Opinion: Fruit Logistica a taste of what's in store for international markets
By Greenscans co-founder and BerryBroad Juanita Gaglio
My first memory of Berlin was crossing over to East Berlin through Checkpoint Charlie in the summer of 1984. The landscape faded from brilliant Technicolor to black and white with the ubiquitous grey buildings throughout the East. Wide boulevards were deserted as people ambled down them. Available food in the restaurants was in pretty bad shape with currywurst the mainstay on menus. After the fall of the wall in November 1989, I spent once a month in Berlin as part of my territory with a position that I had with a French company.
No article on Fruit Logistica would be complete without a backdrop of this magnificent German city with such strong historical significance. The venue for the expo also is rich in history and dates back to 1926 with the introduction of Green Week. Fruit Logistica opened in 1993 and had its roots in an outdoor event in the 1900’s where farmers convened on various streets to sell their products.
Fruit Logistica is known as the world’s leading trade fair for fresh produce. More than 2,000 exhibitors from 84 countries displayed their produce, in one of the 26 halls, to 56,000 visitors from 139 countries. The event has grown to focus on trade, packaging, marketing, purchasing convenience and organic products. Representing the Hamburg wholesale market, Hans Joachim Conrad described the first Fruit Logistica he attended, in January 1993. He recalled the show being held in the basement, below the “Gruene Woche Fair” (Green Week) with 50 companies attending.
Sights and sounds of the show
Attending the show is akin to preparing for a marathon. Attendees maneuver their way through 26 halls of different countries. Larger producing countries, Italy, Spain, Germany and France seem to have their own hall. During three days, the show begins at 9:00 and is officially over at 6:00, but that is actually when the social networking begins. Many produce organizations and some countries import their own music and food to serve at receptions which remain in the hall.
France served champagne with pate and cheese while the German hall had cabaret performers and steins full of beer. I drooled over the Serrano Ham and Spanish cheese that were being served at the Spanish delegation. Of course, each country served interesting and delicious fare. The most memorable was of to the side of hall 25, the rendition of a tropical rainforest complete with beach chairs and tropical cocktails, it only lacked sand, otherwise a respite to relax heavy legs and sore feet after miles of walking through halls. Belgian chocolates could also provide a “splurge” of energy available at one of the food trolleys.
New products and technology
It is the best place to learn about industry trends and what other countries produce that we might never see in the U.S market. While looking at the 10 nominated products for the Fruit Logistica Innovation Award, I came across a fruit that looked like a sorbet. Helen Hill, Executive Marketing & Sales of Achacha explained that the fruit originates from the Bolivian Amazon basin and is now commercially grown in Australia. Visually, it is stunning with its bright orange color and egg shape. As she twisted it open, out pops soft white flesh that has a sweet and tangy flavor. I asked her where I could find it in the U.S. Unfortunately, the producer does not have sufficient volume to supply the U.S market. When it does arrive, it will no doubt be a hit with foodies. It is very versatile used in cocktails, salads and ice cream and can be stored for several months and not without a high antioxidant benefit.
Another mention is the Yonanas Healthy Frozen Treat Maker, a kitchen appliance that uses only frozen fruit to create a frozen dessert. Trying to increase fruit consumption? This will no doubt do the trick. The end product tastes like soft ice cream and is available at a reasonable price at Target.
Kudos to the Dutch seed breeding company Rijk Zwaan for going one step beyond the development of seeds and created the international salad network to bring consumers and professionals together. The creative site inspires passion and increased consumption of produce with consumers.
A new sweet and seedless pepper took first place – known as the AngelloTM. Convenience and taste, as well as year round availability reflected growing consumer trends.
Pink Lady® continues to seduce European consumers with its aromas of vanilla and strawberries. Meredith Stevens, Assistant Communications & Marketing with the Pink Lady Association of Europe said "It is the most well-known brand in Europe with an overall notoriety of 42% across all markets."
The show is a tremendous opportunity to become immersed in the world of international produce. Today, trade knows no boundaries. Pro*Act CEO, Steve Grinstead and Frieda's CEO/President, Karen Caplan were at the show seeking new and interesting products.
Marty Fischer, CEO of Agro Thermal Systems had a booth in the U.S section to demonstrate an innovative and sustainable solution through heat transfer to crops as an alternative to pesticide use.
I am sorry that I never made it to the Turkish Hall. Istanbul is home of the largest marketplace in the world known as the “Grand Bazaar.”
On a personal note, I was able to launch my new product, the greenscans barcode technology with very positive reception from French, Dutch and Swiss companies. From California to Berlin and despite the bitter cold, it was well worth the trip. Next year, I hope to see many more of my U.S counterparts there, as well as, meeting more twitter friends. Bis Gleich Berlin!
Share your Fruit Logistica experience with us. Let us know what caught your senses at the expo. You can contact the BerryBroad via her website. You can also follow her on Twitter: @berrybroad