Friday, October 11, 2019

Anuga 2019: Five Key Takeaways from the Global Food Innovation Stage

Anuga 2019, Cologne, Germany, October 5-8, 2019. I walked more than 60,000 steps over three days. My tracking device said this was about 25 miles and I did not even make it through the international fine food halls at the world’s largest trade fair for food and beverage. Celebrating its 100th anniversary, the biennial event did not disappoint. There was a record-breaking 7,400 exhibitors and 170,000 visitors. For perspective, this is basically double the size of Expo West!

“Anuga has once again succeeded in presenting the diversity of the food industry in an impressive way,” said Friedhelm Dornseifer, president of the German Association of the Retail Grocery Trade. “In spite of the high importance of social responsibility and sustainability that goes hand in hand with the manufacturing and sales of food, with its wide variety of new products, Anuga 2019 demonstrated impressively that the appreciation of food is above all a matter of taste. Offering products that comply with the ethical needs of the consumers that also provide them with the highest possible degree of enjoyment is a big challenge for food manufacturers and distributors.

“There is tough competition in this sector,” he said.

I could not agree more.

Anuga is not only the gate to the worldwide food and beverage world, it’s an event for inspiration. The special exhibit Anuga Horizon 2050 explored new and ongoing trends, including plant-based meat and dairy substitutes; alternative protein products based on peas, fava beans, insects (there was a lot of insect innovation!) and more; and the many forms of cannabis. Beyond this, themes such as free-from, convenience, upcycled ingredients and vegan also played an important role. (There was a vegan water. Go figure!)

The next Anuga will take place from October 9 to 13, 2021. For more information, link HERE.

This was my 7th Anuga, and by far the most impressive. With more than 25 years of attending trade shows and writing about food and beverage trends, I have five key takeaways from this year’s expo.

1. Cannabis innovation is going to get crazier before it slows down; however, just how many cannabis-containing foods and beverages can the marketplace handle? I do not know the answer to that but what marketers need to recognize is that these products are meant to be consumed in moderation.

When I say the sector is going to get crazy, I mean it. A flavor supplier exhibiting in the beverage hall showcased a cannabis flavor intended to add authenticity to cannabis-infused products. While I do not have a lot of experience in this space, I can tell you that the yogurt product I sampled had that grassy, skunky, musty, sweet, acidic taste that remains in your mouth after smoking weed. Expect a lot more innovation in this space, followed by a lot of failure.

Protein continues to dominate the nutrition conversation, but it’s evolving into aspirational marketing.  

Last month I attended The Hartman Group’s Food Culture Forecast 2019 summit in Chicago. Tamara Barnett, vice-president of strategic insight at The Hartman Group explained, “Food has gotten specific and personal. More than ever, people see food as being more intimately connected with wellness and their broader system of values.”

She explained that experimentation with different diets reflects interest in personalization and variety. Innovators need to figure out how they can help consumers tailor a product or experience to their wellness goals. She encouraged food marketers to look at the trends and pull little strands from them and weave them into product innovations.

“Look at what’s valuable about the trend and the lifestyle,” she said. “Stay focused on the science.”

To read more about “Forecasting Future Food Trends,” link HERE to an article I wrote on the topic for Food Business News.

2. So, back to protein. Many of the new protein-enhanced products rolling out are speaking to health and fitness. Consuming protein has become a means to help one achieve their wellness goals.

Germany’s Elsdorfer will be rolling out in January MyQ Fitness Milk, which is filtered nonfat milk fortified with milk protein concentrate. A serving is more than double the protein of traditional milk. The product can be merchandised in the dairy case or ambient aisle and is being marketed as the “ideal recovery drink” because “milk provides the building blocks to build new muscle.”

The company E. Pyrga of Cyprus sweetens its high-protein ice cream with stevia and is marketing it to athletes, something I have suggested many times. New 20/20 Fitness High Protein Ice Cream contains a minimum of 20 grams of high-quality milk protein per serving, including branched-chain amino acids, which are associated with promoting muscle health.

Goldsteig Kasereien Bayerland GmbH, Germany, is marketing a ball of fresh pasta filata cheese in a single-serve, 100-gram package as a protein cheese for athletes and physically active, body conscious consumers. Packages boldly call out that the Fit Protinella contains 23 grams of protein.

