GERMANY, Frankfurt a. M. Despite the pandemic, food processing equipment manufacturers in Germany were met with strong domestic demand and an even stronger demand on the US market. In 2021, exports to the US increased by over 23%, leading to machinery exports worth over €100 m.
The German trade association for food processing and packaging machinery manufacturers VDMA announced that domestic production had increased by 7% in 2021, reaching €14.8 bn. Compared to pre-pandemic numbers, the industry nearly recovered to its pre-crisis level of €15.3 bn.
At the press conference in the run-up to IFFA – the trade fair for the protein industry – Chairman of the IFFA Advisory Board and the VDMA Meat Processing Machinery Division Klaus Schröter said that sales revenue in 2020 had not increased, and in year two of the pandemic, production was up by 6% at €1.3 bn. The past two years have seen a high interest in investing in the German market; the domestic sales even increased by 8% in 2021. Schröter listed low-interest rates, promotional loans and investments in automation solutions as driving factors.
Schröter attributed the particularly dynamic development in the US market to labour shortages and explained that "in the US food industry, it is very difficult to get qualified operators. This forces companies to invest in modern technology and automation solutions for safe and stable production. And the Corona pandemic has even reinforced this trend.”
Supply chains remain under pressure
Prospects for the machinery sector remain positive, according to the VDMA. The global food industry is a dynamic growth market determined by demographic developments, nutritional trends, increasingly shorter product life cycles and persistent cost pressures. Investment strategies in safe, flexible and economical technology for production, processing and packaging tend to be less volatile than in other parts of the mechanical engineering industry.
Furthermore, the sector has not yet suffered from the effects of the Ukraine war. Orders have increased by 4% in March 2022 and were mainly driven by non-European countries. The industry is hopeful that the trade fair will also positively influence sales. Schröter emphasised that "We are very much looking forward to the international supplier industry presenting its innovations at the most important industry platform and to all of us finally being able to discuss requirements and trends with the international trade audience again in a face-to-face exchange.”