Planet A Foods claims top honours for ISM Awards night

A dynamic trio of entries claimed honours at this year’s ISM New Product Awards in Cologne, Germany, writes Neill Barston.

Confectionery Production was on hand to cover the event’s ceremony last night, which drew a total in the region of 100 entries from businesses around the world.

First place was awarded to Germany’s Planet A, Foods (formerly known as Nocoa) for its Choviva, cocoa alternative, which we have previously reported on, and has subsequently attracted strong international interest.

As the independent judges in the contest noted, the top three companies claiming honours were commended for their creativity, and willingness to play with ingredients, textures and flavours to create some genuine innovations.

From its origins as a climate-friendly alternative chocolate brand, the business is now positioning itself as an ingredients specialist, As judges asserted, the taste is comparable with conventional chocolate, yet it has a much better CO2 footprint. ChoViva was voted the most innovative, new product at ISM 2024.

Collecting the award, Dr Sara Marquart said: We’re a start-up and are honoured to be here. We started out two and a half years ago, It was just my brother Max and I in our kitchen, dreaming of making sustainable chocolate, and here we are in the industry.

“It would be unthinkable without the industry, we are so thankful for all our partners who have been so patient with us, even before we gained RSPO certification. Thanks to the industry and the ISM for the amazing organisation for having us.”

Furthermore, second place went to UPPA Cacaofruit Bites by Gudrun Commercial NV from Belgium, which stood out above all because of their excellent quality and the fruit pulp used. ‘Upcycled’ Cacaofruit Bites, where the fruit pulp is recycled, ensure around a 30% saving in the material used compared to previously.

This sustainable approach is part of an industry trend that involves companies developing environmentally-friendly products to offer farmers additional sources of income.

In third place was an especially novel product in the form of PEZ myHead from Austria, offering a strong piece of marketing.

Th dispensers for small, sour sherbet sweets well-known from the 1950s, which have been taken to the next level by creating Pez dispensers with 3D printed heads that resemble real people. These personalised heads lend the dispensers an individual character and create a strong emotional connection to the purchaser.

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