COLOGNE, GERMANY – “Transform” is the theme of the 2021 Anuga food and beverage trade show to acknowledge the impact the global pandemic has had on people’s lives and the show itself, which will be held in person at the Koelnmesse exhibition center located in Cologne, Germany, and in a virtual format called Anuga@home Oct. 9-13.

Koelmesse also revised the trend topics for Anuga 2021. Megatrends like sustainability, health and nutrition are growing in importance to consumers and product manufacturers tasked with meeting demand.

“Consumers are looking for products with added value, and so this is a focus for this year,” said Stefanie Mauritz, director of Anuga. “Because we see that the food industry is in a transformation process, we have a focus on topics like plant-based products, products made in a sustainable way or packaged in a sustainable way, and also this new topic of cultured meat. So, we see that the megatrends which started before the pandemic developed even faster during the last months because the consumer needs changed.”

Attendance options

To date, 94 countries are registered to exhibit at Anuga 2021, down slightly from 2019 when 102 countries participated. But countries that couldn’t send representatives are planning online programs and presentations, organizers said.

Anuga 2021 organizers recognize that some restrictions will remain in place through the year and not all companies interested in exhibiting at the show or sending representatives to Cologne will be allowed to travel. To address this scenario, Koelnmesse created Anuga @home, a new digital platform that offers exhibitors various presentation options.

“We already planned digital shows before the pandemic, but now this process was hastened by five years, so we had to implement it very, very quickly,” Mauritz said.

The platform is accessed via a virtual lobby where visitors can find an overview of all the features available in addition to recommendations for relevant contacts, exhibitors and imminent items on the trade fair agenda.

Additional components include “Main Stages” which features the program curated by Anuga. Top speakers will present industry themes – live on-site from Cologne or via video stream from everywhere in the world – via the “Congress Stages.” New products and show highlights can be found on the “Product Stages.”

Anuga also is providing group-specific stages such as the “Anuga Trade Shows Stage”, the “Anuga Start-up Stage,” the “Anuga taste Innovation Stage” and the “Anuga Food Trends Stage.” Anuga @home visitors will have access to the virtual content from Oct. 11-13 and on-demand afterward.

Virtual platform users won’t miss networking opportunities with the Anuga Discovery Graph.

“There is artificial intelligence behind it, and it matches people with similar interests,” Mauritz said. “This is very interesting to create new contacts in the community; it’s a little bit like a social network for our Anuga community.”

Safety matters

Exhibitor and visitor safety is top of mind for Koelnmesse, which organizes the show, took numerous steps and made significant facility upgrades to ensure a contactless registration and check-in process without disruption to the tradeshow experience. In-person attendees can expect to see wider aisles to accommodate social distancing in the exhibit halls. Registration and ticketing will be done online, and attendees will be required to wear masks.

Attendees who download an Anuga mobile app can keep abreast of which exhibit halls may be too crowded for comfort via a traffic light system. And exhibitors will be able to track how many visitors are at their booths to avoid overcrowding.

Mette Petersen, president of Koelnmesse North America, said show organizers are planning to provide a COVID-19 testing center at the exhibition center for attendees to be tested before returning home.