IFFA, the must attend event for the meat industry, held every three years, was bigger than ever when held this year in May, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Touted as connecting the entire meat industry supply chain, from processing through to retail, the trade show is a six-day extravaganza held across four double storey Halls, each focusing on a specific element of the industry.
- Hall 8: Processing
- Hall 9: Slaughter, transport, refrigeration, automation and handling, cleaning, EDP and IT solutions
- Hall 11: Packaging, supply facilities, measuring and weight equipment, packaging materials
- Hall 12: Processing, The butcher’s shop, Ingredients, casings
With more than 1,000 exhibitors from 49 countries it is a trade event for food retail, wholesalers, importers/exporters, abattoir and processing and the food industry. The vast majority of visitors (70%) were international, while 62% of exhibitors originated from outside Germany.
This year, IFFA celebrated its 70th year from its early beginnings as a conference for the Butchers’ Association, based in the US Zone of Frankfurt am Main, back in 1949. The first exhibition, in post-war times, was designed to motivate and encourage butchers to be part of industry, with greater meat rations. By 1959, the event was attracting 132,000 visitors and 370 exhibitors.
For the butcher, optimising and simplifying workflows was a large part of the offering from digital technology companies, including payment and business systems. Food trends also figured highly with the emphasis on product authenticity – regional origins, breeds and production systems. It would seem that innovative butchers are taking different approaches to reaching customers through food trucks, online shops and alternative sales channels.
Ingredients, additives, skins and casings were a significant portion of the exhibition for both butchers and processing companies. Finding the perfect solution to natural product appearance, while maintaining a constant high standard of quality, particularly in the snack category with high protein or fibre. The BBQ trend we are seeing in Australia is also gaining ground around the world – marinades, rubs and spice mixes were a prominent product on show.
Familiar brands to Australians were well represented such as Multivac, Henkelman, Polyclip, Krehalon, Viscofan, Ennio, Niras, Devro, Vemag, Thompson Meat Machinery, Kerry and Marel.
Australian Meat News had a chat with a few Aussies who made the trip for their perceptions.
CBS Foodtech – Andy Schurger
As agents for a number of brands including Rex and Treif, Mark, Jason and I went to be the Australian representatives for those companies. A lot of suppliers were releasing new products for the first time, that we are looking forward to bringing to Australia.
One is the weight bandsaw – that is already on order. Two others we are interested in are a meat ball and burger machine that replicates handmade product, the other is a slicer aimed at the small to medium guy with a smokehouse to do his bacon and ham to cater the smallgoods consumer.
This year, IFFA opened up a new Hall – Hall 12, which means that the overall capacity of the event would be equivalent to seven FoodPro’s. Machinery plays a big part of IFFA – across three halls – but packaging, ingredients, casings, shop fitout and retail all have a big presence.
It was great to see the displays for the 70th year of IFFA – it really brings home how far the industry has come. If you are in the market for new product or innovation, IFFA is the place to be.
CSB-System AG – Markus Witor
In line with IFFA’s central theme, ‘Digitise and automate your business’, CSB sought to demonstrate to the meat industry how digital technologies and automation solutions can create value. The trade show confirmed the trend that small meat companies are increasingly investing in process management software to allow organisation to manage their business and automate processes (ERP).
CSB presented many innovations for its ERP range aimed at smaller companies and butcher shops that can be implemented very quickly, and can be expanded as you need or adapted to new conditions. According to Head of Sales, Hermann Schalk, access to simple digitisation means that all the requirements for the food retail sector regarding quality assurance, traceability and EDI are covered. CSB are seeing increasing numbers of small companies adopting best-practice processes to cover industry and market requirements and are providing software that can be adapted without much effort. The CSB Basic ERP was awarded the Fleischer Handwerk Award in the Automation and Digitisation category, at IFFA.
Processing, automation of weigh price labelling and picking can be combined to make inventory management more efficient. For enterprises tackling major digitisation or greenfield builds, partnering with an experience IT partner, was a primary reason for many to visit the CSB stand, many of whom were from Asian countries and the American continent.
