Anuga 2021 – Time To Transform

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Anuga 2021 – Time To Transform

Anuga returns to Koelnmesse this October, shining a spotlight on how food and beverage trends have been influenced by the pandemic. ESM reports. This article appeared in ESM's September/October 2021 edition.

Few international food and drink events are as important as Anuga, the biennial trade fair that returns to Germany’s Koelnmesse from 9 to 13 October.

Following 18 months of pandemic-related disruption, the 2021 edition is set to be slightly different to that of years’ past, but no less impactful in terms of generating business opportunities and showcasing food and beverage innovation.

As in previous years, Anuga 2021 will feature the ‘ten trade fairs in one’ concept – including Anuga Bread & Bakery, Anuga Chilled & Fresh Food, Anuga Culinary Concepts, Anuga Dairy, Anuga Drinks, Anuga Fine Food, Anuga Frozen Food, Anuga Hot Beverages, Anuga Meat and Anuga Organic – enabling visitors to experience creative concepts and innovative new products in the segments most aligned with their business. But as any previous visitor knows, this is just one aspect of the broader Anuga offering.


This year’s Anuga sees the introduction of a new hybrid format, with a digital event to run parallel with the in-person trade fair. The digital platform, Anuga@home, will offer users all the features associated with visiting the fair; including offering recommendations on relevant contacts, exhibitor information, and access to conferences and seminars.


“Meeting in person is always a better experience,” Oliver Frese, chief operating officer of Koelnmesse, explained at a press preview event back in May. “But we know that not everybody will be able to travel, so we want to make it possible for everybody to join Anuga digitally.”

At the core of the Anuga@home platform is the ‘Showfloor’ area, a digital counterpart to the exhibition hall, in which guests can organise meetings with exhibitors, buyers, industry experts and media representatives through video, audio or chat functions, while the accompanying ‘Discovery Graph’ makes identifying relevant contacts and companies a simple process.

Allied to this, the ‘Main Stages’ area of Anuga@home features a series of presentations, conferences and seminars. Top speakers will address industry themes via the Congress Stages, while new products will be showcased on the Product Stages. In addition, the Anuga Trade Shows Stage, the Anuga Start-up Stage, the Anuga taste Innovation Stage and the Anuga Food Trends Stage will feature a broad array of topics. The live programme of Anuga@home will be available from 11 October to 13 October, with access to networking options remaining open even after the physical trade fair closes.

Encouraging Signs

Given the challenges of the past year, the prospects for this year’s Anuga are promising. A recent visitor survey, carried out among more than 4,000 buyers worldwide, found that 88% are planning to take part in Anuga this October – 54% plan to visit the fair, while 34% are planning to engage in a combination of in-person and digital participation.


The importance of trade fairs was also underlined by the survey – some 80% of respondents said that they are looking forward to finally being able to visit physical trade fairs like Anuga again, while 73% are convinced that food and beverage trade fairs are ‘irreplaceable’ in terms of generating business. In addition, 85% stated that their product procurement was ‘dependant’ on trade fairs, and 87% have said that they do not plan to reduce their number of trade fair visits. Just 6% of respondents said that they have no plans to physically visit trade fairs in 2021.

To ensure that hygiene and safety is maintained for both attendees and exhibitors, Koelnmesse has developed the #B-SAFE4business concept in coordination with authorities, which will see the issuing of personalised, digital tickets and contactless access controls, as well as body scanners in all entrance areas. The organisers are encouraging all attendees to register online in advance of the event, to ensure that they meet all requirements – no tickets will be on sale at the event.

Each attendee will be required to present digital proof of full vaccination, be fully recovered from COVID-19 at least 28 days before the show starts, or have received a negative test result within the last 48 hours for antigen tests or 72 hours for PCR tests. The EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC), issued by EU member states, is accepted as digital proof of vaccination.

An online Ticket Shop for Anuga 2021 is now open, at which exhibitors, visitors, media representatives and service personnel can register for digital tickets. After redeeming a code or purchasing a ticket in the Ticket Shop, a digital ticket will be available on their smartphone. This ticket can then be activated in the Anuga app, which is available to download from Google Play and the App Store.


Ready To Transform

The theme of Anuga 2021 is ‘Transform’, and the world’s largest trade fair for food and beverages is well-positioned to explore how the market has transitioned over the past year and a half, and what future transformation awaits.

At May’s press preview for this year’s Anuga, the topic of ‘Transform’ was explored in more detail, with a number of industry experts participating in a discussion on how the food and beverage industry has evolved in recent years, particularly during the pandemic.

