Last week, I had the opportunity to attend Biofach and Vivaness 2011: the World Organic Trade Fair in Nuremburg, Germany. What struck me at this event, was not innovation in new products, but rather the “nuance” approach that the international community takes to organic products and food. By this I mean, instead of feeling the urge to come up with something wild, different and exciting, they embellish and improve upon what they have already done and usually I found this in the form of outstanding taste, and new flavors. And this approach was applied to everything: cheese, wine, oils, breads, crackers, meats, olives and tapas, spice mixes, pastas, cereals and grains, soups and prepared meals.
This theme was particularly evident when I perused the new products section, whose candidates were vying for the Best New Products Awards. In dairy products, the Best New Product award went to Stevia organic yogurt (produced by Andechser Molkerei Scheitz) whose notable flavors included “orange sallow thorn and passion fruit banana.” Other flavors that stood out in the yogurt category included blackcurrent and cranberry, orange-banana with fiber, and apple-green tea soy yogurt stood out.
Many sparkling waters and drink variations were presented. Flavors included pear rose and cassis, Elderberry, ginger orange, and lychee. On the veggie drink front, drinks by Solutions Vertriebs caught my attention with mixes like “beet, cucumber and fennel.”
Spice and herb mixes were popular, complete with catchy packaging and name twists such as Grandma’s Flash: a spice mixture for muffins by Herbaria Krauterparadies or Dunkler Divan, a spice mix to use with chocolate and coffee, by the same company. These spices won the Best New Product Award in the “Delicatessen & spices category. “
Another standout product and the “drink” category winner was Haus Rabenhorst’s “juice for cooking and drinking.” There were three varieties on offer, in particular the juice mix for cooking meat included blackberry, grape and pear juices, the seafood mix included apple, mango and pineapple juices.
In novelties, chocolate prevailed in all of its usual wonderfulness and multitude of flavors. Something different was Chicca 100% organic and natural biodegradable chewing gum by Phyto Treasures.
Although not in the new product area, I was impressed by the flavors on offer by Organic Bubs, an Australia-based organic baby food company. Offered in BPA-free pouches (the kind that we see applesauce and fruit smashes in), their baby food mixes included: Blueberry, banana & quinoa; sweetcorn, pumpkin and chia; and banana, apricot power porridge.
On the innovation front, there were a couple products that caught my eye. For instance, the packaging used by Bauckhof’s bread-in-a-box. The breads come in a box that is a little wider than say a broth container. The small opening to the package is on the front side, and you just pour in water, shake the mixture so that the water and ingredients mix and then bake the bread. I was particularly enamored with the fact that I could have an easy bake pumpernickel style bread—but being enamored with the packaging is one thing, I can’t speak for the taste.
In the personal care arena, one product that stood out is Douce Nature’s Fleur de Shampooing. This is a solid donut like shampoo…basically, a bar of soap shaped like a flower with a hole in the center. If it works, this would win the most practical product award from me. No more shampoo leaking in your gym bag or suitcase.
Also in personal care, I came across an ingredient I haven’t seen in personal care before: Aronia berries, also known as “chokeberries”. These were used in facial lotions and products made by the Aronia Original Naturprodukte Company. The lotions themselves were actually of a light purple color and went on very smoothly, leaving no layers of film.
Organic cleaning products were also well represented. One company in particular, BEETA Reinigungssystene offered beet root juice based cleaning products. The products themselves have the pinkish hue of beet juice, which I find interesting because I always think of beets as having a strong dye, which in fact has stained my kitchen counters on occasion. But I’m certain they’ve worked this kink out.