Thursday, July 25, 2019

Make Anuga 2019 your Dairy Foods Innovation Destination, October 5-9 in Cologne, Germany
Anuga, the world’s leading food fair for the retail trade and the foodservice and catering markets, celebrates 100 years of food innovation since its first exposition in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1919. A lot has changed in terms of trends and technology, but one thing that has remained constant is consumers’ desire for delicious and nutritious food and beverage.

That will be the focus of the 35th installment of Anuga, which will take place at Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany, Oct. 5-9, 2019. This biennial event is a central business and communications platform for all players involved in the development, manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sale of food and beverage. It’s where new products make their debut to complement today’s and tomorrow’s trends. For many product developers, it’s where they go to observe innovations and generate ideas for the future.

Dairy—butter, cheese, ice cream, milk, yogurt and more—have a very strong presence at Anuga 2019. There’s an entire hall dedicated just to dairy! Plus, ice cream can be found in the frozen hall, smoothies and lattes in the beverage hall, and all types of international innovations in the various country pavilions and the specialty foods halls.

The 2017 expo attracted nearly 165,000 trade visitors from about 200 countries exploring the more than 7,400 exhibitors. Event organizers anticipate breaking this record in 2019, as Cologne continues to attract buyers and sellers from all countries around the world.

Anuga is best described as 10 trade shows under one roof, as the exposition is a well-arranged layout divided up into themed areas. The halls are: 1) Bread & Bakery, 2) Chilled & Fresh Food, 3) Culinary Concepts, 4) Dairy, 5) Drinks, 6) Fine Food, 7) Frozen Food, 8) Meat, 9) Hot Beverages and 10) Organic. For the first time Anuga is offering participation opportunities for start-up companies in special pavilions located in each of the show halls.

Also new for 2019 is the Boulevard of Inspiration, which will showcase new products as well as house the Anuga Trend Zone, a program stage where experts from Innova Market Insights and Euromonitor will present an analyses on the developments in the food and beverage industry. In addition, there will be a strong focus on the future of food at a platform called Anuga Horizon 2050. Here visitors will be able to explore new technologies, solutions and industry innovations focused on startups, sustainability, alternative proteins and social media.

Have an innovation you believe deserves global recognition? The most important new products of Anuga 2019 will be presented in the “Anuga taste Innovation Show” special event. An expert jury comprising of journalists and market researchers will select the industry’s top innovations from among all of the exhibitors’ new products. During the trade fair, the results will be presented in a special exhibit.

Link HERE for more information on the “Anuga taste Innovation Show” special event.

