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Vineyard Robot Prototype to Debut at FutureFarm Expo in Oregon

Seeking to solve the chronic labor shortage problem facing the US premium wine industry, the project ‘ROVR’ (Remote Operated Vineyard Robot) team has developed a fully mobile concept demonstrator at their Pendleton, Oregon research and development lab. The first public demonstration of the virtual reality operated robot will take place at the 2017 FutureFarm Expo on August 15-17.

The one-of-a-kind technology was developed over the last 18 months by Digital Harvest, a Virginia-based agricultural solutions company that recently established a research outpost at the Pendleton UAS Test Range.

To date, the promise of industrial robots taking over “dumb, dirty or dangerous” tasks for workers has yet to be realized outside of the factory floor. Despite tens of thousands of man hours and huge sums invested, robotics researchers and innovators (with few exceptions) have yet to realize the goal of developing cost-effective robots capable of replicating the productivity of skilled farm workers.

As the labor force that tree and vine fruit growers depend on continues to decline, the complexities and costs associated with finding new workers have left the industry in crisis. Multiple surveys of fruit and vegetable growers have confirmed that labor is the number one challenge facing agricultural growth.

The ROVR robotic worker system to be displayed at the FutureFarm Expo is unique in that it bypasses many of the persistent technical challenges of machine learning and intelligence by keeping a human operator in the loop via a virtual reality interface.

“We tried many types of tools to operate the robotic arms, such as joysticks and game controllers, but none were capable of allowing the system to operate at the similar level of accuracy or speed as traditional skilled workers,” says company CEO Young Kim. “By using virtual reality as an operator interface, we not only improved manual dexterity but also opened up the possibility of human workers being able to teleport to work from anywhere.”

The FutureFarm Expo is the annual technology summit of the Oregon FutureFarm Project, a new farm-tech accelerator effort that has brought advanced digital agriculture developers such as Digital Harvest and Yamaha Unmanned Systems to eastern Oregon.

Unlike any other agricultural event in the United States, the Future Farm Expo brings together cutting edge technology developers with ag professionals from the Northwest and around the world. High-value crop growers, livestock ranchers, leading food processors, crop consultants and distinguished agri-tech researchers come together with key policymakers and everyday farmers to share their knowledge in order to develop the new methods needed to feed a rapidly growing world.

This year’s Expo program will offer attendees a comprehensive look at what some are calling Digital Agriculture 2.0. Optimizing farming practices, streamlining production, and reducing the impact on resources are the collective goals in agriculture today. Learning about advanced technologies and how to implement them, today and tomorrow is a key outcome of this event.

Previously undiscussed topics such as beyond line-of-sight crop imaging and managing cattle from the sky will be presented as well. Updates on ongoing developments in farm automation, field robotics, soil sciences, precision irrigation and what-do-to-with-all-that-data will round out the expert presentations.

Among the many key presenters is George Kellerman of Yamaha Motor Ventures & Lab. Kellerman will share his global insights during his presentation titled: “Reinventing Agriculture: How Robotics and Automation Will Save Farming in the 21st Century.”

Because the FFE is focused on “Bringing Clarity to Growers,” this event offers attendees and presenters an opportunity to learn from each other, forge ties, and jointly develop new tools and methods to make each new harvest bigger and better than the last.

A trade show, all group lunches and outdoor field demonstrations of the latest farm drones and automated machinery are all part of the experience.

Space is limited and the Expo sells out each year – order your tickets now. To learn more or attend, visit or contact: Jeff Lorton, FutureFarm Expo Director 503.989.6933

Anuga: Fully-Booked Exhibition Halls and Shopping Baskets Full to Brim

At the upcoming Anuga, scheduled to be held October 7-11 in Cologne, Germany, a shopping basket that is full to the brim is awaiting the visitors from the retail trade and foodservice market in fully-booked exhibition halls. Around 7,200 exhibitors from 100 countries will be presenting the global market offer of food and beverages throughout five days, equaling the record that Anuga set in 2015.  Around 160,000 trade visitors from over 190 countries are expected, with 89 percent of the exhibitors and 69 percent of the visitors from outside Germany.

