Vegan novelties from BIOFACH 2018 – the world’s largest organic trade show

Vegan novelties from BIOFACH 2018 – the world’s largest organic trade show

If you’re a foodie like me, February means heading to Nuremberg where the world’s leading organic trade show is held: BIOFACH. This is where German & international companies within the organic sector meet every year to set trends, introduce new products and exchange ideas. With over 3000 exhibitors in 2018, it can be easy to lose track of things—let me tell you. This year I had the pleasure of exploring the fair with my dear Canadian friend Ary from the blog Valises & Gourmandises (which led to some extensive maple syrup escapades).

Biofach 2018 Eingang
Quelle: Messe Nürnberg

Those of you who follow me on Instagram were able to follow me around in my stories. However, I did not carry my DSLR camera this time. The quality of pictures in this post is therefore not ideal which I hope you’ll forgive me. I did prepare a few animations from my phone material to make up for that. Enjoy!

“Free from” as the new rule

Vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, palm oil-free, plastic-free—ingredients of animal origin as well as artificial or highly processed ingredients of all kinds are fortunately being used less and less. Consumers’ desire for more sustainability and transparency is largely met in the organic sector, it seems. Sure, my perception is probably a little biased as I tend to focus on companies that meet those criteria. Convenience foods (although somewhat healthier these days) and products causing unnecessary amounts of waste and packaging are still very much in demand.

However, in this blog post I want to focus on the healthy and sustainable area, covering topics such as sprouting, fair trade projects, vegan yogurt & cheese alternatives, seasonings and a couple further favourite discoveries. This way I’ll try to provide you with some insights into this crazy abundance of organic products.

Just look at this novelty stand alone—impressive, isn’t it?

Biofach 2018 Neuheitenstand
Quelle: Messe Nürnberg

Mission 1 – sprouted flour, nuts & seeds

My first and most important mission this year was to track down sprouted grains & seeds (or products featuring these as an ingredient). In the English-speaking world sprouted grains, muesli mixes or snacks are already quite easy to find. Unfortunately, German producers and retailers still seem a bit hesitant in this area. That’s why I often sprout seeds to use in salads or smoothies myself. Sprouted flour, on the other hand, is a bit more difficult to make at home. At BIOFACH 2018 it still felt a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. Sprouting seems to be more of a niche topic and is therefore predominantly found in the raw food sector. The UK-based company Rude Health, for example, did not showcase their range of sprouted flours. It seems unlikely that they’ll become available in Germany anytime soon.

Luckily, my search was successful in the end:

  • Dr. Sprout manufactures an entire range of sprouted seeds and flours. I took a couple of samples and am looking forward to using them in my breakfast bowls. I admit that their design may not be as attractive when compared to the younger start-ups but as long as the products are convincing…
  • Biovegan presented their new range of baking mixes. Alright, that may not sound that exciting at first—especially if you enjoy making your own sourdough every now and then. But when it comes to flavour, all the breads were very impressive. The range is completely glutenfree, by the way. I particularly liked the „Power Bread“ with sprouted buckwheat & flax seeds.
  • Organic pioneer Govinda presented their range of raw food crackers. The company has been one of the first movers with regard to sprouting. They already sell products such as sprouted oats, millet or buckwheat. The crackers are made with sprouted buckwheat, too. They’re available in two sweet and two savoury flavours. I was able to try the new orange one! Really tasty.
  • Raw Gorilla from the UK make muesli & raw food snacks using sprouted buckwheat as well as sprouted almonds. Not in the shelves in Germany, yet. I’ll keep my eyes open for you.

Dr. Sprout Biovegan Powerbrot

On a side note: there is a sprouted muesli mix available made by Keimster (not present at BIOFACH 2018). Now this is the kind of product I was actually looking for at the fair! I am currently testing the 3-grain mix with sprouted barley & rye flakes as well as sprouted buckwheat seeds. Really aromatic, with a little sweetness to it and a great crunch. Love it!

