GERMANY, Frankfurt. For six days, IFFA, the leading international trade fair for the meat industry, showed how the sector is getting fit for the future. From the Smart Meat Factory, packaging trends and food safety to clean labelling and increasing demands on meat quality: the exhibitors provided answers to the requirements of the meat processing industry and the butcher's trade. And all this with the best investment mood.
"IFFA has once again shown that it is not only one of our most traditional trade fairs, but above all one: the global meeting place for the industry par excellence. Seven out of ten visitors came from abroad. The atmosphere in the halls, at the stands and in the corridors was fantastic," sums up Wolfgang Marzin, Chairman of the Board of Management of Messe Frankfurt. "At the same time, IFFA is a family reunion for the meat industry; many companies have been in family hands for generations. Every three years they meet here to shape the future: the meat industry, machine builders, packers, spice suppliers, the trade and butchers' trade.
This is also confirmed by the results of the visitor survey conducted by Messe Frankfurt: 96% of trade visitors gave IFFA a positive rating. There was also an excellent response from exhibitors with a total of 92% overall satisfaction.
Digitisation as a driver topic for the industry is the smart meat factory in the centre of attention. Automation and software solutions make production and processes in meat factories more intelligent. Food safety also remains in focus. The aim is to replace manual activities with automated processes. The manufacturers demonstrated, for example, fully automatic portioning and inserting of steaks or cold cuts into packaging with the aid of inserts or industrial robots. In addition, the packaging area dealt with smart solutions to protect valuable meat food. Important topics included resource conservation and sustainability, from energy efficiency in machines and process chains to climate-neutral packaging. Overall, the prospects for the supply industry to the meat industry are positive: global meat production is expected to grow by 5% annually until 2027.
85% of the trade visitors assess the economic situation as promising and rate the current situation in the industry as good to satisfactory.
The importance of meat in society remains very high. The traditional butcher's trade scores with consumers for quality and regionality. New professions such as meat sommelier training are accompanying the trend. Innovative sales concepts such as online shops, clever catering ideas or customer communication via social media make the craft fit for the future. The quality competitions of the German Butchers' Association showed craftsmanship at its best. The youngsters were able to prove themselves in the international butcher's youth competition. The best young butchers from six countries competed against each other.
One challenge unites both the machine manufacturers and the butchers' trade: everywhere there is a shortage of skilled workers and problems with young talent. Companies must invest more in digitization, automation and robotics. This reduces the workload on employees and simplifies processes at all stages of meat processing. At IFFA, solutions were on show for all sizes and types of company. This was confirmed by 95% of the trade visitors, who were very satisfied with the range of products on show here.
70 years ago, IFFA took place for the first time as an accompanying exhibition to the Association Day of the US Butchers' Association in Frankfurt. From a small butchers' exhibition, it has developed into the world's leading trade fair for the international meat industry. In 2019, 70% of the trade visitors came from abroad - the top ten visitor nations were Germany, the Russian Federation, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Poland, China, Ukraine, the USA, Austria and Australia. Particularly strong growth was recorded in Latin America with 31% and Eastern Europe with 15%.
Facts and figures: Everything you need to know about IFFA 2019
The next IFFA will take place from 14 to 19 May 2022.