Emotions and delight to reunite in person at IFFA were high: For six days, exhibitors presented innovations for sustainable and efficient production and packaging of meat and alternative proteins. Around 50,000 trade visitors were more than satisfied with 'their' industry meeting, which took place following its usual three-year cycle, which corresponds to the industry's innovation cycle. Wolfgang Marzin, President and CEO of Messe Frankfurt, also expressed his enthusiasm: "It was a pleasure to walk through the halls and meet industry participants again. An almost euphoric mood dominated IFFA. You could clearly feel how relieved everyone was to finally be able to meet in person again. The industry was open to new topics and impressively demonstrated its innovative strength. The global family reunion once again set the trends for the coming years – not least due to the expansion to include alternative proteins."
Industry with innovative power shows solutions for tomorrow
Automation and digitalisation are the driving topics in meat and protein processing and were at the centre of the innovations. The exhibiting industry also showed solutions and ideas for increasing energy efficiency and resource-saving production in order to achieve the EU's target of climate neutrality by 2050. Richard Clemens, Managing Director of the VDMA Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association, is more than satisfied with the course of the trade fair and emphasised: "Finally, the industry can meet again. The mood at IFFA 2022 is exceptionally good. The national and international visitors are very interested in the innovations and, in numerous cases, have very concrete projects in the pipelines. The joy of finally meeting in person again is apparent everywhere."
As for the packaging industry, the innovations were entirely in line with the slogan: “As much as necessary, as little as possible". In addition to recyclability, manufacturers focused on renewable raw materials: bio-based packaging as an alternative to plastic made from fossil raw materials points the way to a more environmentally friendly future.
The German Butchers' Association (DFV), supported by the National Team of the Butchers' Trade, placed the promotion of young professional talent at the centre of many activities in Hall 12.0. Herbert Dohrmann, President of the DFV, is entirely satisfied with IFFA: "I am an optimist, but I would certainly not have expected that we would meet so many of our colleagues here and that there would be such a great atmosphere at the fair. More than 25 percent increase in the number of products at the international quality competitions, two brand new competitions for young professionals and a strong performance by our national squad have brought a lot of life to our areas. A visit to IFFA was worthwhile for every company in the meat industry, because the technical and technological developments of the last three years have been tremendous. The fair has more than fulfilled its role as a driver of innovation for the sector.”
Successful premiere: Great interest in alternative proteins
The trend is towards more conscious consumption of meat. Nevertheless, many people do not want to give up their usual dietary patterns. Industry and trade are therefore developing ever more perfect plant-based alternatives – the market for meat alternatives based on plants or from cell cultures is growing rapidly. New products are emerging which also mean a boost in innovation for production technology. Picking up on this trend, IFFA expanded its product portfolio for the first time and focused on process technology and ingredients for alternative proteins. Visitors showed great interest in plant-based meat alternatives, hybrid products and cell-cultured meat – both on the exhibitors' stands and with their participation in the event programme. The conference by ProVeg and the Discovery Tours led by the Good Food Institute Europe, for example, were very popular. Fabio Ziemßen, first chairman at the German Association for Alternative Protein Sources, draws a positive conclusion from his association's premiere participation at IFFA: "IFFA 2022 has made it clear that alternative protein sources will continue to have a firm place at the leading international trade fair in the future, and that this topic will continue to grow in the coming years. It is therefore indispensable for producers and distributors of alternative protein sources to be present here in three years' time. Being the German industry association, we look forward to continuing to accompany and shape this development in the future."
Convinced, excited and inspired
The exhibitors' booths were crowded: whether between bowl cutters, transport lines or packaging machines, in front of shelves of ingredients, in the butchers' competition area or in the IFFA Factory – visitors were primarily interested in the haptic experience. Touching, smelling, tasting, seeing machines in live operation, exchanging personal experiences and expanding knowledge were at the top of the agenda. At 96 percent, overall satisfaction is even higher than at IFFA 2019 - and thus at an absolute top level. According to a regular visitor survey conducted by Messe Frankfurt, 95 percent were satisfied with the exhibitors' range of products and services, and 96 percent said they had achieved their trade fair visit objectives. Despite the currently difficult general conditions, visitors came to Frankfurt from 129 countries. With a total share of 72 percent international visitors, IFFA thus maintains its high relevance for the global industry. The top visitor nations included the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Poland, USA, Brazil, Austria, Great Britain, Switzerland and France.
For the first time, IFFA was also extended into the digital space: on the IFFA Digital Extension platform, participants were able to contact each other in advance, make appointments and find out about exhibitors' innovations even before the fair begun. These functions of the digital event platform will also be available after the IFFA onsite event until 31 May 2022. And: Anyone who missed a presentation at the IFFA Forum can still watch the recordings on the digital platform afterwards. The IFFA Digital Extension recorded 12,661 accesses by the end of the show.