Anuga, the world's biggest food and drink trade fair, kicked off this weekend amid calls for regulators not to stifle innovation through excessive labelling.

At the opening ceremony, Gerd Härig, chief executive of the Federal Association of the German Retail Grocery Trade, warned that consumers were being swamped with more and more labelling information that did not necessarily make them better informed. And he said the industry was worried about the prospect of new German legislation in this area.

And, echoing the concerns of industry leaders in the UK, Härig said retailers were particularly worried about EU proposals to limit health-related claims on food and drinks.

"Such a prohibition would be a major obstacle to innovation for the European food sector."

Härig also said that Germany's food retailers, battered after a year of virtually no value growth, were looking to Anuga for new ideas that would stimulate their businesses in the coming 12 months.

"The sector is looking for new momentum that will help it expand its product ranges and boost sales."

And they will not be short of ideas. The Grocer's team at Anuga report that the key trends among exhibitors are convenience products, functional foods, and ethnic and world cuisines. As in previous years, organic foods are also well represented.

There are more than 6,000 suppliers from 93 countries represented at the show this year, with a total exhibition area of 286,000 sq m.

Although the show got off to a slow start on Saturday, the organisers were confidently expecting 160,000 visitors from around the world by the time its doors shut on Wednesday.

For more details on the innovations spotted by The Grocer's team at Anuga, make sure you do not miss next Saturday's issue of the magazine.