Sentiment within the German meat processing and packaging industry, which accounts for around 33 per cent of global trade, is now “more optimistic” following a collapse in demand during 2009, said Detlef Braun, Messe Frankfurt board management member. The domestic industry exports around 80 per cent of its meat processing and packaging output.
Last year was a difficult one for the food processing machinery industry in Germany with overall demand plummeting by 27 per cent, according to recent figures from the country’s Trade Association for Food Processing and Packaging Machinery (VDMA). However, demand within the Germany remained strong with sales rising by 11 per cent.
But demand has recovered since December – especially in orders from abroad which have seen a 65 per cent increase compared to 2009. Year-on-year figures from December 2009 to February 2010, which are less subject to short term fluctuations, show an increase of 15 per cent in orders from countries outside Germany, said the trade association.
“It seems that there is now less insecurity amongst international customers for machinery and that the upward trend is slowly stabilising,” added the VDMA. “Domestic business continues to be stable, so that there is, in 2010, the prospect of a significant recovery in the meat-processing machinery segment.”
Industry players are convinced IFFA will lend further impetus to the recovery.
“IFFA is being held at exactly the right time and is emitting positive signals,” added Braun. “The sector expects the world’s leading trade fair to generate more powerful impulses.”
The trade fair, which will be held in Frankfurt from 8 to 13 May, will be showcasing the latest products from 949 exhibitors from across the globe – an increase of 41 over IFFA 2007. The rise in exhibitor numbers is another signal that the meat industry is pulling out of the recession, said the event organisers. The show is expected to attract around 60,000 trade visitors.
Increasing automation in meat processing looks set to be a major theme at IFFA – with manufacturers exhibiting advanced technology for all stages of the meat processing chain.
“In this connection, the main goal is to increase the degree of automation in production because, compared with other segments of the food industry, this is still very low in meat processing,” said a statement from Messe Frankfurt.
Use of intelligent IT technology and continuous documentation systems to ensure full traceability along the supply chain is also likely to be an important theme next week. Hygiene orientated machine design to promote food safety will continue to play a large role.
German sector overview
The food processing and packaging machinery industry is the sixth largest plant manufacturing industry in Germany, with total sales in the sector reaching €11bn in 2008.
Meat processing machinery manufacture, with some 700 companies and around €800m worth of production, is the largest segment of the food machinery industry. With the additional packaging equipment segment, total market volume for suppliers of the meat industry is worth in the region of €1bn.
“Our sector is, in principle, very resilient in the face of fluctuations in the economic conditions,” said Richard Clemens, VDMA General. “But we were not able to avoid the impact of the financial and economic crisis. National and international customers for machine manufacture reacted with a growing sense of insecurity and put a stop on investment and spending.”