Anuga covers the entire fair grounds in Cologne. It is one of the largest exhibition complexes in the world: 284,000 square meters of gross exhibition space in 11 halls, some of them multi-storied, four entrances, a continuous trade fair boulevard and a central piazza ensure fast connections and a high quality of stay.

With its “10 trade shows under one roof” concept, Anuga is organized according to themes that make it easier for attendees to find their way around. Several changes for this year have optimized the show’s structure to make navigating it even easier.

Coffee, tea and associated products are being awarded their own platform for the first time, under the trade show name “Anuga Hot Beverages.” Before this, hot drinks were covered in one trade show together with bread and bakery products. The new Anuga Hot Beverages show reflects the growing significance of this segment. It’s already drawing great interest from the trade, and the show will be featuring a wide range of exhibitors and products.

The Anuga Culinary Concepts is bundling cooking skills, technology, equipment and gastronomy concepts. Here, as in the previous years, the finals of the two established professional competitions, “Chef of the Year” and “Patissier of the Year,” will once again take place. Attendees representing the foodservice sector will find a broad range of activities offering information, entertainment and opportunities to learn from celebrity chefs.

All of the 10 shows work together. A brief overview:

Anuga Fine Food – the trade show for delicatessen, gourmet and grocery: The largest of the Anuga trade shows unites a comprehensive and diversified offer from all over the globe. Numerous nations take part here at joint pavilions, which present the typical food and beverages of their home country. The companies represented here include, among others, Del Monte, Delverde, Di Gennaro, Develey, Feinkost Dittmann, Fromi, Global Food Trading, Kluth Carl Kühne, Monini Federzoni, Monolith, Mutti, New Lat GmbH, Olitalia, Saclá, Seeberger, Seitenbacher and Yamae Hisano. Mishtann Foods, Newlat GmbH (Birkel) and Goya En España are participating as first-time exhibitors. For the first time at Anuga Fine Food, there will be a Norwegian pavilion comprising 18 companies.

Anuga Frozen Food – the trade show for frozen food

The frozen food segment is one of the most important trendsetters within the grocery and foodservice markets. At Anuga, the international industry regularly presents its innovations for both channels. The show will feature products from countries throughout Europe and the Western Hemisphere as well as representation from the German Frozen Foods Institute, dti, which once again has its central point of contact at Anuga Frozen Food. The companies exhibiting at Anuga Frozen Food include Agrarfrost, Ardo, Aviko,,Erlenbacher, Gunnar Dafgard, Neuhauser, Pfalzgraf, Roncadin, Salomon Foodworld and Surgital as well as CPF, Délifrance and McCain.

Anuga Meat – the trade show for meat, sausages, game and poultry

Anuga Meat will offer an excellent array of sausages, red meat and poultry. Expect to see substantial representation from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, Uruguay and the USA. Canada and South Africa as well as individual exhibitors from New Zealand will also be exhibiting.

The top exhibitors at Anuga Meat are Argal, Agrosuper, Bell, Beretta, Citterio, Danish Crown, Elposo, Heidemark, Inalca, Miratorg, MHP, NH Foods, OSI, Pini Italia, Plukon, Sauels, Steinhaus, Tönnies, VanDrie, Vion, Westfleisch, Wiesenhof and Wiltmann. The French group Bigard is a newcomer.

Anuga Chilled & Fresh Food – the trade show for fresh convenience foods, fresh delicatessen, fish, fruit & vegetables

This show will offer visitors a range of trendsetting products targeting time-stressed consumers who demand the best in quality and freshness. The exhibitors include Condelio, Kühlmann, Rügen Fisch, Renna, Settele, Wewalka and Wolf Wurstwaren. Expect to see new exhibitors from Ecuador, Ireland and the USA as well.

