GERMANY, Frankfurt a. M. Chairman of the IFFA Advisory Board and the VDMA Meat Processing Machinery Division Klaus Schröter predicts a bright future for the industry and welcomes the new direction of IFFA.
At the press conference for the trade fair IFFA 2022, the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) announced that German production of food processing and packaging machinery increased by 6% to just under €15 billion in 2021.
According to provisional data from the Federal Statistical Office, the industry turnover in the fourth-largest mechanical engineering sector has almost returned to the pre-crisis level of 2019.
"Sales of process technology for the meat and protein industry have remained stable with around €1.2 billion, contrary to the trend and despite the difficult conditions in the first year of the pandemic. In 2021, our industry growth is expected to be around 6%," said Klaus Schröter, Chairman of the IFFA Advisory Board and the VDMA Meat Processing Machinery Division. Schröter expects similar growth potential for the packaging machinery sector.
Slight growth of German exports
After a slight decline in 2020 (0.8%), German machinery manufacturers experienced a small export growth in 2021. As for the most important market, the USA showed an increase in demand of over 23%.
"In the US food industry, it is very difficult to find qualified operators. This forces companies to invest in modern technologies and automation solutions for safe and stable production. And the pandemic even reinforced this trend," Klaus Schröter said.
In addition to the US, there was also significant impetus by other overseas markets, such as China, Brazil and Australia. However, German exports to European countries declined in 2021 and fell below the record level of the previous year. For example, significantly fewer machines had been delivered to France, Spain, the United Kingdom and Russia in 2021.
Supply chain disruptions and shortage of material
The most severe inhibiting factor for the economy in 2021 was the ongoing disruption of supply chains. According to a VDMA survey among its members, electrical components are most affected, followed by plastics and rubber as well as metals and metal products. On top of this, there are also disruptions in logistics and significant increases in transport costs.
"The order books are well filled, but the supply bottlenecks and shortages in material and procurement markets will continue to hamper production for some months. Also of concern is the price increase for energy and materials, which is a challenge for all machinery manufacturers in Germany and Europe," said Schröter.
Positive outlook in a dynamic market
Schröter expects a positive outlook for the meat and protein supply industry. "The global food industry is a dynamic growth market determined by demographic developments, nutritional trends, changing consumer habits, and ever shorter product life cycles. Therefore, companies' demands for safe, flexible and economical plant technology for production, processing and packaging are constantly posing new challenges for mechanical engineering," Schröter explained.
The Chairman welcomes the inclusion of alternative proteins as part of the trade fair's focus as a great opportunity for the supply industry and IFFA. "The technological know-how is equally important to manufacturers of plant-based protein, and by expanding the IFFA focus we are attracting another customer target group," Schröter added.