The following trends will be prominent at Anuga 2019.
  • Free-from products. Free-from claims continue to be popular across all food segments. In 2018, 23% of all new foods carried a free-from claim, according to Innova Market Insights. Gluten-free products stand out within this group, with more than half (58%) of all free-from products being gluten-free products. Vegan claims, which are basically animal-free foods, showed an average annual increase of 30% since 2014. Europe ranks first in the number of new free-from products rolled out last year.
  • Halal food. Halal-certified food that corresponds to Islamic dietary rules is gaining significance around the world. The increasing demand for halal ready-made products in the Near East, combined with the growing demand in the West, is leading to strong growth and a record number of new product introductions. 
  • Kosher products. The demand for kosher products is also growing. The distribution of these foodstuffs, which correspond with Jewish dietary rules, is increasing, according to data provided by Innova Market Insights. In 2018, 33% of kosher products were also gluten-free, 25% were free of genetic modifications and 22% carried a “without additives and preservatives” claim. Most kosher claims are found on bakery products, sauces and snacks.
  • Non-GMO claims. More than 5% of global new products in 2018 carried a non-GMO claim, which corresponds to an average annual growth of 14% since 2014. Over the past years, North America has taken over from Europe as the leading market region for non-GMO claims. Growth has also been recorded in Latin America. Most of the newly introduced non-GMO products fall under the categories of bakery products, dairy products and snacks, whereby the overall penetration of such claims is highest in cereals and baby/toddler foods. 
  • Organic products. The percentage of new products that fall under the organic segment grew from 8.8% of the new introductions in 2014 to 10.5% in 2018. In Europe, with an average annual growth of 15.5%, the share of organic claims among newly introduced European foodstuffs is even more significant. In 2018, 58% of all new introductions with an organic seal occurred in Europe and 22% were introduced in North America. The fastest-growing category is snacks, with an average annual growth of 18.6% from 2014 to 2018. At Anuga Organic and the Anuga Organic Market, trade visitors will find a wide range of organic products from Germany and abroad with a clear focus on export.
  • Products with protected designation of origin. Shoppers increasingly want to know how their food is produced, where it comes from and the sourcing/processing of individual ingredients. Locally and regionally produced foods are perceived as more trustworthy by many consumers. Certificates of origin, such as PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) or PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) enhance the image of traditionally manufactured products and underline their origin and quality. This labeling will be prominent throughout Anuga 2019, especially in the international pavilions where manufacturers take pride in the traditional recipes and protected procurement and processing methods. 
  • Ready-to-eat foods. Today’s consumers are looking for fast, convenient and healthy meal and snack solutions that suit their busy lifestyles. This is particularly true for snacks, where there’s an increase in premium, authentic and ethnic recipes. Among all convenience foods, protein and fiber content claims are a priority, as there’s increased interest in satiation and weight management. 
  • Superfoods. Highly nutritious foodstuffs with added value in terms of contributing to health and well-being are considered superfoods. The number of newly introduced foodstuffs that are marketed as superfoods experienced an average annual growth of 12% from 2014 to 2018. Some of the most popular superfoods are grains, nuts and seeds, which are appearing in all types of food applications, including baked goods, snack foods, meat and dairy alternatives, and beverages.
  • Products based on fair trade. Fairtrade focuses on the international development, social equity and fair economic profits. Although it is still a niche market--less than 1% of all newly introduced foodstuffs displayed a fairtrade claim in 2018--they recorded a stable average annual growth of 6% from 2014 to 2018. Sweets and hot drinks are the two main categories for fairtrade certification.
  • Plan to attend Anuga 2019 this October. Link HERE for more information. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Co-Packer Considerations

The dairy foods industry is overflowing with entrepreneurs, which is a beautiful thing. Innovative product development and healthy competition keeps the dairy case exciting and consumers interested in all things dairy.

Many startups rely on co-packers to manufacture and distribute product. And, many times, these players ask for my advice and for recommendations. The calls and emails have been more frequent lately, which is exciting in terms of future innovations rolling into the marketplace.

The frequency of communication makes me think it’s a good time to discuss the variables to consider when shopping for a co-packer
Early in the process of innovation, startups must decide whether they want to invest in processing, packaging and warehousing (to have control over the operation as well as secure any proprietary technology) or to partner with a contract manufacturer, a.k.a. a co-packer.

More times than not, entrepreneurs and smaller manufacturers choose to partner with an expert to manufacture their products. There are many reasons why this is the smarter option.

The most obvious reason is that this option reduces capital investment and assists with cash flow, freeing up dollars for marketing efforts to build brand awareness. Co-packers are also experts at what they do. This frees up man power and brain time, reducing energy spent on learning the process and troubleshooting common production issues.

Before you begin interviewing potential co-packer partners, it is paramount that you identify those criteria that are non-negotiable and those where there’s flexibility. Keep in mind, co-packers vary in capabilities. Decide if you want to source ingredients and packaging, or if you prefer the co-packer do this for possible bulk pricing benefits.

Speaking of pricing, determine your cost structure. Discuss potential hidden expenses.
Set quality standards. Identify product and package specifications, including shelf life requirements, as well as certifications such as allergen-free lines, kosher, organic, etc.