I guess products like sprouted almond butter are not in sight on the German market yet. So I either order from abroad or make my own. Let me know in the comments in case you’d be interested in a more elaborate post on sprouting and maybe even a sprouted nut butter recipe.

Mission 2 – extraordinary fair trade products

Let’s move on to my next subject: fair trade! Ever since sustainability and fairer trading relationships have become more popular among consumers, there is also a lot of greenwashing going on. So many labels suggest eco-friendliness, fair working conditions etc.—but it’s getting harder to figure out how those companies are really run, as there are so many different labels & certifications. Some companies may not be certified at all and still do an amazing job. That’s why, in my opinion, it is more important than ever to challenge business practices and ask questions! The following two companies stood out in a positive manner.

Fair chocolate and rice

  • Fairly produced chocolate: The startup Fairafric from Munich started with a Kickstarter campaign in 2016. Instead of reinforcing a complicated network of intermediaries, value is added right at the source. From bean to bar this chocolate range is produced completely in Ghana. That way new employment opportunities arise. Approximately one third of the net value of one bar remains in the country of origin—as compared to only about 6% for conventional bars. Additionally, the cocoa farmers receive a premium of 600 USD per ton. There are two vegan bars available, with 70% and 80% cocoa respectively. The flavour is really lovely. You can purchase Fairafric online or (in Germany) at organic super markets and specialised fair trade shops.
  • Fairly traded rice: Sunria is an Indonesia-based company operating on a sustainable basis. Rice and other products are produced and packaged right at the source. That way all value is added in the country of origin. Another special feature: the rice is grown using the SRI method which does not require flooding of the fields. This reduces water use and greenhouse gas emissions while increasing biodiversity in the soil. Apart from rice, Sunria also produces exciting products like smoked salt and a sugar called “arenga” that reminded me of coconut blossom sugar. The arenga palms grow in mixed woodland only and require no fertilisers or pesticides. Even eroded infertile soil is suitable. So far, Sunria products are only available in Belgium. They are planning a roll-out in other European countries—I will keep you updated here!

Fairafric Fair Trade Chocolate

Mission 3: plantbased yogurt and cheese alternatives

If there is one product group always thriving at fairs like BIOFACH it’s vegan meat and dairy substitutes. I have to admit that a couple years back I wasn’t thrilled about these options. Over time I have come to like and enjoy products from a few German companies such as Tempehmanufaktur, Taifun, Wheaty or Happy Cheeze. Today, however, I’d like to highlight the following novel products:

Brand new yogurt and cheese alternatives:

Cashew Yogurt - Harvest Moon

  • My number one novelty of BIOFACH 2018: „Yourgut“ – a vegan oat-based yogurt! After “Reisgurt” (a rice-based alternative I wrote about within the scope of Next Organic 2015) sadly did not make it to the shelves, there finally is a new star entering the refrigerated section. The Irish start-up Ethica Planet Foods introduced their vegan yogurt range made from organic oats sourced in the EU. No sugar added! My favourite flavour was caramel chia—but also the natural version as well as the chocolate and the coconut flavour were amazing. Dear stockists: I assigned a spot for these in my fridge already, please sell them as soon as possible! Thank you.
  • Cashew Yogurt from Harvest Moon! In case you shop at organic supermarkets regularly you probably know their coconut yogurt already. For me, personally, it’s always been a little heavy due to the high fat-content. The new cashew-based alternative is pleasantly acidic. And it only has 3.9% fat. Besided the all-natural version there is a vanilla flavour available as well. What a great addition to their product range!
  • A new cream cheese alternative made by Lalicorne is also cashew-based. Three flavours are available: natural, chives & black pepper. Great if you don’t have the time or feel like it’s too much a fuzz to make your own at home. I’ve already spotted it on the shelves at denn‘s.

