It's massive and it's essential. Sarah Hardcastle finds out what key developments Anuga will be showcasing Retail buyers and decision-makers will soon be heading for Anuga, the world's largest and most international food and drink show, to spot new products and catch up on the latest trends. This massive exhibition, which alternates every two years with its French counterpart SIAL, runs from October 13 to October 17 in Cologne, Germany. It will again occupy the entire hall space of KolnMesse, the fourth largest exhibition centre in the world. Here, well over 6,000 exhibitors from around 100 countries will provide a vast shop window for all the latest products, trends and developments in food and drink retailing, as well as foodservice and the out of home market. Exhibitors cover the full spectrum of food and drink and include many top level global players, as well as small to medium-size companies keen to position themselves in an international context. As a measure of Anuga's international importance, the 1999 event drew 183,000 trade visitors from 152 countries ­ a figure the organisers, KolnMesse and BVL (Federal Asssociation of the German Retail Grocery Trade) confidently expect to exceed this year. Because such a huge show can be difficult to take in, Anuga is divided into 12 product sectors to enable visitors to check out areas of specific interest in a targeted manner. These are: l General provisions and delicatessen products l Meat and poultry l Fish and seafood l Frozen food l Milk and dairy products lBread, cakes, baked goods, and hot drinks l Drinks l Fresh fruit and vegetables l Retail technology, shop fittings and merchandising l Vending l Technology for the catering sector l Anuga Spezial, featuring specialities. This last sector is new and is virtually a separate show within Anuga. It has been introduced to highlight the growing importance of local and regional specialities and to make sourcing these products easier for speciality food buyers. To help visitors speedily locate exactly what they want, products have also been classified into eight industry or theme categories. They include convenience, own label, organic, specialities and fresh products, as well as food wholesaling and retailing. They can be accessed via the Anuga and used to help plan individual itineraries round the show. Anuga is, of course, more than a product showcase. It's also an opportunity to network with new and established contacts and to learn more about the international retail scene. With this in mind, the organisers have created a supporting programme of events, which include: l Trade forum on fruit and vegetables l Business concepts for the future: a show of visual and written presentations covering such topics as the development of trade structures and changing consumer habits l Vending park l International standards for organic foods: forums and panel discussions aiming to clarify the different standards and perspectives on this subject. l The British fresh products market: workshop l Creating value with specialities: an overview of specialitiy food marketing l Convenience congress: the growth of concepts and sales channels There will also be seminars on Bordeaux wine, olive oil and slow food' ­ the revival of reginal culinary cultures and traditions. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}