While the final statistics have yet to be audited and posted, by all accounts the 50th Anniversary of the Salon International de l’Agroalimentaire (SIAL) trade fair in Paris was a smashing success. The unofficial numbers reveal that more than 6,500 exhibitors from 105 countries showed their stuff to over 150,000 visitors who toured the sprawling Parc des Expositions over the five-day October 19-23 period.
FrozenFoodsBiz was on the scene with a roving video team that interviewed top executives in the industry along with product developers, marketing managers, sales directors and government officials from around the world. Much of the footage will be accessible via links in our next E-Newsletter and by visiting the FrozenFoodsBiz.com website.
As always, the biennial commercial food feast at Paris Nord Villepinte was delectable and rife with extraordinary culinary innovation. From value-added vegetable, fruit and potato products to certified Brazilian Angus Beef and New Zealand Lamb Burgers, to Wasabi Tempura Shrimp from Fishermans Choice, and an award winning minced cod baby food dish from Yooji SAS, to Açaimania’s Açaico Mooo! Frozen Yogurt, Chocolate & Pear Lava Cake from Beldessert, and Yazu Lime Individual Cheesecake from Sweet Street Desserts, there was no shortage of flavor-filled creative cuisine to be seen and sampled.
Healthy-eating vegetables were abundant at SIAL, where suppliers from the highly productive West Flanders region of Belgium (Europe’s frozen vegetable capital) were keen on sealing deals and meeting with new prospects from outside the EU. The focus on enhancing opportunities beyond the continent was sharpened, as European markets have been relatively saturated due to the high availability of greens on the scene following bumper crop harvests.
The stand of Westrozebeke, Belgium-headquartered Pinguin, a member of the Greenyard Foods Group, was a busy beehive of activity as buyers and distributors convened to see and sample its wide assortment of products ranging from hundreds of mono vegetable and fruit items and blends to value-added specialties that include Bean Rolls with Bacon, Vegetables for Steamed Mussels (celery, onions and leek), Latino Salad (green beans, red kidney beans, sweet corn, red and green peppers), and Grill Mix (grilled red onions, red and yellow peppers and courgettes) to Minestrone a l’Italiana Soup, Broccoli & Cauliflower au Gratin, Moroccan-style Seasoned Vegetables for stir-frying, Ratatouille Cuisiner (zucchini, eggplant, onions, peppers and tomato herb sauce), and a variety of Classic, Italian and Asian sauces.
On the frozen fruit front, Pinguin’s menu runs the gamut from diced apple and mountain cranberries to pineapple tidbits, rhubarb smoothies featuring raspberry, strawberry, banana and other flavors, and lots more.
Ardooie, Belgium-headquartered Ardo NV spotlighted a number of new products at the show, among them Carrot and Parsnip Vegetable Fries. Coated in light batter and pre-fried in sunflower oil, they may be oven baked as well as fried. The crunchy fare is served as a snack as well as a side dish. Distributed in units of 4x2kg and 12x500g, the novel fries should appeal to children and to school foodservice operators looking to add colorful appeal to their menus.
Other products in high profile at the Ardo stand included Curly Kale IQF Loose Leaves, Oven Dried Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Avocado Halves, Italian Herb Mix, Black Olive Slices, Spinach Foglia and Grilled Vegetables.
The company, which recently merged with Dujardin Foods, continues to actively promote fresh-frozen vegetables and fruits among target markets, along with colleagues in the industry and trade associations. It is also in the forefront of environmental protection efforts, with the Ardo Geer operation recently receiving the Belgian Sustainable Partnership Award for maintaining the natural integrity of a 26-hectare hectare preserve in cooperation with NGO Natagora and Appligeer, an organization of vegetable growers.
From Egypt’s Fertile Nile Delta
Value-added presentations of Givrex frozen fruits and vegetables from Robert Mansour & Co. attracted plenty of visitors to the Alexandria, Egypt-based producer’s stand. A pioneering force in the nation’s frozen food industry, its well-established brand has been sold in domestic and international markets since 1978.
An extensive line of products, including 10 kinds of artichokes, is offered. They range from the small, tender Petite Violette variety prized by consumers in France and elsewhere, to half-and quarter-cuts, whole and sliced bottoms (the latter for pizza toppings and salads), dices and triangles. Additionally, blanched artichokes with leaves and artichoke soup are on the menu.
Trimmed okra is another specialty available from Givrex, as are peeled (skinless) and non-peeled (skin-on) fava beans, sweet potatoes, peppers, okra, onions, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, taro, vine leaves, cauliflower, sweet corn, grilled eggplant, iron-rich molokhia, whole and cut green beans and vegetables for soup.
The company’s assortment of fruits (available in IQF and pulp form) features pomegranate arils, apricot halves, strawberries, guava, red figs and dates.
Raw materials processed and supplied under the Givrex name to retail, foodservice and industrial customers are sourced from farmers in the fertile Nile Delta, not far from the modern processing plant owned and operated by Robert Mansour & Co.
