“In the long run, cultured meat will disrupt the entire market” – Lorenz Rau
After 100 years since the first edition of the fair, Anuga offers a new picture for the food industry underlining future trends that are to create a disruption in the market. 165.000 trade fair visitors from all over the world are expected this year in Cologne to take a closer look at the innovative products that are expected to gain a larger market share in the years to come and also to see how the classic products are keeping the pace with consumer’s desires. Nevertheless, the 100th anniversary of Anuga is underlining changes that are expected to reshape the food industry. “Studies show that vegan meat replacements will grow at least until 2025 but I believe in the long run cultured meat will disrupt the entire market,” explained Lorenz Rau, Director, Anuga, in an interview for EuroMeat News.
In the last 100 years, the food industry landscape has witnessed several major transformations and still, none of those has been so important as the current challenges faced today. What are the obstacles that food producers must surpass in the short-term and how is this anniversary edition of Anuga food trade fair address to these topics of interest?
Surveys show that in a few years over 10 billion people will be living on earth. The key question is how can all of these people be fed? In addition to the shortage of water and arable land, the key issues are the logistic challenges as well as the alternatives for breeding plants, meat substitutes and new eating habits. Our world of food is thus faced with the largest transformation of all times and many companies are already occupying themselves with alternative solutions for the industry. Anuga 2019 has picked up on this and is for the first time offering a platform that exclusively addresses the future of food. Anuga Horizon 2050 brings together visionaries, innovators, initiatives and start-ups from a variety of backgrounds to jointly shape the future of the industry. Our aim is to inform about new technologies, solutions, trends and innovations and underpin them with best practice examples. Five thematic focuses with panel discussions, presentations and best practice examples highlight tomorrow's opportunities and challenges. Visitors can expect insights on topics such as Sustainable Environment – Better Food for a Better World, Startup-Day – New Solutions, New Products, Alternative Proteins – New Sources to Feed 10 Billion, New Nutrition – The Evolution of Food and the Internet of Food.
The world is facing an animal protein shortage due to both the ASF situation in Asia and Europe and environmental issues raised by the public. How are these topics reflected in the meat exhibitor’s section this year and what new products do you expect to see in their booths?
Alternative solutions focusing on vegan and vegetarian meat alternatives or clean meat as well as vegetable-based substitute products containing proteins approaching the market and bringing new kinds of products and flavors. In so doing, ingredients also change. Producers are using, for instance, more soya, chickpea or hemp. In order to cover proteins, insects become more and more important as a new source for proteins. At Anuga Meat, several exhibitors are focusing on these topics offering plant-based burgers, sausages or other snacks. Some also offer a mix of real meat and plant-based substitutes. Furthermore, meat products based on insects such as bratwurst or burgers as well as vegan or vegetarian meat alternatives, for instance, vegan chicken, schnitzel or sliced meat will be in focus. Our special exhibitions Anuga taste Innovation Show will give a great overview of the most innovative products this year. Especially some of the meat products reflect exactly the trends just mentioned.
Sustainability, food waste, food safety are some of the major topics that concern both food producers and consumers. What do you see new in the food industry that may respond to these challenges?
When we talk about sustainability, the production and packaging of food play an important role. Considering packaging, a lot of producers work on new solutions that can be recycled more easily, are biological degradable or reuse recycled material. In food production, companies and brands are greening up their portfolios to attract the mainstream consumer. For many, going plant-based is about achieving a healthy and sustainable balance between meat and vegetables, rather than adopting an all-or-nothing way of eating. But producing plant-based meat alternatives reduces the emission of carbon dioxide and thus contributes to the reduction of global warming. Technologic progress also improves the quality of food. Food safety is one of the most urgent tasks of consumer protection. Suppliers continuously work on improved analysis methods with a high degree of automation that facilitate the analytics of numerous parameters in the highest quality. The laboratory analytics is the innovation driver for research and development within the food industry. When it comes to food waste, everyone has a part to play in reducing food waste. I see producers who work on better coordination among food supply chain actors - farmers, handlers, processors and traders. Also, the public discussions about food waste increases and a lot of initiatives such as food banks or NGOs such as United Against Waste help to reduce food waste by donating it. This also influences consumers behaviour, consumption and shopping habits related to food. Education helps as well, particularly focusing on providing information on safe food handling, proper food storage in households and understanding “best before” dates in order to prevent and reduce food waste.
How do you see the market share splitting between organic food, fresh food, processed food and meat substitutes in the future?
At the current stage, it is hard to tell how the market share between these four will be split up. But I’m sure that we will have a further increase in meat substitutes. Studies show that vegan meat replacements will grow at least until 2025 but I believe in the long run cultured meat will disrupt the entire market. It will still take some time because cultured meat still needs stronger consumer and legal acceptance. But in the end, the market share for cultured meat will increase tremendously followed by organic, fresh and processed food.
Germany has been for years the largest hub for startups in the food industry. What is the current situation in this sector and what are the trends that perform well in the market?
Over 400 new food companies were founded in Germany alone last year. This tells a lot about the development in this sector. Food start-ups are bringing a new breeze into the industry: They have highly motivated teams, have an innovative approach and develop among other things future-looking trends that keep the industry moving. These currently include insect-based or hemp-based products or ideas for sustainable add-ons such as straws or eatable spoons.
Technology plays a substantial role in the modern food industry and this year’s edition of Anuga Food underlines that. What are the main topics that you have on the agenda at the trade fair?
Technology doesn’t play such an important role at Anuga but rather at our other trade fair Anuga Foodtec, which takes place in March 2021. Of course, over the years, technology has changed. New technologies improve processing and packaging and the safety of food. Better production machines ensure quality, drive down the costs of keeping the food fresh and increase productivity. The robotic solution becomes more important and helps to create more efficiency in food production. Other topics are 3D printing, virtual and augmented reality or artificial intelligence.
This year, Paraguay was designated as partner country to Anuga Food. Tell us something about their achievements in the food industry.
Paraguay has around 7 million inhabitants and is well-known as an agricultural country. Besides soya, maize, wheat, manioc, sugar cane and rice, Paraguay's export goods primarily also include meat. In the sections, beef, maize and soya the country is among the top 10 producers worldwide and at the same time particularly places the focus on high quality. All of these factors make the country very exciting - more or less into a hidden champion. Furthermore, we have upheld very good business relations with South America for many years. In selecting Paraguay as the partner country of Anuga, we are for the first time drawing the attention of the experts to the South American continent and thus broadening the horizon - in principle, it is precisely what a trade fair is supposed to do.
How many exhibitors confirmed their participation in the trade fair and how many visitors do you expect this year? Are any of those figures a record?
At this Anuga, around 7.500 exhibitors from more than 100 countries will participate, which even exceeds the record of 2017. For our 100th anniversary, we expect more than 165.000 trade fair visitors from all over the world.
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