5 Food & Beverages Trends seen at ANUGA 2021

The world’s largest F&B industry expo was back! After almost 2 years of lockdowns and travel restrictions due to Covid-19, professionals from the Food & Beverages industry were finally able to meet again. Two of EuroDev’s retail specialists were happy to visit the ANUGA global trade fair at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany, to get a taste of what will happen in the industry the upcoming years. In this blog you will find the 5 most important trends in the Food & Beverages sector at the moment.

The F&B industry during- & post-Covid

While a lot of industries suffered from a worldwide decline in demand since the outbreak of Covid early 2020, revenue in the Food & Beverages industry skyrocketed. Worldwide revenue is expected to reach 342 billion USD in 2021, an increase of 97%(!) compared to 2019’s revenue (174 billion USD), almost doubling the revenue in just 2 years.

These numbers show there are many opportunities for brands and manufacturers in the Food & Beverages industry to profit from international business expansion. For North American companies, Europe is seen as the most logical region to expand into. Their revenue forecast, countries’ GDP and food trends are all similar to the USA and Canada.

RET-F&B industry growth 2017-2025

ANUGA 2021 in a nutshell

  • 4.600 exhibitors
  • 70.000 visitors from 98 countries
  • 50% consumer products / 50% food service
  • Next editions: Anuga FoodTec April 2022 & Anuga October 2023

5 F&B trends we spotted at ANUGA 2021

At earlier editions of the Anuga fair we saw a lot more ‘traditional’ food, like pasta and meat products. Even locally produced food and beverages – which was a big trend a few years ago – are now seen as a commodity. These developments show the incredible speed with which innovation takes place in the F&B sector.

Visit to Anuga 2021 f&b industry trends europe

Trend 1: Vegan & Alternative meats

While the vegan movement was still somewhat frowned upon a few years ago, consumers embrace a (partly) vegan lifestyle these days. Now it’s time for the food service and hospitality industry to join this trend as well. Both the bigger existing brands as a lot of new manufacturers are taking the leap and putting effort in developing new products. 

For food professionals and consumers who think that vegan is still a step too far, alternative meats display a variety of innovations. One example is extruded meat alternatives. The youngest generation food extruders is able to imitate the texture of real meat so well, that even the most fanatic meat lovers can be persuaded to try something different and skip meat for a day. 

Trend 2: Sustainability

Sustainability regarding both the food itself and the production process is gaining more and more traction. Biological and ecological produced foods – e.g. without harmful pesticides - are still going strong. Sustainability in the food production and logistics sector is stimulated not only by consumer choices, but also by governmental regulations like the European Green Deal initiative. Every link in the chain ‘from farm to fork’ is being reviewed and upgraded.

Trend 3: Packaging materials & design

We spotted multiple packaging trends at this edition of the Anuga show. Smaller portion sizes for 1 or 2 servings ask for changes in packaging. The visual aspect is also still important. There is an increasing amount of attention for packaging design, especially because the packaging needs to match the brand image to the smallest detail. Furthermore, the increased focus on quality labels like Fair trade, UTZ Certified, ASC and Rainforest Alliance result in packaging changes as well.

However, the most important innovations in packaging are the materials. There have been huge developments in this area since 2018. As the European Commission is actively tackling single-use plastics, including Styrofoam packaging, sustainable alternatives see a way to grow fast. Food packaging manufacturers of ecological packaging will fill this gap, whether it’s recyclable, recycled, paper or plant-based.

Trend 4: Unique drinks

When visiting Anuga, you would think that nobody in the world drinks plain coffee, tea, soda and beer any more. The trend for craft beer is still visible, but the real hype is over. This year we spotted a lot of unique drinks, mostly with natural ingredients and mixed flavors. Examples are drinks with aloe vera, hemp and other superfoods in them - i.e. back to nature, but with a modern twist. The addition of natural preservatives makes these drinks suitable for international export to Europe. 

Trend 5: Ready meals and snacks

It looks like a contradiction: the world is giving more attention to ecological, sustainable food, but on the other hand the willingness to actually prepare the food with their own hands seems to be declining. Frozen products – pre-cut, pre-cooked and pre-portioned for a 1-person household or even a whole family - are on the rise. Food manufacturers of ready meals and snack profit from this focus on convenience. Of course you need to think about shipping requirements when exporting frozen food from the USA or Canada into Europe. The most chosen options are the use of freezer containers to ship overseas, but also production outsourcing to an Eastern European country.

Anuga 2021 2

“If Anuga focuses on a certain trend, like convenience foods, we are certain to see that submarket grow in the next few years.”
Bender Kilinc, Business Development Manager at EuroDev

Opportunities for North American companies

Having seen these food & beverages industry trends for 2021, what opportunities do we see for American or Canadian manufacturers who want to expand their business into Europe?

  • The market for innovative products and ingredients is growing fast. Both 'green' and convenience foods.
  • Al trends aside, there will still always be a market for commodity products, especially more affordable products.
  • The traditional supply chain is changing, which creates opportunities for F&B manufacturers or brands to market their own products directly.
  • From 2025, all disposable packaging needs to be recycled or recyclable. A huge opportunity for food packaging manufacturers. The EU seems to be a bit ahead in the production of materials, but North America is better at producing in a cost-effective way.

Your EU business expansion starts here!

Are you a North American manufacturer or supplier in the F&B industry? And are you looking at international sales opportunities? Then Europe probably is a smart choice to start or expand your growth. The food and drinks market shows multiple opportunities, especially in packaging, vegan/alternative meats and ready meals.

If you need help in getting to know the European market with all its different languages, cultures and regulations, we are here to help. Discover our sales outsourcing, HR outsourcing and digital marketing services that help you get your boots on the ground in Europe.


About EuroDev

Welcome to your European office! From our headquarters in Almelo, the Netherlands, we have helped over 300 companies with their European business expansion. Whether you need market research, lead generation, digital marketing, PEO or EOR services, EuroDev is your one-stop-shop for international growth. We’d love to learn about your company’s expansion plans. Let’s meet soon for coffee to talk! 

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