In recent years Givrex has charted annual growth rates of 20%. During that time it has become Egypt’s leading exporter of frozen vegetable products to both Europe and the USA, according to Eric R. Mansour, marketing and sales manager.
And the Winner is…
Donzere, France-based Boiron Surgelation SA showed its prize-winning Purée de Légumes ou Fruits at the exhibition. The small IQF discs, distributed in 2.5-kilo bags, received the SIAL Innovation Award in the Food Ingredients category.
According to the judges, the vegetable and fruit purée is ultra convenient to use by industrial further processors as “the disks can be easily dosed by multihead weighers and easily transported by conveyor belt. The product thaws quickly, thus saving time.”
Scelta Mushrooms introduced the Snex® brand to the market at the SIAL show, heralding the official launch of a new range of ovenable vegetable snacks. In addition, super-dry mushrooms, created especially for use as pizza topping, took center stage at the Venlo, Holland-headquartered company’s stand.
Snex stands for tasty vegetable snacks (Sn) that are sexy (ex), thus Sn + ex = Snex. They have been formulated to feed growing demand for meat- and additive-free, healthy-eating snacks featuring clearly identifiable vegetables. The line, distributed in 1-kilo bags, features five varieties: mushroom, mushroom with spinach, mushroom with broccoli, ratatouille, and sauerkraut.
Meanwhile, with the addition of super-dry mushrooms to the frozen assortment, Scelta is providing a solution to a problem faced by pizza makers. As mushrooms consist of more than 90% natural juice, baking a pizza topped with lots of them often yields undesirable watery results. The use of super-dry mushrooms solves the problem without sacrificing the advantages that “regular” frozen mushrooms offer: flavor, nutrition and long shelf life sans the use of preservatives. Additionally, the production process delivers a richer mushroom taste, less drip loss and a higher amount of slices per kilo.
Other innovative frozen vegetable and herb products spotted by FrozenFoodsBiz at SIAL included:
- Ardooie-Koolskamp, Belgium-based Dujardin Foods’ IQF frozen Guacamole Chunks in 250-gram bags from, which was a finalist in the SIAL Innovation Awards competition.
- Panais Roti au Miel (roasted parsnips coated with honey) in 1-kilo bags from Ardooie, Belgium-headquartered d’Arta. It too was a finalist in the SIAL Innovation Awards contest.
- Waxy Corn on the Cob from Gansu Huangyanghe Group Food Co., Ltd. of Wuwei City, Gansu Province, China. The product is available in yellow, white, red and white, and black kernel varieties.
- Haché Végétal a la Bolognaise (organic cooked chopped soybeans) in 2-kilo trays from Tossolia of Revest du Bion, France.
- 100-gram retail bags containing cubes of garlic, shallot and onion from Hulshout and Diksmuide-Vladslo, Belgium-based Herbafrost. They are available in both conventional and organic form.
In the potato field, Leuze-en-Hainaut, Belgium-based Lutosa showcased a wide assortment of products, including its prize-winning Belgian Frites, which received three golden stars from the International Taste & Quality Institute (iTQi) earlier this year. Among other value-added items offered by the company are Krisspy-cut Fried and Skin-on Rustic Slices, Pom’Pin and Mashed Potatoes, Duchesse, Tartiflette, Spicy Wedges, Röstis, onion-flavored Hash Browns, Herby Diced Potatoes, and Croc’ Apéro savory snacks with seasoned mash.
Steenderen, Holland-headquartered Aviko was on the premises promoting a cornucopia of potato products ranging from premium fries, mash and gratins to classic formed specialties such as Rösti Bites, Pom’Croquettes Rounds and plate size Hash Browns.
It also served up a diversified menu of snacks and appetizers featuring Beer Battered Onion Rings, Halal Spicy Chicken Sticks, Jalapeño Snacks, Cheese Croquettes with fine herbs, and Churros.
Speaking of Churros, a big winner at the show was Cité Gourmande Potato Churros. It received the coveted Frozen Products Award in the hotly contested SIAL Innovation competition. The producer, an Agen, France-based unit of Groupe LeDuff, takes an artisanal approach to savory recipe development, while relying on industrial know-how and processes to provide authentic, gastronomic cuisine.
What especially caught the judges’ fancy were the three varieties of flavors that accented the Potato Churros: basil and espelette pepper; persillade; and broccoli and red pepper.
Among other potato product specialists at SIAL were Aldrup, Germany-based Agrarfrost; the Villeneuve d’Ascq, France-based B2B division of McCain Foods Europe; Cairo, Egypt-headquartered Farm Frites Egypt; and Belgian private label specialists Agristo of Harelbeke-Hulse, Clarebout Potatoes of Nieuwkerke, Ecofrost of Peruwelz, and Mouscron-based Mydibel.
