Better-for-you foods in single-serve packages debut at SIAL 2010.

Despite France’s service workers’ strike causing transportation nightmares for the exhibitors and attendees of SIAL 2010, this biennial global food show proved to be a success in terms of innovation and business accomplishments. Held October 17 to 21 in Paris, the number of visitors recorded for the first two days of the exhibition had risen in comparison with SIAL 2008; however, strike-related disruptions across the country at the time of the exhibition accounted for an overall 8% decline in visitors.

Even under these circumstances, SIAL acted as a catalyst for global economic trade, with 136,500 professional visitors (compared with 147,860 in 2008), of which 62% were international visitors from more than 200 countries. More exhibitors (5,700 compared with 5,500 for 2008), more countries represented (106, of which 12 were new to SIAL), 25% more innovations and 250 conferences and events drew professionals from all sectors of the food industry. The decision makers attending the exhibition - primarily from mass retail but also from foodservice, on the lookout for post-economic crisis dishes - generated a rise in business contacts compared with 2008, at the height of the crisis. For five days, food professionals showed regained appetite for the products and services displayed in the 19 exhibition sectors spread over the eight halls, with one hall dedicated solely to dairy foods.

Some of the innovations showcased in this hall included Shakeria. This unique milkshake-type beverage is packaged in a spill-proof, reclosable single-serve container that comes complete with a patented telescopic drinking straw. The consumer simply shakes the package that allows for a 40% milk froth foam to develop, and enjoys.

Shakeria is currently marketed in France by Mifroma, but is available for licensing elsewhere in the world. Made using fresh Swiss milk, Shakeria comes in five varieties: Bourbon Vanilla, Cappuccino, Latte Macchiato, Strawberry and Swiss Chocolate.

Also originating in Switzerland, Fromalp AG introduced Hot Cheese Cups. These microwaveable cups are ready in three minutes and function as a sauce or dip. Varieties are Camembert, Raclette and Smoked Cheese.

France’s Elle & Vire International debuted Yaggo, a nutritional dairy drink targeted to children.  Packaged in an innovative aseptic soft pouch with resealable cap, this vitamin- and mineral-enhanced milk comes in three flavors: chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. This product received a special Disney SIAL Award, a recognition created in 2008 to recognize kid-focused foods that comply with Disney’s specific nutritional criteria including limited fat, salt and sugar content, and calorie control with portions adapted to children’s needs at specific ages.

Dairy foods were alive and thriving throughout all the halls, in particular frozen and beverage, as well as the many international pavilions. For example, China’s Inner Mongolia Mengniu Dairy Group introduced Future Star Kid Milk. These aseptic drink boxes of low-fat milk are enriched with docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid associated with brain development.

A number of French cheese companies introduced lower-sodium versions of consumer favorites. For example, two 25% reduced-sodium Camembert cheeses were debuted at the show. One from Lactalis International under the Président brand and another by Compagnie des Fromages under the Coeur de Lion label.

France’s R&R Rolland debuted Andros Coupes Glacées frozen desserts. Made with vanilla ice cream, each single-serve container delivers more than a serving of fruit. The “red fruit” variety contains 60% fruit puree based on apples, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and strawberries. The “exotic fruit” variety is more than 80% fruit including apple, guava, mango and pineapple.

Belgium’s S.A. Corman introduced Balade Choco, a refrigerated dairy-based spread made with Belgium chocolate. This butter-chocolate blend comes in a 250-gram tub and delivers 70 calories per serving, comparably less than butter alone. There are four varieties: Hazelnut, Honey, Milky and Original.

A number of innovative cheese snacking products were showcased. Lactalis is rolling out Orecchiette di Mozzarella, which is a pouch of miniature fresh Mozzarella slices with a concave side. Such a design allows for the addition of vegetable pieces, herbs and other fillings. Les Fromageries Occitanes of France now markets a convenience ready-to-serve tray of assorted French cheeses. Each easy-open package contains five to six 2-ounce pieces of cheese.

Very few dairy foods with functional ingredients were on display at SIAL, most likely due to the questionable future for health claims within the European Union. (See sidebar on page 74.) One noteworthy product launch comes from Ljubljanske Mlekarne, Slovenia. The company describes Ego Age Protect as a line of yogurt drinks that helps keep the body and mind young. Containing a complex of three active ingredients - coenzyme Q10, choline and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) - the drink is designed to protect consumers from the signs of aging. The yogurt drinks are sold in packs of three 125-gram bottles in three flavors: natural, strawberry and raspberry with lemon. Also under the Ego brand, the dairy introduces Slim & Vital, a line of yogurt drinks containing coenzyme Q10 and L-carnitine, a formulation the company says helps regulate body weight and invigorate vitality. 

This is just a taste of what global food shows have to offer. Mark your calendar for the next SIAL, which will be held in Paris from Oct. 21 to 25, 2012. Can’t wait that long to explore the international supermarket? Plan to attend ANUGA 2011 in Cologne, Germany, from Oct. 8 to 12, 2011.