Anuga Dairy – the trade show for milk and dairy products

Whether you’re looking for fluid milk, cheese or yogurt, you’ll find them here in international abundance. Anuga Dairy offers the most comprehensive overview of the international dairy market worldwide. Exhibitors coming from Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Spain and Cyprus demonstrate the large spectrum of the offer. A group from the Czech Republic will also be exhibiting at Anuga Dairy for the first time.

The top companies at Anuga Dairy include Andros, Bauer, DMK Deutsches Milchkontor, Ehrmann, Emmi, FrieslandCampina, Hochwald, Mifroma, Milcobel, Roerink Food Family and Unilac.

Anuga Bread & Bakery

Bread and bakery products in combination with jam, honey, chocolate-nut spreads, peanut butter and other sandwich spreads matter both to the trade and to the breakfast buffets prepared by the hospitality industry. The trade show presents a comprehensive overview of the extensive international offerings. This show will have more space this year now that the hot beverages have been separated into their own space. The exhibitors in this segment include, among others, Aachener Printen, Bianco Forno, Breitsamer, Di Leo Dutch Bakery, Ditsch, Elledi, Entrup Haselbach, FürstenReform (Langnese), Gunz, Guschlbauer, Mestemacher, Kronenbrot, Kuchenmeister, La Mole, Meisterbäckerei Ölz, San Carlo, Lantmännen, Schleicher, Ravi Foods and Vandemoortele. First-time exhibitors at the Anuga Bread & Bakery trade show include Austerschmidt, Eurovo and Pagen.

Anuga Drinks

Beverages for the retail and food service trades. Anuga offers a wide selection of products for both target groups: from alcohol to alcohol-free. Furthermore, the special event “Anuga Wine Special” presents an attractively designed offer of wine in combination with tasting sessions and specialized lectures. The exhibitors of this trade show include, among others, Austria Juice, Baltika, Döhler, Gerolsteiner, IQ4YOU, Pfanner, riha and Rauch. New German breweries such as Leikeim and Frankfurter Brauhaus are also represented at Anuga Drinks. There are new group stands from Argentina, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Norway.

Anuga Organic

Anuga Organic presents a wide range of organic products from Germany and abroad with a clear focus on export. The exhibitor offer is enhanced by the “Anuga Organic Market” special event. All products represented at Anuga Organic must carry an approved organic certification that is a standard on the market. The organic associations represented at Anuga include Consorzio il Biologico (IT), Danish Agriculture (DEN) and Naturland (DE). From Germany, companies such as Alb-Gold, Emils Bio-Manufaktur, Ecofinia, Elbler, frizle, foodloose, Followfood, Küchenbrüder, My Chipsbox, Proviant, purefood, Tropicai, Wechsler and Zabler are participating. There are a high number of exhibitors from Italy, i.e. such as Fratelli Damiano, Lauretana, Natura Nuova, Polobio, Probios and Sipa. The same applies for the Netherlands, with DO-IT, Doens Food, De Smaakspecialist, Spack, Tradin Organic, Sanorice and Trouw. Natur’Inov from Belgium is participating, and, from France, Compagnie Biodiversité.

Several companies are placing their focus on the trend theme vegan food, for instance: Das Eis, joy.foods, PureRaw, Purya!, Tofutown, Topas and Veganz. The Bulgarian supplier Roo’Bar, who already exhibited at ISM in Cologne is another new exhibitor.

Anuga Hot Beverages

For the first time, Anuga is presenting coffee, tea and cocoa at their own trade show and is thus doing justice on an international level to the theme that is attractive for both the trade and the foodservice market. The exhibitors include DEK, Dr. Suwelack, Dilmah, Establecimiento Las Marias, Instanta and Pellini. Furthermore, pavilions from Argentina, China, Italy, Japan, Colombia, Korea, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan offer an even wider variety of hot drinks.

