Anuga entrance

Anuga 2011 Blog – Day One at the World’s Greatest Food Fair

Grey skies and drizzle greeted the hordes who made their way into the massive KolnMesse for the start of Anuga 2011 – appropriately, perhaps, ending the unusual Indian summer enjoyed by much of Europe and heralding five days of hard work and business for some 6 500 exhibitors and 150 000 visitors. It has been six years since I was last here, and one forgets the sheer size and scope of this expo – that it all happens with such apparent efficiency is testimony to awesome German organisation and technology.

So, come and share with me some of things that catch my eye as I traipse, or attempt to cover, as much as possible of its 300 000m2! That equates to 43 rugby fields, for want of a timeous comparison.

Taste 11PEOPLE COME TO ANUGA FOR many reasons, but one which appeals to many is INNOVATION – to look, source, find, discover, plagiarise things new. The show organisers are well aware of this and hold a competition, Taste, to uncover the top new products in various categories.

This expo greets visitors at the North entrance, and it seemed a good place to start my way through Anuga. With so many options to choose, from so many countries, and lost in translation, perhaps it’s no surprise that the winners do not exactly create too many aha! moments.

I’m sure there are other cost and bureaucratic issues which preclude many smaller entrants, too, and I think far more exciting innovation is to be found out on the aisles. But my top three from those that made the grade for Taste 11 are these:

Witchy’s Rice Sandwiches – a very innovative food concept, loosely based on sushi, in both savoury and sweet versions. See exactly how this works on their great website here (in German)


Hawaiian Red Liquid Salt – from Italy. Rated for its interesting appearance and convenience. . During dehydration the salt combines with Alea clay which gives it an high iron content and the characteristic red colour. It’s  recommended for those suffering from anaemia.

Red Salt

Wasabi Sauce – from Italy, a mix of balsamic and wasabi. It’s not the only one I saw today – their taste is awesome, piquant and adding great zest to food. Could this be a new Tabasco for the chilli addicts? I learnt much about the wonders of wasabi: also blessed with many health benefits, the treasured horse radish root is best eaten freshly grated, using a grater made of shark skin!

Wasabi Sauce

Read all about the Taste11 winners here:
download the pdf

Anuga has another useful and user-friendly resource of all the listed NEW PRODUCTS on show, simply go to the database and choose your category of interest. Click here

meat mountain

HEADING OFF FROM TASTE 11, I moved to my favourite starting point for European food fairs; the processed meat hall to sample of one of the world’s greatest delicacy, Iberico jamon. Such a treat. Many of the meat displays are designed to impress – and they so do! But however delectable, one does pause for thought at the source of all this meaty largesse. Momentarily….and the tastebuds take over.

Crispy Bacon

THE FIRST STAND to draw closer interest was Austrian company, Gierlinger with Crispy Bacon, ready-to-eat bacon in several variants, in slices or small cubes, and with some great benefits: the cooking and drying process means it has 60% less fat than regular bacon, it’s ready to eat cold or can be quickly microwaved, there’s no mess in the kitchen and it has extended shelf life without refrigeration. It also tastes brilliant.

With bacon such a popular and tasty eat, it’s odd that the ready cooked bacon category is non-existent in SA – there must be great scope for opportunity here? Read more about it here:

Metten Wurst

SOME INTRIGUING PACKAGING innovation was to be found on the Metten stand, a major German sausage manufacturer.

Looking for something different from the traditional metal can, it is using a transparent resealable plastic ‘can’ for its range of natural casing wursts, using PermaSafe technology (read more below). The polyprop container is covered on sides and bottom with an in-mould label of several layers, one being high-barrier EVOH. The can and label both withstand the rigours of the retort unscathed. The pack is sealed with a high-barrier film and comes with a snap-on lid. These largely additive-free (read clean label) wursts have a six-month shelf-life, unrefrigerated.

At Anuga 2009, Metten won an innovation award at Taste 09 for a similar concept, but using polyprop pails for larger-sized SKUs.

PermaSafe is the brainchild of German packaging company, Weidenhammer Packaging Group, and was launched just a few months back at Interpack 2011.

Read more here

THAT THE WORLD is becoming ever more obsessed with snacking is very evident at Anuga. As I moved downstairs into the Chilled and Fresh Food section, I came across several attractive concepts.


Viva la Mamma Box, from Italian company, Beretta. High quality, ready made pasta, cooked al dente, in several variants, and with a fork included. Modern, trendy and fun, and ready to heat after two minutes heating, this great convenience concept has just been launched.

The Beretta representative noted that it has taken some courage to launch such a product in a country where pasta, especially that which is home-prepared from scratch, is such a strong tradition.

pastabox A similar product, from French company, Sodebo, has been on the market for two years already, and is reportedly a massive success story for the company. It recently added a new Asian range, Wok in Box.


A delightful range of organic fruit puree and freeze-dried fruit snacks from Berlin company, Erdbar.

Very kid friendly, with no added sugar or additives, they eat superbly and are being marketed using funky and amusing guerrilla tactics to garner public attention and win kids over. See more at


It was interesting to meet the Peelican for the first time, aluminium packaging innovation from Alupak, on the stand of French fish company, Delpierre.

A lightweight, microwaveable solution for fish and other food canners, Peelican includes a tray plus a peelable lid. It comes in several standard shapes or can be customised.

Peelican is sealed by an ground-breaking patented ultrasonic device.

Another convenience idea from Delpierre, with this message: if you’re going to present a ready-to-eat option to consumers, don’t forget to now include a spoon or fork.

TALKING SNACKING, it has been well publicised that PepsiCo is intent on delivering more food and beverage choices made with wholesome ingredients that contribute to healthier eating and drinking. One of the ingredients it, and many others, will be using to achieve this was prominent in Hall 5.1 at Anuga: chia, an ancient seed now finding serious new markets.

ChiaOriginally grown in South America, Chia seeds were first used as food as early as 3 500 BC and were one of the main dietary components of the Aztecs and the Mayans. Chia seeds were eaten as a grain, drunk as a beverage when mixed with water, ground into flour, included in medicines, pressed for oil and used as a base for face and body paints. Chia is the Mayan word for strength. The seeds were used by these ancient cultures as mega-energy food, by their running messengers, who would carry a small pouch with them.

Chia grows best 15 degrees from the equator and today is grown on this latitude in Australia and South America. The biggest producer is Western Australian company, The Chia Company, whose vibrant orange branding had strong stand-out at Anuga. Chia, they report, is finding growing application in crackers, snack bars, cereals etc – an ideal ingredient for manufacturers looking to add health and functionality to their products.

Chia is gluten free, an excellent source of omega 3 (ALA), a high source of protein, rich in antioxidants, and an excellent source of dietary fibre.

Read more at The Chia Company’s excellent website:

Thus ends the first day’s blog – and a fraction of what I took in in but two halls. Several more await in the four days ahead.

SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST, I came across these amazing creations from a small Italian company….

Don’t be fooled! This is not a plate of snacks, neither an ancient tool kit. This is chocolate! Quite brilliant and beautifully crafted in Northern Italy. See more at: