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In 2023, German manufacturers of food processing and packaging machinery achieved a nominal export growth of 8.6 percent, reaching a record value of 9.85 billion euros. However, German manufacturers were not the only ones to benefit from the strong global demand. According to the data available to date, the global trade in food processing and packaging machinery is expected to rise to over 52 billion euros in 2023.

Food processing and packaging machinery exports in 2023 - at record levels worldwide
Beatrix Fraese (VDMA/Uwe Noelke)

With an export turnover of 86 percent, the German food machinery and packaging machinery industry has an above-average level of activity in foreign markets. “On the one hand, we benefit from the continuing high level of investment in automated, efficient and sustainable production and packaging technologies in industrialised countries and, on the other, from the growth momentum in populous countries,” says Beatrix Fraese, economic expert at the VDMA Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association. Last year, 53 per cent – and therefore more than half of exports – were delivered to countries outside Europe, with the focus on Asia and North America.

Food and beverage sector strongest industry in many countries

In many emerging economies, including the populous countries of India, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil and Nigeria, for example, the food and beverage industries are the strongest industrial sectors (source: United Nations Industries Development Organisation UNIDO).

By investing in hygienic processing and packaging technology, these often resource-rich countries are increasing local value creation and self-sufficiency in safe, long-live food and beverages. They are increasingly moving away from exporting pure raw materials and instead exporting their own products in the region and, in some cases, worldwide. “The potential is far from exhausted and will continue to ensure a strong demand for machinery,” believes Beatrix Fraese.

The food and beverage industry is also the largest industrial sector in many industrialised countries, especially in the USA. In the United States, the sector employs almost 2 million people and generated a production value of over 1.1 trillion Euros in 2023 (source: Euromonitor International). Against the backdrop of a lack of skilled labour, the sector continues to invest in automated, efficient and stable processes. This ensures that imports of machinery are constantly reaching new records. German manufacturers have been the USA’s most important trading partner in the food processing and packaging machinery segment for many years.

USA remains number 1 market – India and Mexico among the TOP 10

The strongest impetus in 2023 also came from the USA. German deliveries of food processing and packaging machinery to the United States rose by 19 percent to €1.7 billion, which corresponds to an all-time high.

The USA has led the ranks of the top 10 sales markets for many years. France, China, the United Kingdom, Poland, Switzerland, Mexico, the Netherlands, India and Italy followed far behind in 2023.

From a regional perspective, German manufacturers sold 33 percent of exported machines in EU countries. A further 14 percent went to other European countries, 19 percent to North America, 17 percent to Asia, 8 percent to Central/South America, 4 percent to Africa, 3 percent to the Near/Middle East and 2 percent to Australia/Oceania.

Global machinery trade reaches record level in 2023

The global trade in machinery – the sum of exports from around 50 industrialised countries – reflects the global demand for imported food processing and packaging machinery and has been growing dynamically for years. Over the last 10 years, global trade in machinery has increased by 43 percent from €33.9 billion in 2012 to €48.6 billion in 2022, with EU countries accounting for a good 60 per cent of this. This makes the European food machinery and packaging machinery industry the most successful mechanical engineering segment in Europe, with Germany and Italy leading the way.

According to the data available to date, the global trade in food processing and packaging machinery will increase to over EUR 52 billion in 2023 despite difficult conditions, which corresponds to an increase of around 7 percent.

“We also see growth for our industry in 2024, as the global demand for safe and high-performance machines remains immense,” explains Beatrix Fraese, pointing to the strongest investment drivers, namely hygiene and food safety, automation and efficiency improvements, resource conservation and sustainability in production and the packaging process.

Pear orange prices in the in natura market hit a new record in February, considering Cepea historical series, which has started in October 1994 – values were deflated by IGP-DI December/23. Quotations are likely to continue at high levels in March, since the volume of early varieties in the spot market in São Paulo is still small.

In February, pear orange prices averaged BRL 87.40 per 40.8-kilo box, on tree, 9.29 % up compared to January/24 and an increase of 83 % in relation to February/23 (in this case, in nominal terms). Price rises are linked to the lower supply in this offseason period, while the supply of late and early varieties is also limited. It is worth noting that the firm industrial demand reduced even more the fruit availability in the domestic market during the entire season.

