With soyfoods reported to be worth €1.8bn in 2006, representing a seven per cent growth over the previous year, according to the Dutch market researcher's recent report Soyfoods: The European market 2007, the meat-free market is one that has become a prime target for food manufacturers. The company has placed such emphasis on this market that this year will be the first ever event dedicated to the market, the Meat-free conference: Positioning for category growth taking place in Cologne, Germany on 11-12 October. The meat-free conference allows professionals to gain first hand information on all the latest innovations in the fields of texture, taste and succulency. Based on the preliminary schedule, a broad spectrum of speakers, such as a category manager from ASDA, client services director from Mintel (United Kingdom) and the director of Prosoy Research & Strategy (The Netherlands), will discuss topics that focus on consumers, markets, retail channels, brands and innovations. Other speakers will cover topics that affect all aspects of the meat-free market, such as geographical research on the market status in different countries, such as Germany and the UK. With Prosoy anticipating future growth for the meat-free industry the two-day conference will also look into market issues such as 'The Nutritional and Health Benefits of Meat-Free foods' and 'The Future of Vegetable Proteins'. Issues that are currently presiding in the food industry at present have also been analysed to advise manufacturers how to handle the situation to make future gains. For example, the 'Salt Reduction: New Breakthroughs for Meat-Free Products' programme penciled in for day two will question what can be done regarding the high salt content found in meat-free products - a situation that has provoked action from industry bodies that fear increased health risks for consumers. The company claims that the conference is the perfect platform for networking in and with the meat-free industry, an area that has seen leading food manufacturers, such as Nestle, Hain Celestial and Linda McCartney all entering the market in the past few years. A second event has been scheduled in for the dairy-free industry, Dairy-free conference: Drivers for International Growth, due to be held in London on 1-2 November. The fourth Prosoy dairy-free conference will also focus primarily on consumers, markets, retail channels, brands and innovations. It boasts a similar programme to that of the meat-free conference, with innovations in the field of taste, format and concept presented by manufacturers and ingredient companies. Prosoy has estimated a rapid growth spurt in the future, due to the market soaring globally in past years, with the company recording a category growth of 17 per cent in 2006. Indeed, the market value of soya drinks and desserts is estimated at €580mn in the EU. Speakers will include retailers, ICI of Sweden and manufacturers such as Mona of Austria. Presentations will include 'How to Apply Growth Trends in Healthy Marketing' and 'Growth in Fresh Soya Beverages & Yogurts in Central Europe including Austria'. For more information or to register for the events visit www.prosoy.org or call +31 30 225 2060.