Anuga Culinary Concepts

The foodservice market is expanding and setting trends for the rest of the food industry. The newly created Anuga Culinary Concepts offers room for ideas, innovations and networking. The exhibitors here include AHT, CSB Systems, DIAGEO, Dick, Ille and Unilever. Among others, the top-class finals of the “Chef of the Year” and “Patissier of the Year” will be held on the integrated Anuga Culinary Stage.

Partner Country: India

With its multi-faceted food industry, India is the ideal casting for the role of the partner country of the world’s largest and most important trade fair for food and beverages. But also with its international famous and globally widespread cuisine, India offers many opportunities to convince the trade and the food service sector of its diversity and efficiency. As group organizers, the Indian Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), the Agricultural & Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA) and for the first time the Indian Oilseeds and Produce Export Promotion Council (IOPEPC) are represented at Anuga by numerous Indian firms. Beyond this, many individual exhibitors are participating. Hence, there is going to be a record number of Indian exhibitors at Anuga 2017. In addition to tea and spices, rice, cereals and pulses, the products exhibited also include ready-made meals and organic products.

New Confection Creations from a Company with Centuries-Old Tradition

By Lorrie Baumann

Bissinger’s is offering two summery new flavors of its Gummy Pandas. Strawberry Mango and Tart Cherry & Lime join a line-up that already included Blueberry Acai, Pink Grapefruit with Grapeseed, Pomegranate White Tea, Raspberry Yumberry and Blackberry Hibiscus Gummy Pandas. “They’re well-liked by children, but they’re sophisticated enough for adults,” said Dave Owens, Bissinger’s Chief Chocolatier and Vice President of Taste. “They have a true-to-nature taste.”

Like the other flavors in the line, the new Gummy Pandas are gluten free, dairy free and contain no high fructose corn syrup. They’re packaged in a 3-ounce pouch that retails for $4.99.

Bissinger’s also debuted its Caramelized Blood Orange bar, which is 60 percent dark chocolate. Made with a blood orange-rosemary caramel with hazelnuts and cocoa nibs, the 3-ounce bar retails for $4.99. The bar is gluten free, and the early reviews are enthusiastic.

There are 10 bars in the line, including Coconut Caramel and Honey Pepita Caramel, which has roasted salted pepitas on the back of the bar, lots of honey taste and guajillo chili for a whisper of spice.

Bissinger’s Chocolate-Covered Wine Grapes are made from Muscat grapes that have dried into raisins on the vine. They’re infused with Shiraz wine and then enrobed in 60 percent dark chocolate. This is not a new product, but the packaging has been updated. They come in a 3.5-ounce pouch that retails for $5.99 as well as an 8-ounce gift box that retails for $14.99.

Many of these products originated in the kitchen of Chief Chocolatier Owens, who’s been Bissinger’s Vice President of Taste for nine years after coming to Bissinger’s after a 30-year career in the restaurant business. His assignment at Bissinger’s includes new product development, and in that role, it’s his responsibility to ensure that the legacy brought by the company’s 350 years of history is maintained as the product line also evolves to appeal to changing tastes. Doing that isn’t about responding to trends, Owens said: “We try to be in front of our consumers to know what they want before they want it.”

Like the days when Owens was developing a new dish to serve in his restaurant, a new Bissinger’s candy starts with a concept. Owens rolls that thought around in his mind until he can taste it, and then he goes into his lab to work on it. In the case of the Caramelized Blood Orange bar, it was the rosemary that got added into the recipe in the course of that work. Its herbaceous note adds a complexity to the bar that Owens really likes and that he thinks will resonate with consumers on the hunt for a new flavor sensation.

Though the other flavors change with the times, and many of them come and go in the product line, there’s one flavor that doesn’t change, and that’s the Bissinger’s chocolate. All of the chocolate that Bissinger’s uses is made in Europe – it all comes from one liquor, so that the milk chocolate and the different dark chocolates have common flavor notes. “It’s all cohesive,” Owens said. “That’s why we have customers for life…. We meet customers in their 80s who tell us they’ve been eating it since they were a small child. They can tell me more about the company than even I know.”

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