Anuga is a bi-annual event held in Köln, Germany. For many in the food and beverage industry it’s the most important trade event to showcase new products, innovations and crucially find new customers.
I travelled all the way from Japan for the October 2023 show.
What did I find?
First, even though the show is held over 5 days, this probably isn’t long enough to see all the main exhibitors, never mind hold productive meetings.
Second, even though I have been in the food industry for over 25 years and worked in Europe, Asia and Middle East, the vast majority of companies and brands I didn’t know. It was a timely reminder that whatever one reads on market research reports, the food industry is really fragmented.
Third, you must do some research before visiting a show of this scale in advance. After a while walking the aisles, everything blurs and you can get lost in a swamp of delicious samples, pack colours and noise. I had a list of companies and people I wanted to meet and tried to make as many appointments in advance as possible.
Fourth, this is a product show. “Well there’s a surprise!” I hear you intone, somewhat sarcastically. Of course it’s a product show but there was little attention that I saw to how most companies want to activate their wonderful products, brands and innovations in the market place. The majority of visitors are trade people, meaning retailers, wholesalers, food service professionals and so on. They want to know how to implement.
Fifth, and perhaps most encouraging, the mood was upbeat. I read the financial press daily and there aren’t many positive headlines frankly. Did I hear much talk of recession or slowdown at Anuga? No.
Finally, and most encouraging, Asia-Pacific remains high on the agenda for many. As many of you know I live in Japan. The interest in Japanese food and culture was particularly high, especially amongst many of the French exhibitors.