"As a market becomes more difficult, so innovation is increasingly necessary," Xavier Terlet, CEO of trend tracking agency XTC recently explained to ConfectioneryNews.com.
And with a staggering one out of two food and drink products to hit the European shelves actually removed within two years, leaving the companies to bear the considerable costs involved in new product development, getting it right is a herculean task.
Aspargus fillings, smoked figs and 23-carat gold chocolate
In context of the already innovative food arena, the chocolate industry is particularly active. At ISM, German firm Buekers Backhaus displayed its crunchy hemp-chocolate that promises “high quality” dark chocolate with roasted hemp in a creamy nougat filling.
Slightly more obscure, the firm has come up with “a very special taste sensation”, a the filling that is a blend of fresh creamed asparagus soup enriched with nougat, marzipan and chocolate.
Austrian firm Fruchtmanufaktur Kibler presented, mostschokolade or apple wine chocolate. According to the firm, for its latest innovation water and alcohol is extracted from the freeze-dried apple wine.
"The solids remain, as does the unadulterated flavour of must, which is strongly intensified by the process," said the Austrian company.
The concentrate forms the basis of the Mostschokolade which is available in two flavours: Dark Mostschokolade with four per cent freeze-dried apple wine concentrate and three per cent freeze-dried plums, as well as white Mostschokolade with three per cent apple wine concentrate and ten per cent freeze-dried apples.
And beating the credit crunch with gold-based ambitions, Dutch firm Linders Bonbons presented its Goldleaf Chocolate product that offers “genuine gold and dark Belgian chocolate” (70 per cent cocoa) encased in a “deliciously creamy filling”.
The 23 carat gold leaf is edible and complies with food additives guidelines for the EU (gold goes under the E175 number) as well as regulations for additives the US.
Pushing the taste profile of chocolate, Italy's Sugar company has launched a smoky flavoured chocolate provided by figs.
Their Cuorenero smoked chocolate uses smoked figs combined with 70 per cent dark South American chocolate to create an 'extravagant gourmet treat'.
"The result is a unique harmonious mix of bitter cocoa flavours, sweet ripe figs and aromatic smoke," said the Bologna-based company.
Adding that if consumers want to “go a step further in the direction of new flavours”, the smoked chocolate can be served with ricotta or goat’s cheese.