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World class frozen food manufacturers shine brightly at ANUGA '91 exhibition.

World Class Frozen Food Manufacturers Shine Brightly at ANUGA '91 Exhibition

From Schlemmer-Filet Florentine and Angulas de Surimi to Chikuwa packs and Vietnamese Loempia, tasty value added dishes are presented to a global gathering of discriminate buyers.

Once again, the ANUGA Fair has proved that it is second to none when it comes to food shows. Held every two years in Cologne, the October 1991 rendition saw foreign attendance rise to 35% of the 200,000 trade visitors from 130 countries who flocked to the sprawling Koln Messe. The six-day event attracted 6,154 exhibiting firms from 90 countries, including 4,315 non-German manufacturers.

While deep frozen products could be found in most of the 14 exhibition halls extending over a gross display area of 250,000 square meters, a constellation of frozen food companies shined brightest in hall 10. Indeed, more QFF manufacturers were assembled there than at any other show in the world -- even those devoted entirely to frozens.

Interestingly, the 1991 theme of "Growth through Quality" tied in nicely with qualitative growth phases that a lot of frozen food companies are now embracing internationally.

"Suppliers of frozen food specialities found that dealers were specifically interested in higher quality dishes and preparations," noted an ANUGA spokesman. "These included new pizza creations and potato products based on sophisticated recipes developed for the gourmet palate."

Many meat, fish and frozen food purveyors highlighted general health and fitness attributes of their products in strategic appeals to the growing demand for light and low-fat fare. In the fish and seafood sector, quality and exclusivity were emphasized as prime selling points, with price said to be of secondary importance.

As in past years, the fair was divided into three major sections: consuma, technica and gastroma. Some 70% of the trade visitors spent most of their time in the consuma aisles, according to ANUGA organizers. And out of a crowd of 140,000 potential buyers, 35% focused their interest primarily on frozen foods. Indeed, the frozen food stands were second in popularity only to those of meat and meat producers, which registered a 42% share.

Quick Frozen Foods International magazine personnel were on the scene for the duration of the show, interviewing hundreds of industry executives and product managers. Capsule reports of some of the information garnered follow. Unfortunately, however, limitation of space makes it impossible to cover every company that was contacted.

Conrad Meinke of Luneburg, Germany-headquartered Packfisch reported that while "the big boom in the former DDR is over," demand for long-desired consumer goods in neighboring Poland remains strong. "It started with coffee, detergents and whiskey -- items that were easy to physically deliver," he explained. "Once they were in ample supply, people looked into distributing other things like frozen food."

Fish fingers were among the first added value items to be quickly snapped up. Last summer ice cream from foreign producers flooded into the marketplace, with sales not cooling down until fall weather arrived. Now, with winter in full force, freezer cases have yielded space to vegetables and other products.

Meanwhile, Packfisch has introduced a number of new 400g value added whitefish offerings to its primary markets in Western Europe. Introduced at ANUGA were Schlemmer-Filet Florentine and Poisson aux Bordelaise. The former, which sells for about DM 4, features a spinach and cheese topping. It can adequately feed two people if served with bread.

Poisson aux Broccoli is reportedly being well received in France. The Alaskan cod filet comes with sauce. As for the Dutch market, Packfisch predicts that Schlemmer-Filets will soon be the second best selling frozen fish product behind fish fingers.

Raw materials present no problem in the near term, as steady supplies of virtually all species -- including cod -- should keep the market stable. "There are sufficient quantities available now, so the consumer should benefit at the same time that the trade enjoys a very good profit margin," remarked Herr Meinke.


A cautiously optimistic view of the German frozen fish market was offered by Thomas Dittrich of Frosta. "But we will have to wait to see fourth quarter sales results before a full assessment is made," he hedged.

While skyrocketing raw materials cost increases of 30% to 40% have now stabilized at around 15%, seafood consumers have generally continued to balk at high prices. However, this is not so for the fish-based added value ready-meal segment, where upward volume has bucked the price resistance trend. Perhaps Frosta's aggressive discount strategy -- its prices are roughly 10% lower than those of chief rival Langnese-Iglo -- is playing a part here.