Daniel Anthes, trend and sustainability expert at the Frankfurt Zukunftsinstitut (Frankfurt Future Institute), gave a keynote presentation, in which he explored how the innovations of today are going to serve us well as the world’s population grows to an estimated 10 billion people by 2050.

“Food is an ambassador of change in society,” he explained. “That’s why it’s important to zoom out and look at the drivers of change – what are the mega trends that will impact how we eat?”


A panel discussion also featured, which included input from industry experts Franz-Martin Rausch, general manager of the German Association of the Retail Grocery Trade (BVLH); Stefanie Sabet, managing director and Head of the Brussels Office, Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE); Karl Wehner, managing director at Alibaba in the DACH region, as well as Eastern Europe and Turkey; and Timo Recker, co-founder and CEO of Next Gen, a plant-based meat manufacturer.

“We believe that the transformation of food is going full throttle,” Sabet explained during the panel discussion, highlighting the growth in sustainable thinking, as well as the embrace of health and nutrition and animal welfare across the industry. In terms of how the food and beverage sector has responded to the challenges of the pandemic, Sabet suggested that the industry has demonstrated its ability to “respond to sudden shocks”, but added that things “still need to be optimised” to deal with the potential shocks of the future.

Her sentiments were echoed by the BVLH’s Franz-Martin Rausch, who suggested that when it comes to product reformulation – such as that related to health and wellness concerns – the food and beverage sector needs to adopt a slow and steady approach to transformation. “Consumers expect a certain product to have a certain taste,” he explained. In order for consumers to buy-in to product transformation, he added, “change cannot happen abruptly – sometimes it takes years to achieve.” Expect these topics and more to be among the discussion points at Anuga 2021.

The theme of ‘Transform’ will also be explored through the congress and event programme at Anuga 2021, which will include the debut of the New Food Conference (organised by ProVeg), Europe’s largest conference on alternative proteins, which will examine the future prospects for the rapidly-growing plant-based segment. Also, ZNU – the Centre for Sustainable Corporate Management, will host a dedicated conference to explore sustainability challenges across the food and beverage supply chain.

Elsewhere, the third edition of Newtrition X is set to take place this year, featuring the theme ‘Personalised Nutrition in Practice’. Here, attendees can look forward to a varied programme of presentations from industry experts, including Peter Heshof, Bloom trend and marketing agency; Sergej Vdovitchenko of Austria’s My Healthy Food; Michael Gusko, chairman of the foodRegio Focus Group; Mariette Abrahams, founder and CEO of Qina, a platform that helps companies find, navigate and compare ecosystem partners in personalised nutrition; Rachel Clarkson, a UK-based dietitian; Benedikt Kurz, business development manager at wearable tech firm Garmin Health; Melissa Snover, CEO and founder, Nourished, and others.

Market Movers

Two dedicated focus areas at Anuga 2021, Anuga Organic Market and Anuga Halal Market, will draw attention to the fast-growing organic and halal food and beverage sectors, respectively.

Since 2003, Koelnmesse and bioPress-Verlag have presented a dedicated ‘supermarket’ with organic food at Koelnmesse’s Hall 5.1. At the last Anuga, in 2019, more than 1,500 organic products for the food retail trade featured at the Anuga Organic Market, and this year is expected to be no different. Allied to this, the Anuga Organic Forum will feature discussions and debate around the topics that influence the organic industry, and will be presented on the Anuga@home platform.

Elsewhere, building on its presence at previous shows, Anuga Halal Market returns to Anuga 2021, showcasing the latest innovations in this major product category. Around 1.5 billion Muslims live in more than 100 countries worldwide – equating to around a quarter of the world’s population – and halal products are becoming increasingly important in both Muslim countries and in international markets. Anuga Halal Market will shine a spotlight on the manufacturers leading this innovation charge.

Anuga taste Innovation Show

Another highlight of Anuga 2021 is the Anuga taste Innovation Show, which acts as a global trend barometer and source of inspiration for global food businesses. Since mid-July, all exhibitors at Anuga 2021 have had the opportunity to submit their product innovations for consideration in the Anuga Taste Innovation Show, with an expert jury of journalists and market researchers called upon to select the top innovations on an industry-wide basis.

The leading innovations will be presented as part of a special Anuga taste Innovation Show digital presentation on the Anuga@home platform, while all selected innovations will also be presented on the Anuga website, as well as receiving extensive press coverage. At Anuga 2019, a total of 64 winners were selected from around 845 companies and more than 2,250 innovations.

A full list of all the events taking place at Anuga 2021, as well as further details for both attendees and exhibitors, can be found at All photos courtesy Koelnmesse.

© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. For more Retail news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.


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