Focus: German confectionery markets face up to loss of key trade shows

The past twelve months have been particularly notable for the universally challenging impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the German confectionery market has been no exception to that, as Neill Barston reports 

As market observers have keenly noted, the past few weeks were supposed to provide the valuable market centrepiece of ISM for how the confectionery year would shape up – but the ongoing coronavirus forced its cancellation.

It’s a far from unique situation in Germany, with the trade fair’s companion event, ProSweets, dedicated to equipment and systems, also suffering the same fate. Similarly, the recently confirmed loss of the already rescheduled Interpack in Dusseldorf at the end of February, was also set to provide a once in three year showcase for leading global equipment manufacturers.

This challenging picture has been reflected by figures from Germany’s confectionery trade association, the BDSI, during 2020, which, according to its last update, found that in the first half of 2020, a total of 67% of medium-sized businesses reported reduced exports.

This was attributed to uncertainties over trade with US and Asian markets, and of course the pandemic, which has also impacted on both domestic retailing and the country’s overseas activity. Furthermore, the organisation also expressed concern at a reduction in cocoa grindings, resulting in less volume of finished products reaching shelves during the past year.

Despite such factors, research group Statistica forecast that the German sweets and snacks market for 2021 is valued at nearly $19 billion, retaining its strong global position.

Clearly, much will depend on the pace of the roll-out of the much-anticipated vaccines that have been hailed as the decisive route out of the coronavirus pandemic, which has reportedly experienced slow delivery in its initial phases for the region this month amid pressure on supplies. Highlights amid challenges While times have clearly been tough for the finished product segment of the market, equipment and systems manufacturers have reported progress. Among them, Theegarten-Pactec has unveiled a new suction support sealing system targeting greater precision of packaging for chocolate, as well as saving on materials.

The company explained that its latest process has been designed with environmental benefits aimed at making manufacturing processes more stable. Development of its system follows a European study on consumer preferences for packaging carried out in March 2020, revealed that almost 70 per cent of respondents were actively trying to reduce use of plastic packaging.

In other technical developments, the Uelzena Group has expanded its spray-drying technology at its Uelzen ingredients processing site in Germany, to include an ultra-modern spray-drying plant, as part of a wider project of enhancing its core production facilities.

As the business revealed, its new facility is housed in a separate building next to the high-bay warehouse, with preparations for its latest addition having been carefully planned with foundations expected to be put down this month.

Furthermore, the German-based Schenck Process Group (SPG) has just completed an acquisition of British-headquartered equipment and systems business Baker Perkins, as the company continues its global expansion.

As the Darmstadt business explained of its move, the investment in the specialist machinery company, which produces a number of lines for the confectionery, biscuit, cookie and cracker markets, will enable it to enhance its overall European, US and Asia Pacific operations.

Another key example of the nation’s performance within the sector is that of Capol, the anti-sticking, glazing and sealing agents business with a strong focus upon confectionery. The company has opened a new production line at its site in St Hubert, Canada, which was brought into the group in 2017 with the acquisition of Colarôme, proving that there have been some notes of optimism for the market as it sets about forging a recovery this year.

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