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Five trends from Fruit Logistica expo

BERLIN—For those of us accustomed to U.S. trade shows, Fruit Logistica can be an overwhelming experience.

The February 5-7 event attracted nearly 80,000 attendees last year, and it feels like 50,000 of them are trying to get on the same subway car on the way out.

This is my second time experiencing the show, and I’ve noticed a lot of it is the same. Most of the booths are enormous and filled with dozens of people (none of whom want to talk to you), but it seems like that trend is changing, a little.

Last time I was here, in 2013, no one offered any kind of materials, samples, booth swag or anything for the casual passer-by.

This year, maybe every 10th booth had staff offering something, if only a smile and leaflet about the company.

I set out looking for trends. Here are a few things that caught my eye on day 1:

1. Apple packaging: While most of the packaged apples I’ve seen in Europe are a 4- or 6-count overwrapped tray (with Pink Lady being the dominant brand), I saw several examples of mixed apple packs, including this one that featured the “apple a day” concept.

2. Avocados everywhere: Last time I was at Fruit Logistica, there weren’t as many avocados – certainly not in stores. This time I’m seeing them everywhere, from an abundance of countries of origin, though very little of it was from Mexico. Packaging also varied, and usually favored a 2-count.

3. Outlandish booths: The entire Sicily pavilion was a magical carnival. These booths are HUGE, and they don’t start rockin’ until after noon. The show starts at 9 a.m. and goes to 6 p.m. each day, by the way. I left at 6 and some of the booths were still hosting receptions long after that.

4. Fiber everywhere: A lot of the current anti-plastic sentiment originated in Europe. One solution appears to be fiber-based packaging. I saw a lot of different examples.

5. Miniatures: So-called “baby” produce items aren’t new in the U.S., but I’ve seen a few different items, like these adorable melons, and actual baby carrots packaged as snacks.

Pamela Riemenschneider is Retail Editor for Blue Book Services