Overall, CSB considers the outcome of the trade show as very positive: “At our booth, and together with our partners, we aimed to present new solutions and concrete approaches to the digitization and automation of small, medium and large meat businesses. And this is exactly what we accomplished,” says Sarah Vanessa Kröner, member of CSB’s board of directors.
Highgate Group – Alister Joyce
A passionate team of five representatives from Highgate Group Australia and New Zealand descended on IFFA 2019 in Frankfurt, and they certainly weren’t disappointed.
Highgate was at IFFA to support some of their partner agencies Knecht, F. Dick, Giesser, Manulatex, Bobet, and Termet, and to promote several of the latest innovations to their valued clients who had travelled to Germany from Australia and New Zealand.
At IFFA 2019, Highgate Group’s partner Knecht Germany released the very latest knife sharpening technology; the E50R and E50TR fully robotic knife sharpening machines. These game-changing developments have been designed to provide larger meat processors with a high volume of consistently sharp knives across their plants, delivering long-term productivity improvements and increased yields, and significant reductions in knife related injuries.
Other innovations from Knecht included an extensive range of grinding and sharpening machines for mincer plates and knives, involute slicer, bowl cutter and circular blades, all designed to increase profitability and productivity with rapid return on investment.
Highgate were also proud to support their partner Manulatex France, who were promoting a new range of light-weight chain mesh products which is 40% lighter and up to 50% less abrasive. This impressive development in chain mesh apparel has been designed to provide greater comfort and extra protection for food processors working with sharp knives and blades.
Highgate is soon to release some exciting new innovations, continuing their focused commitment to support the Australian meat processing industry into the future.
“Meat processors are embracing innovation more than ever before to exceed their customers’ needs and remain competitive,” said Alister Joyce, General Manager of Highgate. “Our mission is to be the indispensable partner for meat processors to ensure they can evolve now and beyond, by supplying the latest smart innovations, equipment and consumables, all supported with Highgate’s unparalleled customer service and fast delivery.”
Viking Food Solutions – Stuart Mead
Viking has been attending IFFA since the 1980s, as we are passionate about bringing the latest technology and ideas back to Australia to help butchers and food processors at home increase their growth and efficiency, to support our motto of ‘Equipping the Food Industry to Grow’. Since our inception in 1976, we have looked to Europe to source high quality machinery to provide and service the Australian market. As a result, meeting with manufacturers and industry frontrunners at IFFA is an essential part of our process.
Over our time attending this event, we have noticed the universal trends in machinery and packaging solutions shift with the transforming needs of our industry. In today’s world of globalisation, increasing environmental awareness, and exponentially evolving digital technology; meat processors need more than ever the sophistication and modernity that IFFA showcases.
There is a global inclination towards reducing excess in our businesses,” said Stuart, “Both in labour and in materials, and this is a crucial factor driving European manufacturers to diversify and explore quicker and smarter ways to process and pack food products.
“Additionally, due to a growing societal awareness about the damage caused by discarded waste – and bold claims made by the media about reducing plastic waste – there has been a lot of development and enthusiasm around offering fully sustainable packaging solutions. An end goal for this concept would be the creation of a maintainable circular economy to make the most of limited resources.”
With the average consumer becoming more knowledgeable and experienced in an age of highly-accessible information, there has been a growing market for more luxury products observed over the past few years. Connected with this is the juggernauting trend of dry-aged meat; it’s become a common word on the lips of meat enthusiasts the world over – both professional industry personnel and discerning home foodies.
Another popular movement in our industry is automation. It has becoming a huge element involved in speeding up production, with evolution in labour-saving robotics generating a focus on using such technology to get more done in less time, with a greater consistency of results.
“Overall, attending IFFA is well worth the trip,” says Stuart. “It’s a great way to keep in touch with global trends and the latest innovations.
“As a result of the trip, we will be bringing out a number of exciting new products, including a tray sealer for the ready-meal market, automated netting solutions, a wide range of dry-aging equipment and advances in sustainable packaging. Our latest catalogue gives the latest products in processing and packaging equipment and supplies based on a lot of what we saw at IFFA.”