Interestingly, in the new federal states, brisk sales of fish fingers, fish cakes and 400g packs of Rotbarsch Filets show no sign of slowing down. "But upmarket Schlemmer Filets with cream aren't popular there," noted Herr Dittrich, "as customers prefer to add their own value inexpensively at home."

Frosta, which ranks as the second largest brand on the German retail frozen fish and vegetable market, is part of the Nordstern group. Products run the gamut from crumbled and gourmet fish filets to spinach and some 50 other single and blended vegetable offerings.

The company is first in the fruit category, specializing in 750g bags of raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, red currants, a Bunter Beerenkorb mixture and other varieties sold under the Fruit Paradise label. Bulk 1,500g packs are available to canteens.

Sister company F. Schottke, which manufactures more than 300 frozen products for European distribution, is also a major contributor to Nordstern revenues -- which hit DM 373 million in 1990. Other subsidiaries are Copack (a private label specialist), Elbtal and Raiffeissen Tiefkuhlkost, plus Deutsche Fischfang Union (a processor-trawler fleet).

The company's 1990 annual report, while accurately predicting a downturn in demand for frozen fish, accentuated other sectors that Nordstern engaged in. "The ready-to-serve dishes shall grow over-proportionately," it pointed out. "In the future we will concentrate especially on this segment. In total, we expect double-digit turnover in growth during 1991. And our good position in the new states will make it possible to participate in this growing market in the future."

An analysis of 1990 receipts showed that fish items accounted for DM 215 million, which represented a 16% rise over the previous year. Vegetable sales reached DM 84 million (+ 55%), while other products generated DM 74 million (+ 21%).

Herr Dittrich pointed to a number of new products introduced in 1991 which underscore the company's commitment to consumer convenience. Among them were Chop Suey, Paella, Chicken Frikassee, Indian Chicken and Sylter Fischphanne. The latter is derived from a typical German seacoast recipe, except that the center of the plate is made from Alaskan pollock instead of local species.

Meanwhile, the Group continues to invest in upgrading production and cold storage facilities. Schottke alone spent more than DM 30 million on improvements last year. The opening of a new computer-controlled warehouse brought capacity to 8,500 pallet positions.


A visit to the Nichirei Corporation stand found an interesting culinary marriage between Spanish gastronomy and Japanese technical know-how. The Tokyo-headquartered multinational food manufacturer and warehouse operator has collaborated with Angulas Aguinaga, S.A. of Spain to create Angulas de Surimi.

Three years in development, this version of the classic baby eel delicacy will initially be marketed in Spain, Italy and southern France. Packed in a range of 200g to 500g containers, the primary ingredient is Alaskan pollock. But the product resembles the size, shape, texture and flavor of wild angulas, whose numbers are now in very short supply and hence are expensive to buy.

Anne Senanayake, Nichirei's general manager-Europe of international business planning, is excited about the introduction of Angulas de Surimi. Equal enthusiasm was expressed regarding breaded Japanese-style prawns, butterfly prawns and prawn fritters, which are available for both deep-fry and oven cooking.

"There is particular interest in Europe right now for exotic products from the East," she said, "so we're offering caterers and retailers a number of branded and private label items including surimi crabsticks, crabflakes and wisps."

It seems that the next phase of Nichirei's strategic expansion in Europe is well under way. The $2.74 billion company, which in Japan alone produces some 1,300 different food products, is positioning itself to feed a lot more than expatriate Japanese in the 320-million population EEC. It has already put together a far-reaching logistics infrastructure with the acquisitions of Dutch cold storage warehouse operations Eurofrigo BV and HIWA BV, in addition to Thermotraffic GmbH, a German refrigerated transport concern.

Filipino Flair

Another interesting line of value added marine products shown at ANUGA came form Mindanao Food Corporation of Quezon City, the Philippines. Its Sea Fare label features Cuttlefish Balls, Shrimp Nuggets and Tempura in 500g retail packages. The former, a favorite among Asian consumers, is flavored with garlic and seasonings. The product may be pan-fried, stir-fried, microwaved or oven-prepared.

