CHICAGO — The international food and beverage industry convened at Anuga in Cologne, Germany, Oct. 7-11. The Anuga Taste Innovation Show is the main stage for the top new products exhibited at Anuga. It is considered to be a trend barometer and source of inspiration for the global food business.

This year, nearly 700 companies entered more than 2,200 new products in the Innovation Show. There were 68 finalists showcasing forward-thinking food and beverage innovation. For example, TU-NAH cans from BettaF!sh of Germany is formulated with seaweed and plant proteins, without any soy or wheat, making it allergen friendly. The product is marketed as being “a source of protein and fiber that is good for you and even ‘betta’ for our oceans.”

Vegan No Egg White by Schouten Europe in The Netherlands claims to be a “full-fledged substitute for egg whites” in terms of texture, taste and appearance. It’s formulated with sunflower oil and soy protein.

When it comes to dairy alternatives, upcycling was a point of differentiation for Austria’s Kern Tec. The company’s vegan yogurt is made from apricot nuts, a side stream typically discarded as waste or animal feed. The product comes in blueberry, peach-maracuja, natural and vanilla flavors.

In addition to upcycling the pits of apricots, the company is exploring use of cherry and plum pits. Possible applications include nut-free spreads, gourmet oils and other dairy-type products.

Another upcycled Anuga Taste winner came from The Garum Project srl, Italy. The company turns liquid cheese whey into a creamy product with a honey-like texture. Milk Garum is a sustainable, umami-rich flavor enhancer for in-home use. The product has a two-year shelf life and may be used to enhance the flavor of foods while keeping sodium levels down. It also allows for a reduction in dairy usage in recipes to better manage calorie and saturated fat content.

Anuga Mexican beerPhoto: Koelnmesse / Anuga / Harald Fleissner

Imperfect wraps and tortillas have long been an issue for Leighton Foods A/S in Denmark. So, the company partnered with a German brewery to make the Chica Mexicana Tortilla Beer, a beer brewed with 10% rescued tortillas.

A fermentation process similar to the one used in brewing Tortilla Beer is being employed on pickle juice. Euro Gida San. Ve Tic. A.s, Turkey, developed Melis Pickle Soda, a carbonated beverage made from upcycled fermented pickled juice. The effervescent, savory soft drink may provide functional benefits, such as hydration from the presence of electrolytes, and gut health from the postbiotic compounds developed during fermentation.  

Such unique functional ingredients were plentiful throughout Anuga. Bee pollen enables Lyson Apiary in Poland to differentiate its Hexacreme Pistachio Spread. The shelf-stable spread is about 68% pistachio paste combined with multi-flower honey and bee pollen extract. The ingredients provide a sweet spread that is also rich in protein, calcium, potassium, iron and lutein. The bee pollen contributes more than 200 different compounds that support a wide range of functions in the body.

Anuga exhibitors showcased mushrooms in many products, including beverages, snacks and meat alternatives. Truffles, while not a mushroom rather a close relative in the genera of fungi, was one of the dominant flavor trends. Truffles were in instant porridge mixes, used as a seasoning on popcorn and blended into bread spreads.    

Lifestyle Ventures SDN BHD, Malaysia, received accolades for its Man Fook Vegan Crispy Mushroom Chili. It is a vegan topping for noodles or rice that provides earthy richness with a spicy kick. Croatia’s VG Fryer D.o-o., was a winner with its dried mushroom mixes of forest and cultivated mushrooms. They may be prepared like fresh mushrooms after soaking in hot water.

Anuga mushroon chili crispPhoto: Koelnmesse / Anuga /  Maxi UellendahlThe final Anuga Trend winner came from Great Britain. Asian Table Wismettac Emea Holdings Ltd. developed seasoned sushi rice sheets. The individual frozen sheets may be thawed in the microwave and then filled and rolled.

Anuga 2023 hosted around 140,000 trade visitors from 200 countries and about 7,900 exhibitors from 118 countries. The share of foreign exhibitors was 94% and at 80%, there was a record share of foreign visitors. The next Anuga takes place Oct. 4-8, 2025.