VDMA outlook for global demand reflects packaging growth

The managing director of VDMA, Richard Clemens welcomed the packaging fraternity in India to Interpack 2023 that will begin from 4-10 May in Dusseldorf. Clemens spoke about the global demand for consumer goods such as packaged food, beverages, beauty and hygiene products, and highlighted the key trends in the packaging for these products.

23 Dec 2022 | By Disha Chakraborty

Richard Clemens: Global trade picked up in 2021, reaching a value of Euros 44 billion, an increase of 6% as compared to the previous year

Messe Dusseldorf organised a press conference on 8 December 2022 to announce the highlights of Interpack 2023 which is scheduled from 4 to 10 May 2023. The event in 2023, which seeks to foreground the effectiveness of physical presence , is set to be the most impactful.

Richard Clemens of VDMA shared global trends in packaging. He said, “After a decline of 7% to a value of USD 41 billion in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, international trade in food processing and packaging machinery has picked up significantly in 2021. The value is USD 44 billion which is an increase of 6% as compared to the previous year." 

Clemens added how VDMA is committed to the goal of establishing a mixture of innovation-driven improvements, common standards for sustainable product design and a well-functioning secondary raw materials market. He spoke about circular innovations and solutions for a sustainable, forward-thinking and functional circular economy. The framework and a circular economy concept should be open and work towards global approaches. He told the audience that Interpack is an opportunity to look at industry, mechanical and plant engineering and how it can be part of complex value chains. 

The main thrust of Richard Clemens presentation was “A steadily growing global population, increasing urbanisation, higher employment rates and rising incomes are driving global demand for packaged food.” He said, Four billion tons of packaged food were sold worldwide between 2017 and 2021. 

Clemens asked, What does that mean? How much is that?. He converted it into the weight of a world-famous building, the Cheops pyramid in Egypt. A total weight of four billion tonnes is the equivalent of 133 Cheops pyramids. That’s that's how much weight of packaged food has been sold per year in recent years.

He shared with the delegates that this number is expected to rise to 5.3 billion tons.

A total weight of four billion tonnes of packaged food is equivalent to 133 Cheops pyramids

Clemens then spoke about the saturated, high-income markets with high per capita consumption of packaged food, consumer awareness and behaviour are changing. He said, “Consumers are paying more attention to what and how much they eat. They are consciously buying less, also in order to have less to throw away. They are also consuming more frequently on the move - keyword: on-the-go. This is clearly reflected in the low growth rates in Western Europe and North America.” 

In the industrialised countries, drug consumption is growing steadily, but growth rates in saturated markets such as the USA and Europe are lower than in the pharmerging markets. Growth factors in the industrialised countries are also demographic change and the associated ageing, increasing diseases of civilisation  and targeted therapies. Worldwide, pharmaceutical products worth euro 1.6 trillion were manufactured in 2021, and production is expected to increase by 36 % by 2026.

Clemens spoke about the global demand for consumer goods such as packaged food, beverages, beauty and hygiene products, etc. increases, so does the sales of packaging for these products. In 2021, retail sales of packaging for consumer goods worldwide were 3.9 trillion units. This is expected to increase by 15% by 2026.

From the point of view of the sales markets, Richard Clemens crunched data about “the demand for imported machinery”. This, he said, indicates an increasing use of technology in production and packaging and is thus an indicator of the level of development of the respective industry. The rising global demand for processed and packaged products is reflected in the demand for food processing and packaging machinery.

From 2017 to 2021, a total of euro 213 billion worth of food processing and packaging machinery was exported worldwide.

In 2020, international trade in food processing and packaging machinery decreased by 7% to a value of euro 41 billion. In view of the Corona pandemic and the associated travel restrictions and export difficulties, the decline was rather small. According to preliminary data, global trade picked up again in 2021, reaching a value of euro 44 billion, an increase of 6% compared with the previous year. This would bring it back to pre-crisis levels. Total investment is likely to be much higher, as total demand also includes machinery procured on the respective local market.

The world's largest exporters of food processing and packaging machinery continue to be Germany and Italy. Clemens points out how “German exports have increased by 5% in 2021 to a value of euro 9 billion. Italy follows in second place. Shipments increased by 8% to euro 8.9 billion in 2021. China follows in third place. Chinese exports increased by 23% in 2021 to euro 4.3 billion.”

Later Richard Clemens dwelled on the top topics at Interpack which included circular economy, resource management, digital technologies, product safety. 

These topics, he said, will play an important role at the trade show. Clemens said, “We would like to show how the processing and packaging industry is preparing for the future, and what approaches and technologies are available in the individual fields of action.”

Clemens said, “Digital technologies help to increase overall equipment efficiency (OEE), optimise the use of resources and make machine utilisation more flexible. The use of digital technologies reduces production, maintenance and repair costs. Data is the new gold. Taken on its own, however, it is worthless. It only acquires its value through algorithms. These analyse the data generated by machines, systems and employees in order to identify weak points or optimisation potential in machines, systems or processes.” 

Clemens highlighted safe and hygienic production. He said this is a top priority in the food and pharmaceutical industries. In order to manufacture their products safely and hygienically and to meet the sometimes high international standards and guidelines, machines in hygienic design are a matter of course and are constantly being optimised.

Residue-free cleaning of machines and systems is one of the basic prerequisites for meeting the hygiene and safety requirements for food and pharmaceutical products, said Richard Clemens. He said, “Cleaning-in-place systems are therefore very much in vogue. They ensure defined and time-optimised cleaning processes with the lowest possible use of resources such as water, energy, and cleaning and disinfection agents. They are constantly being further developed to avoid oversized cleaning processes and at the same time ensure maximum safety.”

Clemens concluded his presentation by talking about how to monitor and record environmental influences to which the food is exposed, thus providing direct information on the quality status of the product. He said, “Additional security is provided by control and inspection measures. Highly efficient, computer-aided track and trace systems ensure that products can be traced seamlessly along the entire value chain, thus guaranteeing significantly greater transparency. This also allows weak points in the logistics chain to be identified, trade routes to be designed more efficiently, and thus costs to be saved.” 

Clemens said, “Indicators take on an active warranty function in the transport of high-value goods. The consumer can thus determine upon receipt of the goods whether critical limits have been exceeded or not."

Richard Clemens welcomed everyone to the world's biggest trade fair for the packaging industry and related process industries will be up and running again from 4 to 10 May 2023. The previous edition, Interpack 2017, was attended by 2,866 exhibitors from 55 countries and 1,708,999 visitors.

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The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?


The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?

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