by Eva Meszaros

anuga logoThe bi-annual Anuga trade fair in Cologne, Germany, taking place this week from Oct. 5-9 with 6,777 exhibitors from 98 countries, sets the stage for the world to show off its culinary innovations. Here are 5 inventive foods and beverages that stand out, from international companies seeking U.S. distribution.

Bananas Enter the Condiment Aisle

Banana ketchupThe Caribbean is well known for its rum cake, but its vast banana production is where creativity is ramping up. Banana ketchup is on offer from two Caribbean producers, both based in St. Lucia: tomato lovers will enjoy Baron Foods’ tomato and banana blend, while purists will be drawn to Viking Traders’ version, made with pure banana puree. Mild spices fleck both condiments, which have a satisfying thickness to brighten sandwiches or burgers. Viking also offers a honey banana barbecue sauce—said to be the first of its kind—ideal to add a tropical twist to summer grilling.

Tomato Juice for People Who Hate Tomato Juice 

Tomato juiceEveryone knows tomato juice is healthy, but the vegetable drink has never had a particularly strong hold on the U.S. market. Enter LycoLife: made by Poland’s Cinna Health Products. It looks exactly like tomato juice, but it has the potential to appeal to a much bigger crowd. The base is actually apple juice blended with lycopene, the antioxident powerhouse that gives tomatoes (and other produce, including red bell peppers and watermelon) their rich red color. You’ll taste the apple, and notice a more juice-like mouthfeel than traditional tomato drinks, while still gaining all the benefits.

String Cheese Gets Even More Fun

string cheeseString cheese feels like a rite of passage for youth, whether you peeled it or bit right in. Ireland’s Kerry Foods has unveiled a whole new take on the classic dairy snack, with Cheesestrings Spaghetti. Noodles of mozzarella resemble spaghetti in color and their surprisingly perfect al dente bite, but it’s all cheese. Packaged in snack-size pouches for a ready-to-go lunch component, Cheesestrings deliver 25 percent of a child’s daily recommended allowance of calcium and vitamin D. Also available in tomato and onion flavors.

The Game of Salt

Wonder SaltAnother playful twist on a product that’s meant for kids is a smart tool for adults watching their sodium intake. WonderSalt, a vegetable-dyed salt from Israel’s Salt of the Earth, shows its user just how much is on the dish. The fun part is in the colors: apple green, carrot orange, lemon yellow and radish red mean kids (and those health-conscious grown-ups) can turn their food into a colorful work of art—though minimalist is the preferred style.

Ginger’s Latest Liquid Invocation

Ginger is a hot trend in the States, appearing in candy, chocolate and beverage forms. Another spicy liquid treat is ready to enter the American market: Germany’s Ginger Cat Organic Liqueur. This versatile, cocktail-ready concoction has just enough heat and a decent kick, at 30 percent alcohol by volume, tempered by a hint of acacia honey. It transitions smoothly from season to season, with recipe suggestions ranging from simple and classic, such as diluting with hot water and adding sliced ginger pieces for chilly wintry days, to bright and sweet with sparkling water or wine and a slice of lime.