3. And here’s something new to ponder in the area of snack innovation. All this time we’ve been thinking about the snacking trend as having to do with staying satiated and engaging in mindful eating between meals. After attending Anuga 2019, I am convinced snacking is more of providing tactile and sensory satisfaction. Snacking tends to be very interactive. It’s often finger food, no utensils required. There’s something very satisfying about touching food and bringing it to your mouth. While it’s almost caveman like, it very gratifying. That’s why we can expect to see snack foods evolve. Think balls, nuggets and sticks. Miniatures of full-size favorites will be trending. This is across all food and beverage, including plant-based innovations.

4. When it comes to plant-based, think small. Think snack. Think fitness. That’s the only way you are going to stand out in this very packed space. Anuga 2019 was busting out with plant-based burgers. There’s too many. What was very refreshing to observe was the hefty number of companies marketing blended burgers, meatballs and sausages. Not only do these products appeal to consumers trying to reduce their meat intake, but they also allow for more flavor innovation, as they are not limited to being vegan. 

It makes sense for dairy processors to compete in the plant-based space but it has to be with something different. Blends make sense here, too.

Here’s something to think about. It’s the concept of Design Thinking. Design thinking is best described as an innovation journey that puts the needs and wants of consumers at the center of all creative and organizational efforts. It solves a problem, one that may not be defined or one that that no one even knew existed.

That’s the beauty of blended meats and blended dairy products. It’s a sector that’s ripe for innovation.

To read more about Design Thinking, link HERE to an article I recently wrote on the topic for Food Business News.

5. That brings me to my fifth takeaway form Anuga 2019.
The future of food is consumer-centric products. It’s foods and beverages that suggest new moments of consumption, that provide new levels of sophistication. They are lifestyle formulations. It’s all about products the consumer never realized was missing from their life but now is so happy to have in it.

That’s what the nine finalists competing in the California Milk Advisory Board’s (CMAB) Real California Milk Accelerator dairy startup competition are doing. They are attempting to bring milk back into consumers’ lives in formats they never imagined.

This new competition was designed to inspire ideas integrating the values of fluid milk into contemporary products and provide resources to help bring them to market. Launched earlier this year, the competition aims to inspire innovation and investment in fluid milk products, packaging and capacity within California by connecting manufacturers, producers, investors, ideas and entrepreneurs for high quality, sustainable dairy beverages.The nine innovators will receive up to $25,000 of support each to develop proto-cepts while receiving elite mentorship from marketing, packaging and distribution experts, including a business development trip this week (October 14, 2019) to tour California dairy farms and production facilities and meet with industry leaders to help facilitate their new ventures. The final competition will take place live on November 7, in the San Francisco Bay Area, culminating in a grand prize winner who will receive up to $250,000 worth of additional support to deliver their new product to market. (I’m a judge and looking forward to seeing all the innovation.)

Finalists include:
  • Bears Nutrition Daily Nutritional Milk Beverage for Active Kids
  • WheyUp Protein Dairy Beverage with 12 Live and Active Probiotic Cultures and Whey Protein
  • Good Citizens Ready to Drink Latte with Collagen
  • Thai Star Brewing Co. Thai Star Iced Tea
  • Nutraberry Upcycled High Fiber Polyphenol Milk Protein Beverage
  • NAICHA Milk Tea with Probiotics and Vitamins
  • ALLPUR FIZZA Sparkling Dairy Nutrient Refresher
  • Cheese Yogurt Fermented Dairy Beverage
  • Stuyt Dairy Dairy-Based Dessert Beverage

“The number and quality of entries received is a testament to the vibrancy of the beverage category and proves the desire of product developers to tap into the unique natural goodness of milk to meet consumer cravings for beverages that are not only healthy but taste great,” said John Talbot, CEO of the CMAB.

VentureFuel Inc., a leading innovation consultancy, is working with CMAB to find, identify and mentor the best emerging startups from their global network of investors, founders and academics to drive first-to-market innovation for the dairy space.

“This competition has created an opportunity for cutting-edge technologies and dynamic entrepreneurs to drive innovation for a product that has been a household staple for generations,” said Fred Schoenberg, CEO and founder of VentureFuel. “CMAB’s vision, combined with the ingenuity of the nine selected pioneering startups, sets the stage to educate the public regarding milk’s true nutritional benefits, and re-introduce it to the marketplace in inspired and engaging ways that connect with the public’s current and evolving tastes.”

For more information, link HERE.

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