Food & bev: information and training on site

A flagship among the Koelnmesse events dedicated to packaging and process technologies in the food & beverage sector, Anuga FoodTec will be held in Cologne from 19 to 22 March 2024. Director of the event, Matthias Schlüter, previews the topics that will characterise the next edition, preceded by intense promotional activity all over the world.

Matthias Schlüter

Personally committed to promoting the 2024 edition of Anuga FoodTec around the world, the director of the event, Matthias Schlüter, who we recently met at Cibus Tec (organized by Koeln Parma Exhibitions and a precious part of the global platform for food processing technologies developed in these last years by Koelnmesse, Ed.) tells us about the new developments relating to the international show. He responds without hesitation to our first question, linked to the organisational and cultural transformation that Covid imposed on the trade fair industry, in particular regarding dealings with the general public.

«In general, compared to the past, attendance at the fairs is overall lower in numerical terms» Schlüter begins. «Today two people are making the trip, not four, but one of these is a top management figure and has a decision-making role, able to approve the purchase of machines that cost millions of euros. Although the numbers are lower, therefore, the quality of the visitors is, nevertheless, high».

Coming to the 2024 edition of the show, Schlüter underlines an interesting aspect:

«We predict the return of visitors from Asia, particularly from China. At the 2022 edition, the professionals from that country numbered 7, while today, thanks to the standardisation of health safety measures, we expect a considerable attendance, precisely from China».

A worldwide promotion programme

The organisation is investing heavily in promotion, with numerous information campaigns aimed at visitors and press conferences, organised particularly in Asia and with a coverage of events on a global scale - passing from All4pack to Pack Expo, from AndinaPack to Propack Indonesia - which Schlüter himself is managing. According to the director, expectations are high, with a strong attendance of professionals looking for advanced technological solutions for food packaging and processing, coming from over 150 countries according to estimates.

«The strength of Anuga FoodTec, what distinguishes it from other events in the world - continues Schlüter - lies in the rich offer of installed and often working solutions, and this is thanks to the presence in Europe of leading producers that have decided to take part in the event. There will also be, however, exhibitors and buyers from Asian countries which, although expressing technological excellence, have only recently begun to “look outside” their own market. This is the case of Japan, represented by numerous buyers and a number of exhibitors».

The new trends: from meat-less to social responsibility

The show will also be an interesting opportunity to intercept new trends, from digitalisation to sustainability, on which, according to Schlüter, new themes are grafted, first of all social responsibility.

«We aim to guarantee a global vision of all food sectors, from vegetable to baked products, from beverages to meat, knowing we are offering quality technological content. As to the trends, social responsibility is increasingly central in economic and ecological terms. Topics such as food waste, the optimisation of energy and raw material consumption are now the order of the day, on which, as a specialised show, we can certainly intervene, raising awareness and informing the millions of people working in the F&B sector. These same people can become ambassadors also with regards to the correct use and the value of packaging, today at the centre of a discrediting campaign and which, on the contrary, performs a central role, particularly in the fight against food waste, thus fully entering the debate on environmental and social sustainability.

Extending the shelf-life of a product, enhancing the nutritional dimension of a better and healthier food, and putting people in the condition to receive this food is fundamental from an ethical point of view, as well as offering significant business opportunities, appealing to the responsibility of the most industrialised countries which are also the leaders in our sector. Still focusing on sustainability, the EU is calling for rationalisation of the reuse and recycling of packaging and manufacturers of packaging materials can implement significant innovative solutions, to which we will give ample space in the show».

Finally, again with reference to trends, a must is a series of reflections on the relationship between new lifestyles and consumption and packaging, which is an indispensable aspect for food safety, preservation, shelf-life and product communication.

«In 2030, 40% of proteins at global level will be supplied by meat-like products and alternative formulae» concludes Schlüter. «It’s a truly market-disruptive phenomenon which reflects a change in consumer habits, especially amongst the younger population, who are often vegetarians and express new demands compared to the traditional paradigms of the food world. The industry, therefore, needs to continue to innovate and reinforce its role of informing and educating consumers on the fundamental function performed by packaging, beyond ideological divisions between materials. Demonisation makes no sense; instead, it’s necessary to choose in an appropriate way on the basis of the functional and ethical requirements that we have talked about. It’s not possible, in fact, to do away with aluminium for chocolate packaging or plastic for guaranteeing adequate preservation and reducing waste. This does not mean, however, that we no longer need to continue searching for solutions that are increasingly suitable for to the new context through the commitment of the professionals in the sector».

And it is precisely to professionals, present and future, that the programme for matching high school and business world needs refers, and to which Anuga FoodTec is committed, with the objective of meeting the demand for qualified workers in the sector, also making use of trade fairs as a vehicle for dissemination and information directed to the new generations.

Find out more information about the companies mentioned in this article and published in the Buyers' Guide - PackBook by ItaliaImballaggio
KÖLNMESSE GMBH (Exhibitions: Anuga FoodTec - ProSweets Cologne)

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