TAHITI LIME – Prices have started February in a downward trend; however, they rose during the month, leading to an increase of the monthly average. Although it is the peak season, frequent rains limited the harvest and, consequently, the supply. Moreover, weather conditions have been favoring the fruit quality.

In this scenario, the tahiti lime price average in the in natura market was BRL 20.11 per 27-kg box (harvested) in February, moving up 46.36 % and 104 % in relation to January/24 and February/23, respectively, in nominal terms.

Values are likely to remain firm in March because of the lower volume that will be harvested. Moreover, exports may increase, especially due to the proximity of Easter, which can influence to flow the product.

Pear orange prices have been moving up since the beginning of the 2023/24 season in the in natura market. In January, values hit the record of Cepea series, which has started in 1994. In the first month of 2024, the price average was BRL 78.89 per 40.8-kilo box, moving up 16% compared to December/23 and 90% in relation to January/23, in real terms (values were deflated by IGP-DI Dec/23). Up until January/24, the highest value in real terms had been BRL 74.92/box, in November 1994.

This scenario of high prices is related to the limited supply. The production in the current crop is on average; however, low orange juice stocks increase the need to buy the raw material, reducing the orange supply in the in natura market.

As for the demand, players surveyed by Cepea say that it is firm, since temperatures are high, favoring the consumption of the fruit.

The pear orange supply is expected to continue limited in February, which is still considered offseason.

Industry

Prices for pear orange and late varieties for the industry had hit a real record in November. Since then, they have been renewing the record level of Cepea series, which has started in 1994. However, values are now moving down, considering the closing of new trades.

The price average for pear orange and late varieties for the industry was BRL 57.68 per 40.8-kilo box, harvested and delivered, in January, increasing 10% against the month before and 76% in relation to January 2023, in real terms.

Tahiti lime

Prices finished January at low levels, due to the peak season. The price average in January 2024 was BRL 13.56 per 27-kg box (harvested), for a decrease of 28% compared to the last month of 2023.

The tahiti lime supply is expected to continue high in February, due to rains in January, which can favor both the fruit development and the quality.

2023 was a very positive year for the citrus activity in São Paulo state and in Triângulo Mineiro concerning prices received by citrus farmers. Orange values were at firm levels during the year in both the in natura market and at the industry – in this segment, quotations hit record levels in real terms, allowing a year of good profitability.

This scenario is explained by the lower supply compared to the demand, despite the fact that the 2023/24 production is on average. Orange juice stocks started the season at low levels, and there was the need to purchase the raw material in order to prevent a significant decrease of stocks at the end of the current season. Moreover, the orange juice demand is firm in the international market, especially from the US, country that has been registering limited production for years due to greening (HLB) impacts.

In November, prices of orange to the industry hit real records, considering Cepea historical series, which has started in October 1994 (monthly values were deflated by IGP-DI October/23).

Orange production

The 2023/24 orange season in São Paulo state and in Triângulo Mineiro may decrease 2.2 % compared to the previous, according to Fundecitrus. The total volume is forecast at 307.22 million boxes, 0.7 % smaller in relation to the first estimate, released in May.

The decrease is related to above-average rains, which increased the incidence of blossom-end rot, to the negative biennial cycle (except in the north), the lower volume of flowers verified in some late variety trees and to the intensity of greening.

It is important to mention that this volume is below the need of the industry to meet the international demand and increase juice stocks, which are very low. According to CitrusBR, the volume in stocks hit the lowest level in 12 years, totaling only 84.745 thousand tons of volume equivalent to concentrate juice by the end of the 2022/23 season (June/23), downing 40.7 % compared to the previous crop. These critical numbers arise serious concerns about the global orange juice supply.

The combination of low orange supply and firm demand over the last weeks, due to high temperatures, has been keeping prices on the rise in both the in natura market and at the industry.

Orange prices have been hitting records in both segments – as for fruits to the industry, the current average is a real record, considering the Cepea series, which started in October 1994 (monthly prices were deflated by IGP-DI October). Even with an average crop, orange juice stocks at processing companies are low, resulting in a fruit supply that is lower than the demand.

In November, pear oranges are traded in the in natura market at BRL 58.90 per box, 45.9 % higher than in November last year (in real terms) and the highest of Cepea series, in nominal terms. In real terms, the current average is the highest since March 2019 and the fourth biggest considering the months of November.

Prices for pear orange and late varieties sent to the industry, in turn, have averaged BRL 49.04 per box in November, soaring 60.3 % compared to November/22, in real terms, and the highest of the series.