Safety, quality and record keeping are not negotiable in this day and age. Do your homework. Evaluate the co-packer’s safety and sanitation procedures. Do they have a HACCP plan? Are they compliant with the Food Safety Modernization Act? Is the manufacturing facility regularly audited by an accredited firm? Is the co-packer prepared to properly handle a recall?

Ask for referrals. Find out how reliable the co-packer is for scheduling production. How far in advance do you need to confirm schedules? 

Then there’s that gut feel we all have when doing business. Do you feel that the co-packer will work with you when issues arise? Troubleshoot with you? Communicate in a timely manner? In general, the more transparent a co-packer is willing to be, the more trustworthy the partnership will be. This is even more important when proximity is an issue.

Remember, if you are prepared and do your homework, it will be easier to identify the best co-packer for your innovation. Your chance of success increases.

Link HERE to a list of co-packers that specialize in milk and dairy foods manufacturing.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

It’s a Game-Changing Day in the Dairy Industry: Say Hello to the Industry’s First Fresh Milk and Plant Blended Beverage (A Daily Dose of Dairy/ exclusive)

It takes a lot for me to say wow. I’m rolling out the red carpet for this innovation. And guess what? I knew about it for a few months and was able to keep a secret!

The highly creative team at Live Real Farms, a new brand owned and managed by Dairy Farmers of America, is rolling out what I believe is the first fresh milk blended beverage in the marketplace. The company is combining the best of pure dairy with almonds or oats to make Live Real Farms Dairy Plus Milk Blends.

Live Real Farms, owned by more than 8,000 family-farms across the U.S. and inspired by the wonder of real--real food, real dairy and real nourishment—just started shipping the Dairy + Blends beverages throughout Minnesota. Distribution will expand in the fall and hopefully this milk plus plant beverage will find its way to refrigerators across the country.

Using a unique blending process, Live Real Farms takes nature’s pure milk from 100% family-owned farms and creates a whole new milk taste and texture with just the right amount of sweetness. The combination of the flavor of almonds or oats that consumers love with the protein power of dairy will satisfy the demands of families seeking the best of both worlds!

The new beverage comes in five lactose-free varieties. They are:
  • Dairy Plus Almond-Original: 70 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 6 grams sugar (no added sugars) and 5 grams protein
  • Dairy Plus Almond-Unsweetened Vanilla: 70 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 6 grams sugar (no added sugars) and 5 grams protein
  • Dairy Plus Almond-Sweetened Vanilla: 110 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 16 grams sugar (10 grams are added sugars) and 5 grams protein
  • Dairy Plus Almond-Chocolate: 140 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 23 grams sugar (17 grams are added sugars) and 5 grams protein
  • Dairy Plus Oat-Original: 110 calories, 2 grams fat, 8 grams sugar (2 grams are added sugars) and 5 grams protein
The inclusion of the lactase enzyme allows for the lactose-free claim, which is important to many shoppers. The beverage is also free of artificial colors and flavors, another desirable product claim.

A new advertising campaign highlighting the taste, nutrition and versatility of this new beverage is breaking in Minnesota. The message is that the beverage is a: “Purely Perfect New Blend.” I agree.

To learn more and view a video on the new beverage line, link HERE.

Blends keep milk in the diet while also appealing to the growing number of consumers who want to include more plant-based foods in their diet.

A recent review of literature published in Advances in Nutrition showed that adequate consumption of milk and dairy products at different life stages can help prevent various chronic diseases. The review was coordinated by Professor Angel Gil of the University of Granada and Professor Rosa Ortega of the Complutense University of Madrid. The study reviews worldwide scientific literature on the role of dairy products in health and in the prevention of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular, metabolic syndrome, colon or bladder cancer, and type 2 diabetes. It also examines the effects of dairy products on growth, bone mineral density, generation of muscle mass, and during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

To read more, link HERE.

Congrats to the creative team at Live Real Farms! This is what innovation is all about!