Mindanao also turns out a 390g, six-piece box of burger-size Fish Patties as well as a 400g Chikuwa pack. The latter is a ready-to-eat, surimi-based fishcake roll which resembles bamboo in appearance. Traditionally eaten as a snack or appetizer, one serving suggestion is to cut the product diagonally into half-inch rings before mixing with sauteed vegetables or noodles.

"Our added value marine product lines have received a lot of interest from European buyers," said Danilo R. Santico, special projects manager. "There is clearly a budding market here for Filipino food, as well as a growing demand for convenience seafoods in general."

Canadian Catches

Fishery Products International (FPI) showed off its Newfoundland Cod Fillets. Available in four-, five-, six- and seven-ounce sizes, the portion controlled foodservice items come in vacuum-sealed packages.

The Canadian company also highlighted the sous vide Crabes au Gratin it produces under the Maripac label for Migros Cooperatives. Two in-shell units come per 227g box, which retails for about six or seven Swiss francs.

As for shrimp, it was announced that FPI will be marketing King & Prince brand product in Europe through its Clouston Foods operation in the United Kingdom.

Apetito Crosses Channel

The big news at the Apetito AG stand was the German company's launch of home meal services in the United Kingdom market. "We want to revolutionize the meals-on-wheels program in Britain with our client's choice |Menu a la Carte' system," advised Hans-Joachim Heinrichs, export director.

Operating out of West Kent Cold Storage facilities in Sevenoaks, Kent, Apetito is initially targeting senior citizen consumers through local Council Government buying arms. Its fully-illustrated catalog features 70 different frozen ready meals running the gamut from Lancashire Hot Pot with Cauliflower and Peas to Steak and Kidney Pudding with Garden Peas and Parsley Potatoes. In addition, traditional British sweets, pancakes, soups and salads are available.

The meals, which sell for between 1.50 [pounds] and 2.50 [pounds], are packed in dual-ovenable compartmentalized trays which are delivered at weekly intervals to customers who have personally placed orders in advance. They may choose dishes suitable for either normal, low calorie or diabetic diets.

Heinrichs noted that food ingredients in the Apetito line account for upwards of 70% of meal costs, which was said to be more than double the investment made by some other suppliers. "We think that the elderly deserve a wide choice of good meals, and should not be forced to accept muck from a truck," he added.

Apetito, which boasts 70% of the German meals-on-wheels market, has been producing frozen dinners for 25 years. "I see us repeating this success in the United Kingdom," said the export director. "We're already in the Netherlands and Austria, and soon we will start operations in France and Sweden."

The Rheine-headquartered company used the ANUGA venue to introduced "Multi Plus," a new portion control system for caterers that utilizes individual module servings. Packaging costs are reduced by 70% as PET trays and aluminum containers have been eliminated.

"All the chef has to do is pull out a required number of frozen modules from a recyclable cardboard box and place them in a bain marie for heating," explained Heinrichs. "So it's both environmentally and economically sound. With exact portion preparation, there is no waste."


Another German company active in packing frozen-ready-to-eat dishes and components for the catering market is Hansa Tiefkuhlmenu. In business for 25 years, today's daily output of 400,000 meals from three production sites is supplied to industrial, institutional, fast food, hotel and retail accounts.

At ANUGA, Hans Jurgen Sechting told Quick Frozen Foods International that the Hilter-headquartered company's a-la-carte system offers a comprehensive line of menus which cater to individual needs. Recipes range from Continental to Chinese, with a focus on poultry-, minced meat-, pasta-, and fish-based products. Also offered is an assortment of modern gratins with or without meat, omeletes with mushrooms and ham, and pancakes with fruit or yogurt.

Hansa is also addressing the growing private label market in Europe. "We are offering real alternatives to high-priced, branded products," said Sechting. "Our attractive ready-cooked packages provide store owners with high rates of return."

