With one and a half years left until drinktec 2021 kicks off, preparations are well and truly in full swing. The world’s leading trade fair for the beverage and liquid food industry will provide insights into the industry’s future by focusing on four main topics: Sustainable Production & Packaging, Consumer World & Product Design, Water & Water Treatment, and Digital Solutions & Digital Transformation. Despite the coronavirus crisis, demand both within Germany and from abroad is stronger than ever, with the majority of the available floorspace having already been snapped up. drinktec will be held from October 4 to 8, 2021, at the Munich trade fair.
“Despite the fact that drinktec has been postponed until October 2021 and despite the coronavirus crisis, demand for the available floorspace, primarily from abroad, is considerably higher compared to the same point in time for the previous event”, explains Exhibition Director Markus Kosak. “It is clear that our clients have high hopes that the event, set to take place in the fall next year, will boost international business. It goes without saying that the earlier clients register, the greater their chance of securing the area that they want.” Companies keen on registering can still do so online.
In view of recent market developments, the exhibition team and the drinktec Advisory Board have, together with the Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association of the VDMA (German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association), identified four main topics. These will have a huge influence on the content of drinktec 2021 and will shape the special focus areas, the exhibition area and the expert panel discussions in the forums.
Beverage producers are already adopting a proactive approach as energy-efficient machines are an absolute must in production. Individual components that can also be retrofitted at any time have the power to improve consumption data. Innovative lubricants, for example based on algae, could potentially also turn out to be game changers in the future.
Sustainability is also the name of the game when it comes to beverage packaging: PET bottles made from 100% recycled material, the material used for caps, and the recycling of bottles which feature direct-to-bottle printing will also have a bearing on the industry in 2021. Packaging developers are also increasingly thinking outside of the box. Paper bottles, which are currently still at the prototype stage, have the potential to provide an innovative and environmentally-friendly form of packaging. As fully recyclable materials, glass and metal continue to be attractive options. It will be interesting to see if cardboard and bag-in-box solutions become more popular, in particular in light of ever-changing consumer behavior.
Natural ingredients, a reduced sugar content and organic products are currently on trend with consumers and influence their purchasing decisions. Market researchers from Mintel Group are reporting that producers are blurring the lines between juices and teas as well as smoothies and cold soups. Vegan protein shakes are also set to provide new and inspirational flavor profiles. At the same time, people are increasingly enjoying beverages at home as a result of restrictions imposed due to the spread of the coronavirus. This has led to increased demand for wine as well as new and creative beer styles. This is having a positive effect on the alcoholic product segment. It is still difficult to say whether and exactly how consumer behavior will change due to and after the spread of the coronavirus. However, one thing is for sure: beverage producers need to factor in people’s desire for transparency. Ingredients and their origins need to be consistently tracked along their journey all the way through to consumers – for example with blockchain solutions.
Water management is one of the most urgent and pressing issues for many beverage producers who have to deal with limited availability of this precious raw material. There are two key points regarding beverage production which will be of particular interest to drinktec attendees: the treatment of product water and the economical use of process water.
Cloud solutions and real-time monitoring of the production systems involved provide opportunities for carrying out swift analyses and interventions. These measures can all be grouped under the term “industrial water 4.0”, which for example involves the use of improved sensor technology and process simulations to provide practical criteria for making swift decisions and to enable flexible approaches to using facilities.
Connectivity is becoming increasingly important even in classic beverage production processes. Tools for simulating machine designs have already made a good name for themselves. Beverage producers are given an extensive insight into machine designs well before they are installed. In order to achieve highly automated production, data from the environment (such as the weather and its influence on beverage consumption) are incorporated into production with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) calculations. Digital solutions ultimately ensure that all the participants along the supply chain are connected: machine manufacturers with beverage producers, and beverage producers with their logistics providers, suppliers and, not least, consumers.
More background information on the main topics will be continuously provided in the drinktec blog and via the drinktec social media channels.