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Import Promotion Desk (IPD) presents special sweeteners and a wide variety of dried fruits from developing and emerging countries

Sweet treats are on offer at the Import Promotion Desk (IPD) stand: Arenga palm sugar and coconut blossom sugar from Indonesia and Sri Lanka as well as date syrup and sugar from Jordan and Tunisia. At Anuga, which takes place from 7 to 11 October in Cologne, Germany, IPD will also present a wide variety of dried fruits, purees and fruit chunks. Producers from Egypt, Tunisia, Colombia, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan will bring this fruity sweetness to Cologne. All in all, the import promotion initiative, a project of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), is presenting over 40 companies from 13 developing and emerging countries at Anuga in Hall 4.1, booth C91. The screened producers have a very diverse range of natural ingredients in their luggage.

Sugar from flower nectar of the coconut and Arenga palm tree

An exclusive sweetness is extracted from flower nectar of the coconut palm and the Arenga palm, which is processed into sugar without the addition of additives. Both types of sugar have a malty, caramel-like aroma and are less sweet than household sugar. The producers from Sri Lanka and Indonesia offer their sugar varieties in organic quality. Moreover, the products are HACCP and ISO 22000 certified. Besides granulated sugar, the companies also have syrup and block sugar in their product range. Exhibitors from Tunisia and Jordan process dates into syrup and sugar. The sweeteners have significantly fewer calories than household sugar. Syrup and sugar consist mainly of fructose and retain the typical date flavour. The producers also offer a wide range of date products – such as date coffee and date ketchup! The companies are HACCP, ISO or FSCC 22000 certified.

Sweetness from special fruit variations

A wide range of processed fruits will be presented by the IPD companies at Anuga this year. Freeze-dried strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and currants come from Uzbekistan. An Egyptian company is using the freeze-drying process for strawberries, mangoes, citrus fruits and pineapples. Dried mangoes and pineapples come from Ghana. Tunisian producers offer dates and various types of figs. An IPD company from Sri Lanka provides special sweetness: it produces dried jackfruit. And a Colombian company presents juicy pieces of mangoes, papaya, pineapple, bananas and passion fruit and frozen fruit purees.

In addition, the IPD will be presenting carefully selected suppliers of these products at Anuga Cologne in Hall 4.1, booth C91: Spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, chili or vanilla beans, as well as a wide variety of nuts, oil seeds or oils such as argan, avocado or coconut oil.

The Frankfurt Future Institute called fusion “the culinary globalization of daily life” in its Food Report 2023. Fusion food combines influences from different international cuisines. Ginger and turmeric refine fruit smoothies, coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves lend a special flavour to kale curries. Whether soups, curries or desserts, fresh-made or convenience, coconut milk gives many foods and beverages an exotic touch. This has made it a firm part of fusion food. And not just that – as a plant product, it’s perfect for the booming plant-based trend.

Today, consumers expect natural foods to taste good and support their wellbeing. Vegan coconut milk powder is excellent for making purely plant-based drinks and desserts, as a functional alternative to traditional milk products. With coconut milk powder from the SternCream series, Sternchemie has the appropriate product for every application, whether conventional, vegan or organic dishes, for industrial customers as well as the out-of-home market.

The new SternCream Vegan is versatile and simple to work with. Its very high coconut milk content gives it a natural, authentic coconut flavour and a light sweetness. The creamy mouthfeel is especially noticeable in ice cream, praline and wafer fillings, and sweet and hearty snacks. SternCream Vegan also improves the consistency of soups, sauces, creams and dips. Thanks to its very good instant and flow properties, this coconut milk powder quickly dissolves in lukewarm water to attain a smooth consistency. Another plus point is that as a natural product, unlike coconut flavourings and extracts it is very declaration-friendly, either as coconut cream or coconut milk powder. It’s also easier to dose and keeps longer than regular coconut milk.

Gentle manufacture brings product benefits

SternCream products are made exclusively from selected ripe coconuts, whose meat is first washed, then minced and pressed. To ensure the highest purity of the final product, the extracted coconut milk is doubled-filtered. It is then pasteurized and spray-dried for consistently high quality, which is confirmed by sensory panel testing. With its low water content and oxidation stability, SternCream powder has a shelf life of at least 24 months. It also has higher microbiological stability than coconut milk or grated coconut. Another advantage is that due to the gentle drying process, all of its valuable ingredients are retained. Furthermore, SternCream needs no preservatives, colourings or flavourings.

“Together with our customers, we work to refine our products and adapt them to current and future market requirements,” explains Katrin Baumann, SternCream Technical Product Manager. “The focus is on nutritional, trend and ethical considerations, with protein enrichment, fat reduction and added fibre, as well as organic products and plant-based alternatives to dairy.” This coconut milk powder offers manufacturers across the food industry a way to improve existing products, and develop highly attractive new ones for growth markets like the plant-based category.

Longstanding relationships with raw materials suppliers

With the current bottlenecks in raw material supplies and the general economic situation, factors like cost control, dependable suppliers and raw materials availability play a central role. Here, Sternchemie customers benefit from longstanding relationships with suppliers in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. “Close coordination and detailed information exchange with our partners in the source countries are the basis for our ability to proactively meet the rising quality demands of the market,” says Svea Rahlf, Sternchemie Quality Manager. “Sensitized consumers, improved analysis methods and ever-stricter regulatory requirements are driving an increased focus on raw materials quality and process control.” With SternCream, Sternchemie offers a versatile natural product that combines functionality with dependable quality.

