Anuga Frozen Food: meeting place for the industry

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The ice cold heart of Anuga (external link) is Anuga Frozen Food, the international trade show for frozen foods and ice cream products under the roof of Anuga, from 08th to 12th October 2011 in Cologne. With approximately 500 exhibitors from about 50 countries, the trade show almost completely occupies both levels of Hall 4, with a gross exhibition space of 27’500 square metres. The most important international platform for marketing frozen food products is used by companies including Agrarfrost, Almondy Apetito, Ardo, Aviko, Champimer Scelta Mushrooms, Crop´s, D´Arta, Escal, Frisch und Frost, Gunnar Dafgard, Lamb Weston, Mekkafood, Neuhauser, Oerlemans, Pickenpack – Hussmann + Hahn, PinguinLutosa, Salomon, Schne-frost, Surgital, Wagner and Wernsing. Many trade visitors who attend Anuga Frozen Food also value the close proximity to the specialized trade shows Anuga Meat, Anuga Chilled + Fresh Food and Anuga Bread + Bakery, as well as the extensive opportunities to gain valuable information and place orders that this allows.

The sector traditionally gathers on the Monday during Anuga for the Frozen Food get-together, where the Golden Ice Crystal Award 2011 will be presented. This evening for the international frozen food sector, initiated by Koelnmesse, the German Institute for Frozen Products (dti), Lebensmittel Praxis and Quick Frozen Foods International, is the ideal communication platform for producers, dealers, caterers, bulk consumers and logistics professionals. After a panel discussion addressing the «energy hog myth», the highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the Golden Ice Crystal Award for pioneering work in product range development and/or the marketing of frozen food products. The participants will subsequently meet for a sector talk (Monday, 10th October 2011, 06:00 p.m., Congress Centre East, Offenbachsaal, simultaneous German/English translation).

The frozen food sector: Young and successful

More than 50 years ago, Wallace McCain, a young Canadian, had a pioneering idea: McCain and his brother Harrison invested in the still relatively uncommon technology for frozen food and began immediately to produce frozen French fries. «We used to think we could build a business that might make a million USD», McCain later said in looking back at his success as an entrepreneur. McCain died in May 2011 at age 81, leaving his wife Margaret and family a fortune estimated at 2,3 billion USD. The company he founded, and in which he most recently held more than one third of the shares, today employs approximately 20’000 people, produces frozen foods at more than 50 locations and generates an annual turnover equivalent to about 6,5 billion USD.

Today frozen potatoes are still among the five biggest product groups in the German market for frozen foods. And in the European market as a whole, they are even bigger than frozen vegetables and hold the undisputed number one position in frozen foods. The trend is moving more towards potato specialities such as rösti, Pommes Macaire and croquettes, however.

But the popularity of frozen food products made its way from North America to Europe very gradually at first. The moment considered the real birth of frozen food came on 6th March 1930, when the first frozen food case was installed in a retail shop in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts in the USA. In Germany, frozen food made a late but attention-getting premiere in 1955 at Anuga in Cologne, where six German exhibitors, pioneers in frozen foods, presented their products for the first time in packaging sizes appropriate for household consumption. They could hardly have found a better platform for the debut than the world´s leading food trade fair. And as the appliance technology of German households then steadily improved, demand for frozen food products also increased. In 1970, per-capita consumption of frozen food in Germany was ten kilograms a year. Last year, frozen food consumption finally broke the 40 kilogram barrier, which corresponds approximately to the average per capita consumption in Europe as a whole.

Frozen food continues to have great potential worldwide: A study in the USA forecasts that turnover with frozen food products will increase by 3,6 percent annually between now and 2015. In four years, therefore, the total annual revenues should then be nearly 140 billion USD, compared to slightly over 110 billion USD in 2010. Opportunities for growth vary from region to region, though. While Americans remain the undisputed top consumers of frozen food in the world, with an annual per-capita consumption of nearly 52 kilograms, a position they have held for years, however, the sector companies see good possibilities of market development above all in eastern Europe and in Asia.

In Asia the frozen food producers are looking to China in particular, where annual average consumption of frozen food products is currently as low as about three kilograms. With its 1,3 billion inhabitants, the world´s most populous country may well offer the greatest growth potential by a wide margin. Experts expect a total turnover growth of 30 percent within the next five years, reaching the equivalent of roughly 14 billion EUR. This growth will be helped by a rapidly developing infrastructure with a closed cold chain, and by improved transport and storage capacities for frozen food.

Thanks to increasing prosperity, growing numbers of consumers in eastern Europe are purchasing modern refrigerators and freezers. The market for frozen food in the Czech Republic is developing well, for instance, while Romania and Bulgaria are still lagging behind.

In general, a north-south divide has been evident in Europe for many years in terms of acceptance of frozen food products. Frozen food is especially popular in Scandinavia, while consumers in Spain and Italy are still slowly beginning to appreciate the advantages of frozen products. But the steadily increasing variety of products in supermarkets´ frozen food sections, the growing number of working women and the increasing number of single-person households are factors leading to greater demand in the Mediterranean regions of Europe as well. Germany remains the biggest market for frozen food in Europe by far, measured in terms of volume, with annual revenues most recently reaching 11,4 billion EUR.

In addition to French fries, some of the most popular frozen food products among German consumers are fruit, vegetables, baked goods and convenience food. A clear trend in consumer behaviour is toward greater awareness of good nutrition. This is why many producers are eliminating previously standard ingredients such as aromas or other additives, using cream instead of powdered milk in their recipes for example. «Clean label» is the term used to refer to this new, voluntary commitment to purity.

In addition, the sector wants to dispel the prejudiced claim that frozen food has a very bad climate balance sheet. Initial findings of a study jointly conducted by the Freiburg-based Oeko-Institut and the German Institute for Frozen Products (dti) indicate that a blanket judgement of frozen food is not justified from a scientific point of view. In terms of baked goods, for example, the climate balance sheet of frozen and non-frozen products is at the same level.

In recent years there has been exceptionally strong development in the «ethno food» segment. For example the company Mekkafood, which is based in Nettetal in the Lower Rhine region, produces all of its exotic food products with lamb, beef and chicken that has been ritually slaughtered according to Islamic law. The frozen foods produced in line with the strict Islamic rules, such as «döner kebab» and «lahmacun», are certified as «halal», a term that means «permitted» or «allowed» in Arabic and gives Muslims and many other fans of oriental dishes the desired degree of food safety.

The Vion subsidiary Salomon Foodworld, on the other hand, is focusing on the trend towards Asian cuisine. The Hessen-based company wants to impress the «in» dining establishments, bistros and hotel bars with its «Serveasy Asia» food system. The focus is on Asian products that are not only free of preservatives and artificial aromas, but also come served on a palm leaf in the traditional Asian manner.

And the fish and seafood company Pickenpack-Hussmann + Hahn Seafood (PHHS) also is aiming to meet the needs of its international customers at Anuga Frozen Food. In early June 2011 the own-brand producer based in Lüneburg was in the news when its previous owner, the Islandic Group, sold PHHS to a consortium led by a Chinese company, the raw ingredients supplier Pacific Andes. The Chinese company, which also supplies numerous competitors of PHHS, gains an attractive sales platform of its own as a result of the acquisition. The deal will also surely be the focus of lots of discussions at Frozen Food.

Source: Bakenet