Every couple of years the world comes to Cologne in the shape of the Anuga food and drink show. Some 6,500 exhibitors descend on the city and fill the many halls of the Koelnmesse convention centre with every product you can imagine, and quite a few you probably can’t.
Take, for example, the jelly that contains a consumer’s daily vitamin dose. Packaged in a small, toothpaste-style tube, it drew the unwanted attention of security staff at Cologne airport when your intrepid reporter headed home from the show.
But, as if to prove you never can tell, one of the stars of the show - and recipient of an innovation award at the event - was the coming together of fruit juice and vinegar as soft drink Drinkvinegar. As someone who sees vinegar as an easy way of ruining a perfectly good bag of chips, I was understandably surprised to find the combination really worked. From the number of enthusiastic Brits gathered at the producer’s booth, don’t be shocked if you see it hitting these shores.
But Anuga isn’t only about tastes - there’s the smells. Such as the meat hall, which no doubt contained many wonderful products but was probably best only ventured into by those with a strong stomach - or a sinus infection.
Then there’s the sights. ‘Booth babes’ are a part of pretty much every trade show and Anuga was no different. The drinks hall, in particular, offered an array of hot pants that had your humble correspondent experiencing flashbacks to Hot Gossip-era Top of the Pops.
But let’s all spare a thought for the girl employed to lay on the floor of a seafood booth, clad in only a mermaid’s tail and a bikini top while spreading the word about krabben (prawn) crackers.
Think about her next time your job is getting you down. But for those of you wanting to get ahead of the game in terms of what products are going to be making a proper splash over here – then check this Saturday’s issue of The Grocer.