IFFA 2019 – one of the largest trade shows for the meat industry – concluded last week. According to a visitor poll conducted by Messe Frankfurt after the end of this edition, 96% of visitors gave IFFA a positive rating. On the exhibitor side, too, there was a recorded level of satisfaction of 92%.
According to the organizers, around 6,700 visitors from 149 countries visited the fair this year. This represents a 7% increase from 2016 which saw 62,440 visitors from 142 countries. Moreover, there were 1,039 exhibitors from 49 countries, compared to 1,036 from 51 countries in 2016.
“IFFA has once again shown that it is not only one of our longest-established trade fairs but also, above all, the global meeting place for the sector. Seven out of ten visitors came from outside Germany. The mood in the halls, on the exhibition stands and in the aisles was fantastic. At the same time, IFFA is the meeting place of the meat-processing sector – the meat industry, the machine manufacturers, the packaging companies, the spice suppliers, the trade and butchers. Many of these companies have been in the hands of the same family for generations and IFFA is where they meet to shape the future every three years,” said Wolfgang Marzin, president and CEO of Messe Frankfurt.
This year, the trade show chose to focus on digitization and the smart meat factory, among other things. Automation and software solutions make production and processes more intelligent. Food safety continues to be an important subject with the aim being to replace manual activities with automatic processes. In this connection, exhibitors showed, for example, the fully automatic portioning and placement of steaks or cold cuts in packaging materials using feeders or industrial robots. Also important in the packaging field are smart solutions to protect meat and meat products whereby the spotlight is on resource conservation and sustainability in terms of the energy efficiency of machines and process chains, as well as climate-neutral packaging. All in all, the outlook for meat-industry suppliers is positive with worldwide meat production expected to rise by five percent per annum until 2027.
85% of trade visitors consider the economic outlook to be positive and rate the current situation of the industry as being satisfactory to good.
As the significance of meat in society remains very high, traditional butchers score with consumers by offering quality and regional products. Accompanying this trend are new careers, such as meat sommelier. Innovative sales concepts, such as online shops, clever catering ideas and customer communications via the social media are making the butchers’ trade fit for the future. Additionally, artisan skills of the highest order could be seen at the international quality competitions of the German Butchers’ Association (DFV). Moreover, trainees had the opportunity to demonstrate their talents in the international young-butchers competition in which the best up-and-coming butchers from six countries competed against each other.
Machine manufacturers and the butchers’ trade have a challenge in common: a shortage of skilled personnel and trainee problems. Companies must invest more in digitalization, automation and robot technology to lift the load from employees and simplify all meat-processing stages – such solutions for companies of all sizes and kinds were to be seen at IFFA. This was confirmed by 95 percent of trade visitors who said they were very satisfied with the range of products and services to be seen at the fair.