The Seafood Choice is Yours
Den Hague, Holland-headquartered Fishermans Choice, a member of the Brouwer wholesale trade group, cast its net for new business at SIAL. The tasty “bait” – ranging from Seafood Prix d’Elite award winning Dim Sum Shrimpers in 500-gram boxes, to pre-fried Wasabi Tempura Shrimp in 250-gram trays, BBQ Gourmet Tapas in 400-gram packs, sushi toppings and various surimi products – attracted plenty of bites from show-goers.
In addition to Fishermans Choice brand wholesale products, the company offers Asian Choice and Super Choice packs respectively for discount and retail markets, as well as private labels.
Ruud van Zuidam, managing director, told FrozenFoodsBiz that visitors to the stand expressed a lot of interest in the wide variety of convenience products on display, as well as Marine Stewardship Council-certified king prawns sourced from South Australia’s Spencer Gulf.
Meat of the Matter
Another Dutch company at the show, Zandbergen World’s Finest Meats of Zoeterwoude, received the SIAL Innovation Award for its newly introduced range of six high-quality burgers with a hard claim on origin and/or cattle breed. Marketed as The Frozen Butcher, the line features a US Angus-certified Burger and US Beef Burger, in addition to a Wagyi Beef Burger from Australia, an Iberico Pork Burger from Spain, a 100% Organic Beef Burger from Uruguay, and a Lamb Burger from New Zealand. Two 125-gram units come per retail package. Larger size foodservice and wholesale packs are also available.
The Frozen Butcher offering, which won the grand prize in the highly competitive Meat Products category, was one of only 16 products to receive a top prize. This was quite an accomplishment, when one considers that there were 1,725 entries. Among other frozen items that made it into the SIAL Innovation Awards finals, but fell short of gold, were:
- Friday Night Chicken from Gunnar Dafgard AB of Källby, Sweden. The product, packed in 4-kilo units, features marinated chicken bites with American-style flavors. Another finalist from the Swedish company was Cinelle, a Scandinavian dessert distributed in paper baking cups. Available flavors are cinnamon, vanilla and raspberry.
- Breaded Feta Sticks in flow packs from Take Food Industry Ltd of Athens, Greece.
- Boule de Neige a la Mirabelle from Vaandoeuvre-les-Nancy, France-based Aial Agria Lorraine. The frozen regional specialty with alcohol comes in Beer Snowball and Snowball with Mirabelle Plum flavors.
- Brioche Muffins from Bouffere, France-based Brioche Fonteneau. Packed in 1.56-kg trays, the product contains indulgent fillings such as double chocolate and caramel, inspired by American-style muffins.
- Mélange de Fruits Sangria in 500-gram bags from Crop’s NV of Ooigem, Belgium.
- Custard Treccia, a frozen Italian pastry with cream filling from Fresystem/Cupiello of Naples, Italy.
- Dione Dairy Ice Cream, featuring Belgian chocolate shavings and a crunchy texture, from Klaipedos Pienas of Klaipeda, Lithuania. Flavors featured are mint with chocolate chip and orange chocolate chip.
- IQF Cheese in ecological cardboard packs from Eurial of Parc Club du Perray, France. Varieties offered are mozzarella (slices and balls) and goat cheeses in 500-gram units.
- Frozen Savory Pancakes from Le Monde des Crepes of Lamballe, France. The range includes spicy versions as well as a scrambled eggs with bacon rendition.
- Pork and Chicken Parfaits featuring thinly cut select meat slices from Yzeure, France-headquartered Convivial.
- Single-Dose Pouch Herb Blends from Milly ala Foret, France-based Daregal SA. Cited by the judges for convenience and a three-year shelf life, varieties in the line are Garlic & Rosemary, Onion & Coriander, and Parsley & Red Onion.
- Organic Kamut Khorasan Wheat Pizza Margherita from Modena, Italy-headquartered Italpizza. Distribution is in 350-gram flowpacks.
- Lactose-free Vanilla Ice Cream Cones and Sandwiches from Casty SA of Talavera de la Reina, Spain. They are made from cow’s milk which has 100% of its lactose content removed in the production process.
- Vegetable Pastry with a croissant dough base from Servon-sur-Vilaine, France-based Bridor. Tomato & Shallot and Ham & Cheese varieties are offered in 100-gram units and 7-kilo bag-in-box packaging.
- Pasta with Ricotta and Fruit Filling in 3-kilo cartons from Surgital SPA of Lavezzola, Emila-Romangna, Italy. Varieties offered are Apple Margherita, Fiocchi with Cheese and Pears, and Panzeroti with Ricotta and Citrus.
- Australian High Quality Grain Fed Angus Burgers from Veenendaal, Holland-based Jan Zandbergen BV. The quarter-pound burgers are available in 1.5-, 2- and 4.8-kilo cartons.
No doubt many of the companies listed above will compete again for SIAL Innovation Grand Prix honors in two years’ time, when the next running of the Salon International de l’Agroalimentaire takes place from October 16-20, 2016.