Putting on a show

I had been starting to forget what the office looks like following an extremely busy March; so much for show season kicks off in September! In the last few weeks I have attended not one, not two, but three food and drink exhibitions.

First up was NutraFormulate, which took place in Birmingham, UK from 17-18 March. Catering to the functional and healthy ingredients market, it combines technical seminars and supplier presentations on the raw materials, ingredients and formulation of functional and healthy foods, alongside an exhibition of suppliers.

The buzzword was still very much ‘natural’, with the likes of Naturex, Diana Foods and Arjuna Natural Extracts all showcasing their latest natural ingredients. A stop at the stand of market research company RTS Resource, which specialises in the global food and beverage ingredients industry, confirmed the continuing drive of all things natural; there is 13 per cent year on year growth in demand for natural additives, natural colours are witnessing 11 per cent year on year growth and natural flavours 8.9 per cent.

Shortly after, I attended the co-located shows Pro2Pac, IFE and Waste-Works in London, UK. From 22-25 March, the three combined events covered the full supply chain for food businesses; from farm to fork to fertiliser and fuel.

With such emphasis on waste and resource efficiency in the industry at present, I was particularly interested in the Waste-Works element, which was new to this year’s event. Whilst here, I was pleased to hear former farm minister and environment secretary Lord Deben call for a ban on food waste to landfill. Lord Deben had little sympathy for retailers still sending food waste to landfill and was critical of the wasteful practices of supermarkets. However, he did emphasise the importance of recognising the efforts of retailers tackling waste so as to encourage them to continue and achieve even more.

Later that week I went off to Cologne, Germany for Anuga FoodTec. By far the biggest exhibition I attended this month, Anuga covers the entire material and technology spectrum for the processing and manufacturing of food and beverages.

While sustainability practices have always been an important factor for manufacturers, there seemed to be particular emphasis on it this year, with most of the exhibiting companies I spoke to leading with the energy saving benefits of their machines and the products they produce. For example, Bosch presented its linear PET blowing module, which allows dairy and beverage producers to minimise material use and energy consumption while providing a range of package shapes and sizes in order to differentiate product at the point of sale; Fristam Pumpen concentrated on its newly developed FPC pump series, which promises a high degree of efficiency, low sound emission and low energy consumption; and Sacmi Imola previewed its new CBF20S, designed to manufacture 100ml HDPE single dose bottles for probiotic products. At 5.5g, the light bottles promise a viable solution in terms of raw material savings, optimisation of energy consumption and low waste disposal costs.

There will be more in depth reviews of these shows in upcoming issues of Food & Drink Technology.

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