Enjoyment and innovation in the aisles of the Global Food Marketplace : No. 37, October 2012
Keen cooks and lovers of good food take note! One of the world’s most important food fairs, SIAL – the Global Food Marketplace – is taking place at Villepinte from 21 to 25 October. The event is held every two years and is the ideal place for discovering the culinary products of the future.
France is represented at the show by almost 1,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro-businesses. It has regained its position as the world’s 4th largest exporter and is also the country with the largest number of exhibitors out of the 100 countries represented this year.
“SIAL serves two specific objectives: opening up export markets and meeting retailers. SMEs are the only sector that need to develop in this niche,” according to Valérie Lobry, Managing Director of the Agriculture and Food Division at SIAL.
French SMEs and the show’s organisers are relying on innovative products to make the point. “For over 20 years, we have been working full time to showcase all the new products in the world and establish a categorisation for every trend in food,” she confirms.
Manufacturers are also promoting new forms of packaging to attract customers. The French group Daregal is launching a frozen infusion in a micro-perforated single-serve sachet. The aim is to retain the flavour of herbs as effectively as possible. Goulibeur, meanwhile, is making life easier for budding cooks with a tart kit. Just add fruit, pop it in the oven and your tart is ready. The company is achieving impressive sales with the product in Canada and has just reached an agreement with a retail chain in Italy.
Triballat Noyal, on the other hand, is offering an organic drinking yogurt in a soft plastic carton, an ideal format for children. The practicality argument is “the kind of requirement consumers have come to see as their due,” according to Xavier Terlet, chairman of intelligence and consultancy firm XTC. The Breton company is also innovating with its recipes, with an organic rice-based speciality vegetable product containing no lactose or gluten. Health benefits of this kind are another consumer concern.
Sensory pleasure, however, is the fundamental reason for making a purchase. Innovative flavours account for 52.5% of new food products according to a study carried out by XTC.
Verquin Confiseur, for example, is marketing fruity chunks dipped in crispy, sugar-coated chocolate. Manufacturer Truffières de Rabasse has combined its flagship truffles with cashew nut in a plastic pot. Groix et Nature, meanwhile, is showcasing its handmade lobster oil made from olive oil infused with cooked lobster shells, herbs and spices. Ideal as an accompaniment to pasta, salads or seafood.
Consumers are increasingly attentive to the idea of the local origin of the products they buy. Some producers are therefore focusing on 100% French produce. La Potagère, for example, has developed a tomato and courgette soup with Bayonne ham based on 100% French ingredients. According to the company, it is a way of supporting French agriculture and the local economy as well as reducing the carbon footprint by using short distribution circuits wherever possible.
18 Innovation Awards and a special prize
SIAL is paying tribute to new products of this kind by promoting them in its Innovation section. For the first time in the history of the event, first held in 1964, it includes two prizes: the SIAL Innovation Awards and the SIAL d’Or Awards. The former are awarded to 18 innovative products that have not yet been marketed, including one special prize.
This year’s award went to the Wikicells project, which has developed a whole new type of food. Invented by French-American chemical engineer David Edwards, Wikicell is a new concept in edible food coatings. It can be applied to any type of product. It has the ecological potential to help reduce or even eliminate the need for traditional packaging.
The SIAL d’Or Awards recognise food products that have achieved commercial success. They are selected by partner magazines from 37 countries around the world. This year, the prize for France was won by winemaking group Gérard Bertrand, which received the award for its sulphur- and additive-free Naturae wine.
The event’s organisers expect to welcome 140,000 visitors to this year’s event, 62% of whom will have come from abroad.