The supply in Brazil is expected to be lower than the demand at least until the end of the crop. The following season can still register a limited availability, considering that current OJ stocks may not recover at the end of the 2023/24 crop. In case the 2024/25 season continues on the average, stocks may present a new decrease. Therefore, if the crop is below-average, the situation can be critical.

The cost of plastics, aluminium, paper and liquids materials used in flexible packaging reached new, record levels in the first quarter of 2022, maintaining the strong upward surge in prices seen throughout 2021, according to Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE). Continued pressure from soaring energy costs, as well as other external factors, means the dramatic increases seen in the last half of 2021 have now been exceeded.

In particular the cost of 20micron BOPP film shot up 45 % during January to March 2022 and has now doubled in price since the first quarter of 2021. Thin aluminium converter foil also jumped by 67 % in the same three months and is now 75 % higher than the end of 2020. Elsewhere, 12micron PET added 47 % in the same period to stand 50 % higher than just over a year ago, while 15m micron BOPA film added 33 %, marking a 44 % increase in 15 months.

LDPE and HDPE prices are still well above the price levels seen at the end of 2020, being 75 % and 54 % more. Both are still well above the price levels seen at the end of 2020, being 75 % and 50+ % more. All figures have been complied by Wood Mackenzie and ICIS.

Commenting on the figures, David Buckby, Senior Analyst at Wood Mackenzie said, “Substrate prices across the board continued to rise sharply in Q1, driven primarily, in many cases, by energy surcharges. Limited availability of materials also propped up prices, made worse by ongoing global logistics challenges. The high cost and unpredictability of offshore sourcing means that European producers were generally busy, with some fully booked and not accepting new orders.”

“Lead times for aluminium foil in Q1 were as long as five months compared to two months previously. For paper, they were often two to three months, up from four to six weeks. The extent of price increases from supplier to supplier depended heavily on the scope of previous hikes – timings do vary. Some producers which pushed through substantial energy surcharges and price rises in Q4 pushed for only moderate hikes or even rollovers in Q1,” he added.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine added further uncertainty to an already highly clouded outlook,” Buckby believes.

FPE sees continued strong demand for all flexible materials as growth indices for the markets its members serve all remain positive. However there has been a general slowdown in the pace of growth, which may take some pressure off already stretched supply shortages of raw materials and ancillary products, such as adhesives and inks. Logistics and utilities pricing increases had and will continue to have a large effect on conversion costs to flexibles packaging converters. After a brief pause oil prices are now increasing again, so this may weigh on any respite from continued flexible material price hikes.

Guido Aufdemkamp, FPE’s Executive Director thinks it is difficult to forecast the direction of the market in current circumstances. “Growth in demand in Europe for flexible packaging is almost certain. While the price increases could have an impact on the levels of demand this is unlikely as non-flexible packaging applications are faced with higher absolute increases per pack as more material is used. Add the continuing supply chain disruption and major energy issues to the equation and the outlook is uncertain. The conflict in Ukraine and the economic consequences of it across Europe were not something we could predict or anticipate. However flexible packaging producers have proved resilient in the past, most recently with the pandemic, so we are confident the sector will continue to be able to meet demand for its products.”

The price for pear oranges has been on the rise in Brazil since the beginning of the season, in June, influenced by the low supply of oranges in the market. In the second fortnight of October, pear orange prices surpassed BRL 50.00/40.8-kilo box, on tree, setting a new nominal record in the series of Cepea. The monthly average in October (in São Paulo State) closed at BRL 49.88/box, on tree, 10.1 % up from that in September/21 and 28.3 % above that in October/20, in nominal terms.

Agents in the Brazilian citrus sector did not expect supply in the 2021/22 season to be high, based on the effects of the weather on blooming and flower set. However, along the season, weather issues increased, with rainfall below the ideal and frosts in some locations at the end of July.

Although rains were more frequent in October, agents reported that the oranges were mostly small-sized, which kept the prices for larger-sized fruits on the rise – since this standard is required in the in natura segment. From November onwards, quality may increase, and a higher number of late oranges is expected to be available in the market. On the other hand, high purchases from the industry are also expected to control supply in the in natura market.

