Industry eyes will be on the Anuga food fair in Germany this week, as organisers focus on the growing health and nutrition market and the desire for novel products, such as fruit salami, chocolate surimi and sweet pepper baguettes.
The five-day international fair for the food and beverage industry, which opened on the 13 October, is a launching pad for new products into the European market and serves as a way to test the public's pulse.
Organisers have this year chosen to include what they deem to be the most inventive products in a show called Taste 07.
About 500 companies submitted about 1,100 products for inclusion in the special show.
The show will include healthy snacks currently unheard of or rare on the market, organisers claim, including a chocolate-flavoured Surimi snack, marketed as being a healthy alternative to sweets.
"It has a fat content of less than 20 per cent and only half the calories of chocolate," according to a summary from Anuga's press office.
Other "healthy" treats entered for the show include:
-Sweet pepper baguettes from South Africa which are made using sugar, honey and spices.
-Olive tea, which supposedly strengthens the immune system, boosts energy and reduces blood pressure.
Convenience is also a theme consistent to many of the new products, including "olives to go", chilli flavoured olives in foil packets; ready-to-heat cone shaped pizza; and a savoury-sweet salami made with apricots and fruit flavourings.
One of the most unusual "convenient" snack unveiled will surely be a toastable meat snack.
"Prepared from tasty, succulent ham, the delicious product is enveloped in an extra-crisp crumb coating and pre-cooked," the organisers said. "The consumer needs only to pop it in the toaster."
A range of products are marketed as hitting the convenience trend, such as:
-Vegetarian oriental soufflés
-Isotonic sports drinks in containers secure enough so the drink can be carried while on the move
-Portionable packets, equipped with a spout, of cold apple puree
The trend for convenience is not only aimed at adult consumers, as there are noodle and frozen pasta dishes are marketed as being specifically for children because they are "fun, easy to prepare and easy on the eye."
Many of the dairy products that have been chosen as part of the show aim to thi all the trends, combining health and convenience in one go.
- A lactose-free cheese
- A soy yoghurt drink in raspberry or apricot flavours, again in resealable containers
- A pro-biotic ice cream
The organic market has not been forgotten, as, according to the organisers, "more and more consumers are making the conscious decision to choose organic foods."
Organic products on show include argan oil produced through a sustainable social project, and a white truffle flavoured with rosemary.
According Anuga organisers, the global turnover in functional food is currently at approximately €20bn, and the market is expected to grow to €100bn by 2010.