It’s been 15 years since the first Starbucks soy latte (and soy chai tea latte and soy cappuccino) was served. The company launched its first dairy alternative in 2004 just as plant-based milks were starting to gain in popularity.

Starbucks added coconutmilk to its lineup in 2015 and almondmilk in 2016. The company’s Research & Development team also began creating new beverages to highlight the flavors of the non-dairy milks like Coconutmilk Mocha Macchiato and Horchata Almondmilk Frappuccino® blended beverage.

Now, the first new Starbucks beverages of the decade feature these plant-based milk alternatives with the arrival of the Almondmilk Honey Flat White and Coconutmilk Latte. The beverages join the permanent menu in stores in the United States and Canada as part of the new winter food and beverage lineup. This also marks the regional introduction of oatmilk as a new non-dairy option as the Oatmilk Honey Latte arrives in select U.S. markets in the Midwest.

The arrival of alternatives for almost everything in food and beverages has been driven by a number of factors, but health remains the leading reason. According to Innova Market Insights, 1 in 2 US consumers report that health is a reason for buying alternatives to meat or dairy, compared with 36 % who cite variety in their diets, 18 % who are interested in novelty and 17 % in sustainability.

Alternatives to All is one of Innova Market Insights’ Top Trends for 2019, reflecting the rise of replacement foods and ingredients. Dairy alternatives have benefited particularly from this, with 18 % average annual growth in food and beverage dairy free launches (Global, CAGR 2014-2018). Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights reports, “More consumers are adopting vegan or lactose free diets, while others are turning to plant-based foods for other perceived health benefits. In the western world, in particular, the market is evolving rapidly and has diversified beyond dairy alternative drinks to include alternatives to yogurt, cheese and ice cream, while at the same time, the range of ingredients used to replace milk continues to expand and advance.”

NPD in dairy alternatives has been increasing across the board, with double-digit CAGRs in launch numbers between 2013 and 2018. The market was largely pioneered by and continues to be led by beverages, with dairy alternative drinks accounting for over 7.6 % of global dairy launches recorded by Innova Market Insights in 2018. Spoonable non-dairy yogurt has also seen strongly rising levels of interest, but from a smaller base, taking its share of dairy launches from less than 0.5 % in 2012 to 1.7 % in 2018.

In the move to offer something new, an increasing variety of non-soy plant-based ingredients are appearing, including cereals such as rice, oats, and barley. We are also seeing an increase in nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, and macadamias, as well as coconut and more unusual options such as lupin, hemp, and flaxseed.

Dairy alternatives are thriving across North America and Western Europe but positioning and formulation choices can vary from country to country and national knowledge remains vital to development. For example, some countries are increasingly influenced by a rise in veganism, while others are still driven primarily by lactose concerns.

Williams concludes, “Product choice has never been so diverse and innovators are continuing to deliver more complex, convenient and indulgent options. Key opportunities include the use of a wider range of plant-based ingredients, greater segmentation with the more mainstream, and the development of more indulgent options, while one of the key challenges may be improving sustainability credentials in some instances”.

Less sugar, more minerals and still: 100 percent juice!

From 16 to 18 October 2018, the largest and most important European summit of the fruit juice industry – the Juice Summit in Antwerp – took place. Stefan Reiß, CEO of Green Coco Europe GmbH and co-founder of premium brand Dr. Antonio Martins was invited as a speaker emphasizing the potential and relevance of coconut water / coconut juice to the juice industry in front of about 600 decision-makers. The CEO of the Nuremberg company presents an interesting approach to reducing sugar in fruit juices. Coconut juice is very popular among athletes, vegans and nutritionally-conscious consumers due to its high potassium and low calorie content – making it an ideal blend for juices whose high sugar content no longer seems to hit the nerve of the times.

For some time now, the juice industry has faced immense challenges in terms of sugar discussions. The high sugar content of orange juice & co is increasingly being pilloried. For example, orange juice with about 8 grams of sugar per 100 ml of juice contains as much sugar as cola. For this reason, the 100 % fruit juice loses its healthy reputation not only with relevant nutritionists, but more and more with nutritionally conscious consumers.

“Coconut juice can be a solution here and take out the wind of the issue´s sails. Why not add coconut juice to orange juice and drastically reduce sugar content and calories? The fruit juice content remains in this way at 100 percent. The light and neutral properties of the coconut juice do not mask the taste of the orange juice. According to the latest figures from the market research study by Arizton, I see a potential of 297 million liters for juice with coconut juice by 2023, “says Green-Coco CEO Stefan Reiß, summing up his solution. Coconut juice adds valuable minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium to the juice and these can also be declared as such. The juice of the coconut is 11-19 kcal per 100 ml – the lowest calorie fruit juice ever.

A mixing ratio of 40 % coconut juice and 60 % orange juice gives 29 calories per 100 ml, instead of 42 kcal as before. In this way you achieve a reduction of more than 10 calories per 100ml to less than 30 kcal compared to the pure variant – in times of steadily rising numbers of diabetes diseases a step in the right direction. Even in multivitamin juices, adding coconut juice would mean a significant calorie and sugar reduction.

Other facts should encourage the industry to take this path: According to a market study by Arizton, the coconut water market is expected to grow by 25 % per year across Europe by 2023. Coconut juice is no longer a niche product, has established itself as an independent category and can be found in almost every discount. Supermarkets, such as REWE, already have a firm place on the shelves for their own coconut juice brands.