Unlike virtually any other industry, a successful butcher’s business is distinguished by a combination of tradition and innovation. Since time immemorial, artisanal production has stood for authenticity and enjoyment. Thanks to individual concepts, butchers have the chance to set themselves apart from the mass. Recent developments, such as a shortage of skilled workers, climate protection measures and new customer demands, mean butchers must be highly innovative. As the leading international trade fair for the sector, IFFA – Technology for Meat and Alternative Proteins – in Frankfurt from 14 to 19 May, not only offers a comprehensive overview of the latest innovations and trends but also shows solutions for business success.
Well above average
The specialisation in unique products and services is one of the key factors in the success of the butchers’ trade. As Gina Benz, Swabian Master Butcher, partner in the Benz-Feinkostmanufaktur delicatessen company and member of the National Team of the German Butchers’ Trade, explains, “Some butchers bank on future-oriented animal well-being, on traditional or special breeds, on selected types of meat. I opted for delicatessen and catering with a highly regional and seasonal focus.” In addition to classic dishes, she also produces vegan and other modern recipes.
“For me, zeitgeist means that our products contain no additives or allergens. Thus, our Maultaschen (Swabian ravioli) are distinguished by a complete absence of E numbers and this is virtually unique”, says Gina Benz. A food truck rounds off the services offered.
Maximilian Rädlein, CEO of the M.-Max-Fleischerei butcher’s shops in Hof, says, “We are constantly reinventing ourselves and adapting to changes in the market and customer demand, and this includes advanced training and new technology.” For example, the company commissioned an automatic jar-filling line and a labelling machine at the end of 2021. “Which means we can fill jars more effectively. They are hygienically clean and sealed pressure tight, which also makes things easier for our staff.”
Artisanal with technology
Thinking ahead is one of the strengths of the Tönebön butcher’s business in Barntrup, in the north of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia. The focus of master butcher Stefan Tönebön is firmly on the future with investments in cogeneration units, heat pumps and sustainable refrigerants: “Although this is not always the least expensive way, I have a two-fold allegiance: I also believe in production for tomorrow’s generation.” Nevertheless, his future-orientation in no way excludes the highest standards of hygiene. The main emphasis of this QS-certified company, which has a shop and its own abattoir, is on supplying the trade and hospitality sector. As Stefan Tönebön puts it, “With the mechanisation of sausage production – a hanging line, suspended heating in the cooking chamber, sausage end cutting machine and a thermo-forming machine – we have achieved an enormous hygiene improvement. Indeed, for an artisanal business, we are highly mechanised and are always on the lookout for new and improved solutions. At present, we are working on the further digitalisation of all QS documents.”
Knowing what’s going on
IFFA offers the butchers’ trade an overview of the market and is a new-product showcase for upcoming investments. Dr Reinhard von Stoutz, Member of the Board of Directors of the German Butchers’ Association, says, “This fair is an outstanding setting for holding discussions with suppliers and machinery manufacturers, and for experts to find solutions to a variety of problems. A concentrated overview of equipment, technologies, markets and experiences such as this is only possible at a major trade fair like IFFA. It is a great opportunity to find suitable services and technologies, with the aim of upgrading and getting businesses ready for the future.”
A new theme at IFFA 2022 revolves around alternative proteins. For the first time, the trade fair is focusing not only on meat but also on processing technology and ingredients for meat substitutes and cell-based meat. At least 200 of the approximately 900 exhibitors will be showing products in this segment. Reinhard von Stoutz: “Meat-substitute proteins are enormously important to enable us to feed the world sustainably in the future. Thus, the number of companies supplying and processing these products will certainly increase and some of them will also be found in butchers’ businesses. Although, in my opinion, the butchers’ trade draws its strength from its exceptional expertise when it comes to meat, I also consider it important to find out about meat-substitute proteins, as well as to monitor and be familiar with this market.”
Ingredients: tracking the aroma
Manufacturers of spices and processing aids are closely linked to the butchers’ trade as innovative partner companies. Butchers rely on high-quality spices, ingredients and additives to refine and process meat, and to create new products from it. Thus, one of the strengths of artisan butchers is to be found in the individual taste of their products. In many cases, the recipes are family secrets, as in the case of master butcher and meat sommelier Frank Neumaier from the west German town of Neustadt an der Weinstrasse who says, “I have the good fortune to be able to use recipes handed down by my grandfather. I mix the raw spices used myself. And I buy them from renowned suppliers whose quality I can rely on.”
With blends and preparations of spices, manufacturers continuously offer new inspiration for seasonal and trend products. Currently, products for seasoning game and burgers are in demand, as are extraordinary flavours such as chili & cocoa and pumpkin & mango. Combinations of vegetable preparations for coatings, fillings and additions are likely to be of particular interest to health-conscious consumers. The spice industry keeps close track of developments in the market and, therefore, the butchers’ trade profits from interesting offers for its own customers coupled with a high level of safety in use and practicability. Suppliers ensure that butchers can offer highly saleable and attractive products with marinades, cooking and preparation aids for lunchtime dishes, a fresh-food counter and party service with classic and innovative spice blends for sausages and hams.
The spice industry complies with consumer expectations of safe artisanal meat products with modern protective concepts. These concepts for freshness and safety, e.g., against listeria, and for a reliable shelf life, are practice-oriented product solutions – in harmony with HACCP principles and as a supplementary safety level. In this connection, butchers benefit from the extensive technological and scientific expertise and research of the spice industry. Also of increasing significance is the demand for simple and clear labelling with honest clean-label products and alternatives to ingredients containing allergens. Accordingly, the spice industry offers butchers a wide variety of product lines, as well as comprehensive advice and services.
Over 130 companies from the ‘spices, ingredients, additives, casings’ product segment will be showing their innovations and problem solutions at IFFA 2022 in Hall 12.1 of Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre. Dr Markus Weck of the German Spice Association (Fachverband der Gewürzindustrie) says, “Our discussions with member companies show that they are very much looking forward to a successful IFFA and numerous personal encounters. And I can already reveal that there will be a host of interesting innovations in the field of spices, ingredients, compounds and concepts to be seen.”
Messe Frankfurt accompanies the dynamic growth of the global food industry with six trade fairs on four continents. Further information about the events in the ‘Food Technologies’ portfolio can be found at:
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Technology for Meat and Alternative Proteins
The event will be held from 14 to 19 May 2022.
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The Messe Frankfurt Group is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. The Group employs approximately 2,300* people at its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main and in 30 subsidiaries around the world. In 2021, the company had to contend with the challenges posed by the pandemic for the second consecutive year. Annual sales will be approximately €140* million after having been as high as €736 million in 2019 before the pandemic. Even in difficult times caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we are globally networked with our industry sectors. We have close ties with our industry sectors and serve our customers’ business interests efficiently within the framework of our Fairs & Events, Locations and Services business fields. One of the Group’s key USPs is its closely knit global sales network, which extends throughout the world. Our comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. We are expanding our digital expertise with new business models. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. Headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).
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* Preliminary figures for 2021
- IFFA 2022: Great ideas for the butchers’ trade (pdf, 155 KB)