COLOGNE, Germany -- The European food industry continues to face major supply and marketing challenges from the economic integration of Europe, according to Gerd Harig, chief executive officer of the Federal Association of the German Retail Grocery Trade. Harig shared his opinions on European trade with SN in advance of the Anuga Show, the giant Cologne-based world food show to be held Sept. 30 through Oct. 5 at the Koln Messe fairgrounds here. Harig also spoke about this topic at a New York press conference that detailed show plans. The formation of the European Union Jan. 1, 1993, was meant to mark the elimination of all customs barriers between the union's members and the creation of common business practices and regulations throughout all 12 countries. The drive toward a common European currency also forms part of the program. But the creation of a common market in all 12 countries has not been completed and probably won't be before the turn of the century. It also has been made more difficult by the expansion of the EU this year to include Finland, Sweden and Austria. The region that encompasses the European Union, with its population of 380 million, now incorporates 96% of all Western Europeans, according to Harig. "One thing all the countries [in the European Union] have in common is the progressive economization of food distribution coupled with a marked decline in the number of outlets, simultaneous growth in average sales space and the development of new marketing forms and systems," Harig said.