Umami, seaweed & other condiments

Those of you who’ve been following my activities here for some time know I cannot resist extraordinary spices or condiments. In the plantbased kitchen especially, working with powerful flavours can be so enriching. Seaweed and miso have been part of my basic pantry for a while already. Of course, at BIOFACH 2018 I was able to discover some novelties for you in that area:

Smoked Tamari Maple Syrup

  • Mitoku is one of the few Japanese wholesalers at which the European companies purchase their organic soy sauce, rice vinegar etc. The new smoked tamari totally blew me away! It is a wheatfree soy sauce with an intense smoky aroma—like a lot of umami with a hint of liquid smoke. Hopefully it will become available over here soon. I can only imagine how great it would taste in a pulled jackfruit dish or with king oyster mushrooms.
  • Creative products with seaweed by Marinoë: This French company manufactures incredibly delicious mustards, pestos & gomasio mixes with different kinds of algae. They are currently expanding in Europe so keep your eyes open. In Germany they may be available at basic bio markets soon.
  • Maple syrup infused with tea, yuzu & mandarin! How amazing would these be in a salad. Or the classical way on a nice stack of pancakes or with your morning oatmeal. I discovered these in the Canadian section of the fair. The company bringing them to Germany is Natura. I’m excited for these to hit the shelves and will keep you posted!

Other favourites from BIOFACH 2018

Last but not least, here are some of my personal favourites from the fair that did not quite fit into the other categories. You may guess—I could not visit a food fair without mentioning a few sweet treats after all, could I? So here they come:

  • Nucao – definitively the most beautiful snack bar of all times! But not only product design is top-notch here. The boys from Dresden really put some thought into the recipe. Sweetened with coconut blossom sugar only, their raw-vegan chocolate bars with hemp seeds make you feel full longer and prevent blood sugar levels from  spiking. In addition to that they’re packaged sustainably. Would you go for cinnamon.coconut or rather try the espresso one? I really can’t decide which one I prefer… Such a great alternative to all the nut-date bars on the market. Perfect for days on the road or to overcome that nasty afternoon sleepiness.
  • Happy Benjamino & Benjamissimo – a friendly team of founders from Bulgaria created this range of vegan chocolate bars in loads of yummy flavours. The design is really cute, too! Sweetened with coconut blossom sugar only. The cocoa is sourced directly from small-scale farmers in Nicaragua. My favourite bar is mulberry & roasted almond. Or maybe it is grapefruit-chia? Oh well, even the white bars could convince me although I have never been a fan. Cacao nibs, my friends! Great love. Currently available in assorted online shops, e.g. Vitanatur for Germany.
  • Haselherz from Hamburg warmed my heart with Levantine hazelnuts from Turkey: their range includes two vegan hazelnut chocolate bars, spiced snack nuts and a couple nut butters: my favourite was the “sweet nut” spread made from concentrated grapes and hazelnut paste. A new combo for me—and a really tasty one at that!
  • Taste Nirvana coconut water: technically not a snack but a really great refreshment! From small family-run farms, without additives thanks to being bottled right after harvesting, naturally isotonic. My favourite flavour: coconut water with added raw Criollo cacao. Such a genius idea! By the way, the bottles can be reused as storage jars. The plastic wrap (which is necessary to protect light-sensitive nutrients) can be peeled off easily.

Happy Benjamino & Benjamissimo Chocolate Taste Nirvana Coconut Water

So these were my highlights of BIOFACH 2018 organic fair held in Nuremberg. I hope you encountered something interesting or inspiring along the way. Let me know what products or topics called your attention in the comments.

Please note: All opinions expressed in this article are my own and reflect my personal thoughts and impressions. None of the companies mentioned paid me. All mentioned products were available for tasting at the fair.

About Carolin

I'm Caro - the face behind CaroKocht. Here I share my passion for plant-based seasonal cuisine, background knowledge on the food industry and foodie tips for Berlin and beyond!

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