Back home from five busy days at Anuga, and time to collate and report on things novel, new, different that I uncovered in the long, long walk around KölnMesse's acres. Some interesting beverages, snacks, ready to eat foods, dairy, packaging and processing methods...
|New possibilities with dried fruit-veg|
This was one of my most interesting finds - dehydrated fruit and veg as I've never seen before. These crunchy fruity-veg snacks are the work of a technology-driven, start-up German company that's developed an alternative to regular dehydrated and freeze-dried foods.
PÄX Food's "revolutionary drying process" combines gentle conventional drying with vacuum processing, and this conserves fruit and vegetables while preserving their valuable nutrients.
PÄXed fruit achieves a rare quality: colour, taste and volume are surprisingly close to the original, fresh product. Thus, apples, strawberries, bananas or peppers become tasty, crunchy snacks (very low residual moisture), with the taste intensely evocative of the fresh product – either in the dried or rehydrated state; and the volume is virtually the same as the original product.
The natural colour is also largely preserved.
The crispy character of all the products opens completely new possibilities for snacks. An amazing eat.
Brilliant fruit juice - now with 21-day shelf life
Another example of clean, beautifully simplistic packaging design.
Hoogesteger is a Dutch manufacturer of premium freshly-squeezed juices made sans concentrates, pasteurisation and preservatives. Not quite sure how they achieve this currently, but on sampling, the organoleptics proved outstanding.
The company rep on the stand did let on that the company is busy commissioning a new pulsed electric field (PEF) processing system, a non-thermal method of food preservation that uses short bursts of electricity for microbial inactivation and causes minimal or no detrimental effect on food quality attributes.
This will extend their juices' chilled shelf life to 21 days.
Concentrated liquid spices and herbs
Dubbed the SpezieSpray, this was among my top innovation finds at Anuga this year: concentrated natural extracts of various herbs, spices and condiments in a convenient spray format.
Made by Italian company, they provide a big burst of flavour. The 40ml canister allows over 300 sprays. Great new take for a very established, over-traded sector. They are preservative free, too. (But then everything, simply everything, at Anuga was preservative free, natural etc etc!)
Finally! Frozen yoghurt that actually tastes like... wait for it... wait for it... yoghurt!
Simply awesome! And less than 100 cal/100g.
"bee me" frozen yoghurt
I never thought a powdered frozen yoghurt would stop me in my tracks, but "bee me", on the UK national pavillion, did just that.
The food service brainchild of two former London investment bankers, they have devised a product to which you simply add milk, mix, freeze, and serve.
The idea is to sell/rent/lease the freezer-dispensers, as well as supply the powder formula to restaurants, cafes etc, but they have also set up a retail outlet in Portabello Road, with more planned.
Another brand new tasting experience was in the form of FLAVOUR PEARLS Frozen Creative Food, devised by French company, La Fruitiere de Val Evel.
They are small frozen balls of alginate that contain a soft or liquid heart of fruit pulps or savoury condiments, such as wasabi, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and truffle flavour.
Even of thawing, they stay perfectly round, and once squished in the mouth, explode with a burst of flavour.
While this photo doesn't really do the concept justice, they are an inspired innovation, heavy with clever food science, and with applications in catering, cookery, bakery, ice cream, cocktails and so on.
Re-inventing the milkshake
Anuga has always been a big dairy event, and this year was no exception, but I battled to find things really new or of major interest.
One loud and tasty development was the new attention, and sophistication, given the milkshake in Switzerland, with Innoprax and Emmi, the largest Swiss milk processor and one of the most innovative premium dairies in Europe, both showing off their new ranges. And both in packaging format that allows for an authentic froth.
Innoprax's Shakeria comes with straw included, while Emmi's shake has a drinking hole, apparent once you peel away the top label.
Chocolate milk grows up
Mooch also comes in new format of packaging for the milk drinks category, a 250ml ring-pull can.
While around for over a year now, Mooch, introduced by UK company, Navson, an international beverage company based in the UK, is a new chocolate milk drink that has targeted the growth of the flavoured milk drinks category, and is aimed at 16 to 25 year olds.
A blend of milk and cocoa beans with natural flavourings and no artificial colours or preservatives, it contains 1% fat and is available in Original, Hazelnut and Mint varieties.
The product has been successfully marketed as healthier and 'lighter' alternative to sugar-laden carbonates.
Europe certainly knows how to do mozzarella, a versatile cheese that's so underplayed in SA.
New on Germany dairy producer, Zott's stand, was a delectable new mozzarella snack: Zott Zottarella Mozzarella Dollars, small rounds of the cheese that are heated in pan, oven, microwave or grill.
Using a new patented processing method, the outside of the cheese doesn't melt, but turns golden brown, almost bread-like, while inside is creamy, stringy mozzarella. A serious YUM!
Three variants are offered: Classic, Basil and Tomato, and are accompanied by a zesty tomato dip.
Yummy Dough: an edible toy
Originating in Germany, Yummy Dough kits will keep kids busy for hours.
Mixed with water, the Yummy Dough powder turns into smooth, kneadable, easily-shaped dough that can later be baked. It can be eaten raw or baked.
Parents are assured that the kits are made by one of Germany's leading manufacturers of baking mixes in Germany, and contain no 'nasties'.
Great for encouraging creative, spatial and culinary skills.
Hot, posh snacks
Again at the UK pavillion, I was much impressed with the fare offered by Monty's Bakehouse, a snack company that's made a huge success of frozen and chilled wraps, pizzas, subs, scones, bagels etc.
Monty's has grown from start-up to big player in the convenience, airline, and other food service sectors for its hot, posh snacks to grab and go. It now supplies 14 countries across Europe.
Premium eats, in great packaging, that are perfectly apt for the times.
Tillman´s Burger for your Toaster
Another interesting and über-convenient snacking concept that had its world premier at Anuga, and made it as a Taste 11 finalist: burger patties that you simply place and heat in the toaster, drip free!
From German meat giant, Tillmann's, the fresh, pre-cooked best beef patties are part of a burger kit of two individually wrapped beef patties, two
pre-cut hamburger buns, two sachets of the special Tillman’s burger sauce and two paper serving pockets.
Everything to love about Oloves
Not new, but I discovered Oloves, a genius healthy snacking alternative to crisps and nuts that's enjoyed plenty of sales and awards around the globe.
A British innovation, Oloves are deli-style marinated olives sold in 30g packs and have only 50 calories per bag. Oloves are available in four flavours, and are a ready-to-eat treat with no pits and no liquid.
Superb packaging design, too. Makes you want to eat 'em even if you don't like olives!
The Easy Wine Glass
Last, but not least, some wine to wash down the snacks, with great convenience from Swedish company, Cefour Wine & Beverage: wine sold by the PET glassful.
Reportedly a hit with Scandinavian airlines, and for big events when you don't want glass around and quick serving is required.
The company sources its wine from around the world, and do have contact with SA suppliers.
The glass stem is detachable for easier packing, and thus can also be served in a regular tumbler format.