TAHITI LIME – In the Brazilian market of tahiti lime, the return of rains favored production and raised supply. Besides, the quality of the fruits continued low, and the exports pace was slow in October. Thus, prices for this variety dropped in the orchards in SP, averaging BRL 23.15/27-kilo box, harvested, 21.8 % down from that in September.

ORCHARDS – The rains that hit São Paulo State in October favored blooming in orange orchards, largely in dryland or those that had not bloomed yet. According to citrus farmers, the scenario varied among regions, according to the volume of rain and the production system (irrigated or dryland), but, in general, all agents agree that blooming was satisfactory.

As in previous seasons, this year’s flowering has been irregular and heterogeneous. While in some regions, orchards bloomed earlier (in September), in others, flowering was observed in October. However, the early flowers were compromised by the hot and dry weather in many areas, which led some of the fruitlets to fall, even in irrigated orchards.

Citrus farmers believe this will be another season of multiple blooming, which would hamper both the harvesting and management of trees because of the different development stages of flowers – as it happened in most Brazilian regions in the last years.

Although flowering brought some relief to citrus farmers in all regions, it is important to consider that plants are still debilitated, due to the long drought, which may hamper fruit fixing. Thus, the success of the recent blooming will depend on the weather from now onwards (high moisture interleaved with sunny periods) and preventive care for blossom-end rot. According to Cptec/Inpe (weather forecast agency), rains may be lower than the average in November and in December, which may be a reflex of the La Niña phenomenon, and hamper flower set.

Last year’s hot summer boosted UK water drinks consumption by more than 7 % to 4,267 million litres, according to a new report from food and drink experts Zenith Global. This was worth an estimated £ 3,330 million at retail prices.

Sales of plain bottled water in retail packs increased by 7.9 % to 3.4 billion litres, whilst sales of flavoured, functional and juicy waters rose by 7.2 %.

A key driver behind the growth was the warmest summer on record, according to the Met Office. The new soft drinks levy from April 2018, on products with a higher added sugar content, appears to have had a limited impact, after most manufacturers pre-emptively reformulated many products to avoid the tax.

Pressure undoubtedly increased on producers to improve their environmental profile. For the first time, the report documents packaging innovations such as recycled content as well as examining initiatives in recycling and deposit return schemes.

Zenith Global predicts that the UK market will continue to grow robustly, but at a slower pace than in recent years. “Our forecasts to 2023 show an upward trend of 3 – 5 % a year,” commented Zenith Global Senior Consultant Robin Bell. “Debate about plastic and recycling are likely to remain centre stage and we expect to see more packaging from alternative materials becoming mainstream,” he concluded.

In marketing year 2018/19 FAS Warsaw expects that Polish apple producers will see a record-level harvest. Post forecasts Poland’s apple production to reach 4.0 million metric tons, a 43-percent increase from marketing year 2017/18. Post also expects marketing year 2018/19 fresh-apple exports to increase significantly over the previous year, due to record production and good dessert-fruit quality. …

Please download the full report as pdf-file under: https://bit.ly/2NejBtU

With over 76,000 visitors from more than 170 countries, drinktec has chalked up the best-ever result in its 66-year history and surpassed all expectations. The number of visitors rose by 10,000 over the previous event in 2013. In particular at the international level, where drinktec is already very strong as it is, the trade fair was able to grow attendance again, this time by 12 percent. The ratio of visitors from outside Germany thus rose to 67 percent. The number of exhibitors increased to 1,749 from 80 countries – likewise a new record. That is mainly attributable to the wine technology trade fair SIMEI, which was held as part of drinktec for the first time, as well as further growth in the number of exhibitors at drinktec itself.

In particular the number of visitors from overseas is testimony to the fact that drinktec is a worldwide event and is rightly regarded as the industry’s global economic summit. The number of visitors from China was more than 2,000, an increase of 65 percent. That means China already occupies second spot in the rankings of the top 10 countries of origin for visitors – behind Italy, which likewise recorded a sharp increase thanks to SIMEI: by around 45 percent to 5,240 visitors. There was also a striking rise in attendance from South America. SIMEI apparently helped boost the number of visitors from Argentina to 545 (an increase of 165 percent). 1,100 visitors came from Brazil, a rise of 40 percent. France, likewise a wine country, came fourth this year with 1,800 visitors. Apart from Italy, China and France, other countries in the top ten were Russia (1,857 visitors), the UK (1,619), the U.S. (1,570), Austria (1,567), Spain (1,254) and the Netherlands (1,221).