ISN Magazine Interview. Anuga 2019 with Lorenz Rau, Director Anuga

ISN- Q1- Can you tell us about the history of ANUGA, when did it starts and how?

Lorenz Rau: The first Anuga took place in Stuttgart in 1919 with the participation of around 200 German firms. Based on the concept of an annual touring exhibition, further events of the General Food and Luxury Food Exhibition were staged, among others in Munich in 1920, in Berlin in 1922 and in Cologne in 1924. With around 360 exhibitors and 40,000 visitors, the first Anuga in Cologne was the best event since its inception, which is why the organisers opted for Cologne as the permanent location. In 1951, for the first time over 1,200 exhibitors from 34 countries took part, whereby Anuga ultimately established itself as the central, biannual international business platform for the food industry in Cologne. Over the course of time, the trade fair advanced from being a food and processing platform into becoming a trade fair purely for food and beverages as ISM and Anuga FoodTec established as spin-offs. In 2003, the Anuga “10 trade shows under one roof” concept was implemented. In 2009, Turkey was second partner country at Anuga. Today, with 7,405 exhibitors and around 165,000 trade visitors from the trade and out-of-home market, Anuga has developed into the leading global trade fair for food and beverages.

ISN-Q2- Anuga 2019. Can you tell us about the events that you will be organising this year inside Anuga and what is special about ANUGA 2019?

Lorenz Rau: At the edition commemorating the 100th anniversary, visitors can expect not only a look into the past and what the industry has achieved. The current new products and industry trends will also be presented in the “Anuga Trend Zone” and at the “Anuga taste Innovation Show”. But not only the current trends are presented at Anuga. A strong focus will also be placed on the future of food at the anniversary edition. Surveys show that in a few years over 10 billion people will be living on earth. The key question is how can all of these people be fed? Anuga has picked up on this and is for the first time offering a platform that exclusively addresses the future of food. At “Anuga Horizon 2050”, the trade visitors can inform themselves about the visions and solutions for the next 50 years on all days of the trade fair and also engage in an active exchange with industry pioneers, start-ups and experts. It deals with issues such as how new technologies are changing the food industry, how disruptive innovations are being implemented, and what is needed to ensure lasting transparency and safety in the food chain. Topics such as convenience, sustainability, waste reduction and reformulation will play an important role.

Anuga Trend Zone, Anuga taste Innovation Show and Anuga Horizon 2050 form the new Boulevard of Inspiration. These are basically the hot spots for food and beverages trends, innovations and future developments, which should not be missed when visiting Anuga.

All in all, there are several activities at Anuga that refer to the 100th anniversary such as special exhibitions and a book about the history of the fair, opening ceremonies and an exhibition of 100 years of food & beverage retail trade.

ISN-Q3- How do you select a partner country?

Lorenz Rau: After India two years ago, in 2019 the partner country is now Paraguay. Paraguay has around 7 million inhabitants and is well-known as an agricultural land. Besides soya, maize, wheat, manioc, sugar cane and rice, Paraguay’s export goods primarily also include meat. In the sections beef, maize and soya the country is among the top 10 producers worldwide and at the same time particularly places the focus on high quality. All of these factors make the country very exciting – more or less into a hidden champion. Furthermore, we have upheld very good business relations to South America for many years. In selecting Paraguay as the partner country of Anuga, we are for the first time drawing the attention of the experts to the South American continent and thus broadening the horizon – in principle it is precisely what a trade fair is supposed to do.

Can you give us the profile of exhibitors and Visitors?

Lorenz Rau: Anuga is a trade fair, so all visitors come in order to make business. It is open to decision-makers from the following sectors of the food and drink industry: food retail and wholesale trade, drinks retail and wholesale trade, trade co-operatives, drugstores and health food stores, food and drink trade representatives, food and drink importing and exporting, food skilled trades, food and drink manufacturing industry and suppliers to the food and drink industry. Responsible employees from companies engaged in the food service and catering market such as the hotel and catering trade, system catering, industrial, communal and institutional catering including contract catering are also eligible to attend. The show is also open to those involved in the procurement and installation of technical facilities and equipment, the planning of large-scale catering establishments as well as the specialist trade for technology for large scale catering establishments.

Exhibitors vary from small and medium-sized companies to large companies who are involved in the food and beverages business. There is no typical exhibitor so to say. For example, this year, we offer an area especially for start-up companies to present their products but there are also experienced companies who have been in the market for a long time who attend Anuga. The mix of all the different kind and sizes of companies is what makes Anuga so special, because in so doing we offer a wide range of products and topics that are relevant to the customers.

ISN-Q4- How do you see the future of trade shows ?

Lorenz Rau: Digital transformation will have further impact on trade fairs. It’s about more efficient, digital sign-up processes, booking services, informative customer portals, and much more to give trade show visitors a similar level of customer experience as they are used to in the online world. We don’t think that trade fairs will disappear because of digitalisation. But of course, digitalisaton has an impact on how to organize trade fairs. In 10 years, the entire trade fair business will not look the same anymore. That’s why it is important for us to combine digital and personal aspects of fairs, in order to offer better services. These can be digital services and offers that make the visit to the fair as well as preparation and follow-up more efficient, such as lead tracking, mobile ticket or matchmaking with relevant exhibitors. In addition, the way in which our products are presented by our exhibitors plays an important role, for example through the use of VR technology or augmented reality. Visiting fairs is also about networking and knowledge transfer. Digital services cannot fully fulfill these aspects, especially not the personal exchange. In order to stay relevant in digital times, we also try to create special services for Anuga, such as our VIP program, which bundle services and thus make it much easier for our guests to visit a trade fair. Also our congresses, special shows and event platforms serve to promote the exchange of trade visitors with each other and the transfer of knowledge. After all, Anuga is not just a product show, but also a knowledge supplier. For the vision of our digital future, Koelnmesse has just developed a target image that sets our Digital Transformation goals by 2025. Our vision is that until then we have expanded our core business with the Business Matchmaking as a Service business model, successfully transitioning the marketplace principle into the digital age. Beyond the provision of space and services close to the area, this is intended to establish a broad and global portfolio of offers.

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