gimmick and that there is no market for such products in Norway. Several times now I have been surprised to see products that I really did not believe were right for the Norwegian market being a hit here as well," says Stine Alm Hersleth.
Drink yourself beautiful!
The growth in the number of exhibitors of beverages shows very clearly that this is a fast growing segment. Here optimism is great, colours are strong and there are many different packaging alternatives. For much of the packaging, the environment is in focus. One example is the development of drinks in bags rather than bottles. Solutions like this will reduce the volume of waste considerably, especially in countries where returnable bottle schemes are not common.
There is a focus on the natural and the genuine. We see hundred per cent natural raw materials and no additives time and again. Beauty food is something new. We see a coming together of food and cosmetics. There are drinks that contain collagen and claim to wipe out wrinkles, small energy shots that give you a lift and bottles in which health components, such as ginseng or green tea, are contained in the cork and are released down into the water when you twist the cork.
"We have used just that idea of having a selection of taste components in the cork as a possible drinks product at Nofima Mat, so as to illustrate trends, so it’s fantastic to see a product practically identical to the one we dreamed up become a reality. Think about the environmental savings if, instead of buying whole bottles, we could just buy corks," points out Mortvedt.
Ready-made meals that tell a story
Another huge area was ready-made meals and here too there has been a lot of innovation. Several new trends could be seen at Anuga:
• More fish and seafood dishes than before.
- Many dishes with an Asian feel.
- A dish consists of many more components than before and the trays are divided up into more compartments than has been usual up to now.
- The ready-made meals are much more segmented in terms of target group and eating situation.
- Packaging and design is in focus and is often used to tell a story about the food. They often have descriptive recipes in words and pictures to ensure correct preparation.
"I am convinced that many of the ready-made meal ideas that were presented at the fair will be seen in Norway too before long," says Mortvedt.
Making the most of the visit
Before visiting the trade fair, the members of the Innovation in Practice network each received an observation handbook. The handbook included tangible ideas for getting the most out of visiting the fair.
"One of the purposes of visiting the fair is to learn from different industries. By using planning cards and awareness exercises in advance, we can considerably increase the usefulness of the visit. The participants received several exercises to carry out; for example they had to write down their most important observations and why they thought these were important," concludes Stine Alm Hersleth at Nofima Mat.