Donna Berry

For the 6,294 food- and beverage-related companies that exhibited at the world's largest food fair-ANUGA-in Cologne, Germany, from October 8 to 12, the fair was an opportunity to establish business contacts and conduct business with companies from every corner of the world. For me, it was chance to see, taste and experience global food and beverage innovations and, of course, share this insight with you.

Just as Americans are in the midst of a health and wellness revolution, so is the rest of the industrialized world. Functional whey beverages and probiotics were very prevalent at ANUGA Dairy, one of 10 specialized halls under a single roof, where 319 dairy product marketers from 37 countries displayed their wares. Almost all of Europe's market leaders exhibited at ANUGA Dairy, alongside numerous leading companies from Eastern Europe and overseas. Other trend themes included products with an indulgence factor and those that offer convenience.

For example, German's Zott GmbH & Co. KG rolled out Zott Jogolé Probiotik Drink. This low-fat, shot-style functional drink contains theLactobacillus Casei Belactiva3 strain. The company has added decadent dessert flavors to its cup yogurt line, including apple-cinnamon-caramel and chocolate-almond.

Indeed, around the world, growing numbers of consumers are taking the initiative to personally implement their own preventive health care measures. In doing so, they also are turning to dairy products that offer additional benefits. "In the dairy business, the trend continues to be toward healthy products. Liquid dairy products, in particular, are in demand in Germany, especially probiotic drinks and whey," says Wolfram Hemmelmann, a dairy expert at ACNielsen, in describing the latest development in the dairy business. The "engine" driving this development is clearly the innovative strength displayed by the industry, which attracts new consumer groups with a host of new and further developed products.

Austria's Blue Cow now markets a refreshing drink based on whey and flavored with mango and passionfruit. The product comes in an innovative plastic thermos bottle.

Germany's largest milk processor, Nordmilch eG, debuted new beverages under the Milram Vitality brand. Milram Vitality Milk + Fruit is a light mixed beverage with just 0.4% fat, and is a balanced combination of milk and fruit juice. Enriched with a touch of whey, the wholesome drink is available in four fruity varieties: Apple, Pink Grapefruit, Multi-vitamins and Orange-Mango.

Milram Vitality Sport with L-Carnitine is an isotonic whey-based beverage for all those who enjoy exercise. The calorie-reduced drink with only 0.04% fat is distinguished by the addition of the body's own vitamin-like substance L-Carnitine, which supports fat metabolism in the cells. The light drink is available in the flavors "Red" and "Green."

The Milram Vitality Whey + Tea Drinks also have only 0.04 % fat and are reduced-sugar. Flavors include Green Tea with Papaya-Mango, Lemon and Peach.

Tirol Milch of Austria markets an extensive line of whey-based beverages under the Latella brand. Combined with fruit juice, the company says that the "whey makes Latella into a valuable natural product with special that can made a real contribution to healthy living. It contains all of the constituents of milk and is almost fat free. The high mineral content and the important vitamins, along with the natural lactose, make Latella into a delicious fitness drink. The Latella "plus" brand also contains ginseng and balm extracts for added wellness benefits.

Under the Latella "fresh" brand, the company markets a range of refreshing beverages based on fruit juice, whey and tea extracts.

The big announcement from Tirol Milch was the roll out of Latella l.i.f.e., which is marketed as a whey drink that helps consumers control their weight. The beverage is said to slow down the process of insulin release in the body, and supports the body's fat-burning process.

London's Innocent Ltd., markets a line of fruit smoothies, one of which includes probiotic yogurt.

Another area worth mentioning is in the area of coffee-milk beverages, which are becoming very prevalent throughout Europe. These ready-to-drink beverages are typically fresh drinks and require refrigeration. They are made by dairies and marketed not only for their coffee content, but the milk content, too. This is something not very common in the United States. With chocolate milks, many companies position these beverages as premium products, using only the best chocolate available to them.

The market for dairy products is also enjoying strong momentum thanks to cheese. The convenience trend is just as unmistakable with cheese products as with milk products. Popular products here are practical, re-closable packages, pre-grated cheeses in combination with herbs and spices.

The Italian company Dalter Alimentari Spa, a leader in fresh grated cheese innovations, introduced Parmi Grated and Parmi Petals at ANUGA. Special containers enable consumers to grate or slice (petals) fresh Parmesan Reggiano cheese and store the cheese in the same container. Fanciful sliced petals of cheese are also available in careful packaging to prevent breakage.

Finnish Cheese Company adds new flavors to its Silva branded cheese spread range. Sold in glass jars, which can be later used as drinking glasses, new flavors include Wasabi and Reindeer. That's correct, reindeer. Exotic game flavors are very common in Finland. In fact, the company already has Bear, Moose and Wild Boar cheese spreads in the Silva range.

Tirol Milch introduced its version of cheese steak: KäseSteak. These are no-melt cheese patties, plain or with seasonings, that are suitable for grilling.

There's no doubt in my mind that ANUGA Dairy is an outstanding business platform for the international dairy industry. The fair impressively presents the innovative concepts that generate greater business momentum in the dairy sector. It's where to be if you are a mover and shaker.

Same place, two years from now, will be the next ANUGA. For more information visit www.anuga.com.