Sourcing raw materials worldwide, the company's recipes are developed by gourmet cooks, he added. Meals are available in single- and multi-portion trays, as well as in household bulk packs. Menu components, soups and garnish meats come in cooking bags which may be boiled or microwaved.

Hansa is presently concentrating its export efforts in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In March sales campaigns will be launched in Sweden and France.

McCartney's Line

Ross Young's of Grimsby, England, chose the ANUGA venue to introduce four products from its Linda McCartney range of frozen vegetarian dishes to the European export market. Both the recipe orginator and her pop musician husband Paul were on hand to sing praises for the line.

Now available to retail buyers in the EEC are: Spaghetti Bolognese-style (340g), which is said to be the only meat analog version of the product on the market; Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheese Bake (340g), positioned as either a main course or as a meal accompaniment; 4 Country Pies (760g), based on a minced beef and onion recipe; 4 Creamy Vegetable Wedges (340g), described as a "tasty blend of vegetables in a premium creamy cheese sauce encased in a crispy coating."

Petit T'Chang

Yveng Or Surgele of Saint-Saens, France, exhibited its multi-product assortment of gourmet quality East Asian ready dishes marketed under the Petit T'Chang label. The frozen specialities, developed by Cambodian expatriate Y. Phandara, are now available in different-sized retail packages.

Among the new offerings are Shrimp in Primentee Sauce and Stuffed Crabs Cantonese Style. The latter is distributed in a 300g pack containing two real crab shells filled with crab and pork meat, onions, soy vermicelli, bamboo shoots, Chinese black mushrooms and other ingredients.

Other dishes include: Thai Emince with Cantonese Rice (270g); Shrimps in Spicy Sauce (240g); Caramel Pork Emince with Cantonese Rice (270g); Prawn Fritters (190g); Prawn Spring Rolls (300g); Variety of Hors D'ouvres (a 290g pack of two spring rolls, two prawn fritters, four raviolis and four prawn toasts).

Vietnamese Loempias

Another continental concern packing frozen Asian food is Western Europe Company BV of Nijmeegen, Holland. Under the helm of B.V. Trinh, managing director, it produces a frozen line of Vietnamese Loempias and Spring Rolls for export, while also being active in importing headless and peeled shrimp from China.

Marketing Director Herb Kress had no trouble giving away fried loempia samples at the show. When asked if there is room for another spring roll packer in Europe, he responded: "Just taste it. This is not another belly stuffer, but rather a high quality snack food that is available at a very competitive price."

PHOTO : Frozen FischBurgers, Seelachs and Schlemmer-Filets were among the products on display at the Packfisch stand.

PHOTO : Frosta's seafood lineup runs the gamut from broccoli-filled fillets to Alaska Seelachs packed under the FischGenuss banner.

PHOTO : Chikuwa, which means "bamboo" in Japanese, is a surimi-based fish-cake produced in the Philippines by Mindanao Food Corp. under the Sea Fare label.

PHOTO : Nichirei has teamed up with Angulas Aquinaga, S.A. to produce Surimi Angulas, a low-cost version of the Spanish baby eel delicacy.

PHOTO : Fishery Products International of St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, packs Crabes au Gratin for Migros Cooperatives under the Maripac private label.

PHOTO : Apetito's Menu a la Carte line for the UK home-delivery market is illustrated in color-coded catalogs so that those ordering may select among recipes suited for normal, low calorie, or diabetic dietary requirements.

PHOTO : Paul McCartney was on hand at the ANUGA show to test the quality of vegetarian meals produced by his wife Linda. The frozen line, packed by Ross-Young's in England, is now being offered to European export markets.

PHOTO : The Hansa Tiefkuhlmenu stand at ANUGA featured a wide assortment of deep frozen foods for the catering and retail trades.
COPYRIGHT 1992 E.W. Williams Publications, Inc.
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Title Annotation:Anuga World Food Market
Author:Saulnier, John M.
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:Where has all the surimi seafood gone? Consumption declines considerably in Japan.
Next Article:Also on exhibition at ANUGA was plenty of high-tech frozen food processing equipment.

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