Cologne: 04.–08.10.2025 #anuga

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Frozen Food: Innovative, Fresh, and Sustainable for 100 Years

One hundred years ago, biologist Clarence Birdseye revolutionized the food industry. Inspired by an expedition to the Arctic, in 1923 he developed the first frozen food freezing process – one of the food industry's greatest inventions. Using the method of flash freezing, he laid the foundation for a booming, worldwide industry that continues to thrive.

The first frozen vegetables hit the shelves in the US in 1930. In Germany, the debut of frozen products took place at the 1955 Anuga fair in Cologne. Since then, frozen delights have been highly sought after. Approximately 3.8 million tons of frozen food are sold in Germany each year. The variety in the frozen food aisle caters to every taste and eating situation, with options even expanding in the vegetarian and vegan categories. German households primarily stock their freezers with baked goods, vegetables, and frozen meals.

Advantages in Subzero Temperatures

Flash freezing remains the gentlest and fastest method for preserving food. Rapidly chilling the products to subzero temperatures preserves their cellular structure. While cell activity that leads to spoilage ceases at -18 degrees Celsius during storage, valuable components like vitamins and minerals remain intact. Frozen food rarely requires preservatives, as the preservation of these products typically relies solely on the physical force of cold.

Freshness Redefined by Freezing

From harvesting at peak ripeness to flash freezing and storage in the freezer, only a few hours pass for fruits and vegetables. This process is as fresh as it gets, comparable to home-grown produce. However, the latter is seasonally limited. Conversely, freezing technology allows a plethora of foods to be processed and enjoyed fresh throughout the year. Beyond diversity and adaptability, frozen food impresses with its extended shelf life and ease of preparation. It's affordable, lasts long, and is portionable, reducing waste compared to fresh produce.

"In uncertain times, frozen products are essential elements for ensuring food security, diverse year-round cuisine, and a healthy diet for the entire family," emphasizes Sabine Eichner, Managing Director of the German Frozen Food Institute (dti).

Sustainability - a burning topic in the frozen food industry

Just as in the broader food sector, sustainability plays a crucial role in the frozen food industry. The focal points include heightened energy and resource efficiency, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable sourcing of raw materials, and addressing demographic and societal changes.

The frozen food sector is acutely aware of its responsibility and perceives sustainability as an opportunity - a chance to reconsider the advantages of frozen products in a new light. Whether it's promoting healthy diets, preserving valuable foodstuffs, curbing food waste, or boasting a carbon footprint that can stand up to comparison with other offerings, frozen food offers numerous avenues for achieving sustainable nutrition.

"Our companies have long been investing with conviction in environmental management systems, sustainability certification, energy efficiency, and climate protection. The German Frozen Food Institute (dti) has substantiated this commitment with flagship projects, such as the first comprehensive industry-wide carbon footprint study conducted by the Öko-Institut Freiburg in 2012. With the 'Future Workshop,' the dti has also laid the foundation for the frozen food industry's journey toward carbon neutrality in 2022," explains Sabine Eichner, CEO of dti.

The future of the frozen food industry at Anuga Frozen Food

A century ago, the frozen food industry had its inception with the innovative thinking of Clarence Birdseye. These attributes of innovation, creativity, and inventiveness continue to define the industry even today. Coupled with sustainability and a commitment to progress, stakeholders in the frozen food industry view these traits as the key to tackling the present and future challenges faced by the food sector.

Addressing these challenges and solutions is also the focus of Anuga Frozen Food, the coolest trade fair under the umbrella of Anuga. Even in the anniversary year of frozen food, Anuga Frozen Food 2023 will once again connect the frozen food industry with retail and the out-of-home market. Since the introduction of the first frozen products at Anuga in 1955, it has evolved into the leading export platform for 600 companies from 56 countries.

In conjunction with Anuga, the German Frozen Food Institute (dti) in collaboration with Lebensmittel Praxis is also on the hunt for the best frozen food departments in the German retail sector. Until July 3, supermarkets, consumer markets, hypermarkets, and organic markets had the opportunity to apply. From these applications, nine nominees will emerge across three categories (up to 2,000, between 2,000 and 5,000, over 5,000 square meters).

On October 9, a panel of judges from both the retail and industry sectors will honor this year's winners. On the same evening, the spotlight will be on the frozen food stars of the year.