Heading Home from ANUGA 2019

The 100th edition of what is probably the largest and most important food event in the world has come to an end. ANUGA in Köln featured exhibitors from all continents around the world, spread across 11 themed halls. The sheer size of the event and vast quantity of visual impressions and spoken words leaves most participants with a certain sense of numbness on the last day, broken only by the warm feeling of coming back home.

ANUGA 2019 saw a big focus on startups with specialised areas in each hall. Many of these participants expressed their satisfaction with the large flow of non-startup visitors, as compared to events with only startups exhibiting. Although most of them are statistically likely to go belly-up within five years, some of them certainly fit ongoing and upcoming trends better than many established and slower-moving companies.

Not least an unbaked raw bread, similar looking to the German or Danish rye bread, and the three-minute, microwaveable, bake-in-a-cup bread mix caught my attention as concepts that can provide a fresh, new and real health positioning to the recovering bread sector of north western Europe.

The Anuga Halal corridor focused on religious certification for Muslims, highlighting that the global Muslim population is a larger consumer base than all of China. The number one megatrend for packaged food over the forecast period could well be the shift of growth from developed to developing markets, many of which have large Muslim populations. Still, capturing the interest of these consumers will demand more than the mere satisfaction of their most basic specification. Just as in any endeavour to take market share, we need to go deeper and at the very least look at the specifics of each country.

Regardless of the large interest in tasting the Beyond Burger (and Beyond Sausage) and a dedicated focus on Anuga Horizon 2050, meat substitutes were in stark minority in the vast meat hall. At the same time, meat substitutes unproblematically featured in the assortments of several large European meat companies. It seems that with the dawn of the option to buy the minced meat-like protein texture from third parties as an ingredient, the prevailing opinion among producers is that meat substitutes are easy to make. That stands in stark contrast to Beyond Meat, which still positions its product as a unique high-tech food, unmatched by the competition. Whatever the case, the increasing popularity of buying texture from ingredient providers may lead to the price finally approaching that of beef.