Production of food processing and packaging machinery grew by 8 percent in 2018. This meant not only a record level, but also the highest growth rate in the current decade.
Last year was a very successful year for manufacturers of food processing and packaging machinery. Production rose by 8 percent to just under EUR 15.2 billion. “Many manufacturers started 2018 with a very high order backlog, which was gradually converted into sales in the first half of the year. This also explains the very high growth rate of 8 percent for the year as a whole,” explains Richard Clemens, Managing Director of the VDMA Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association. The Packaging Machinery industry grew by a total of 8 percent to reach a level of EUR 7.1 billion. Sales in the Other Packaging Machinery sector grew by just under 12 percent to a level of EUR 4.9 billion, while the Beverage Packaging Machinery sector grew by 1 percent to a total of EUR 2.2 billion, only slightly above the previous year’s level.
Exports of food processing and packaging machinery rose by 6.1 percent to over EUR 9 billion in 2018. Deliveries to the most important sales region, the EU-28, rose by 9 percent. Demand from the USA – the most important foreign market – remained consistently high. Exports to China and Russia showed double-digit growth rates. Many other markets, including Brazil, Japan, the Republic of Korea and India, provided clear impetus.
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Domestic business remained an important pillar of the positive business development in 2018 too. In some food sectors, substantial investments were made in expanding capacities and in modernization projects. The shortage of personnel in the processing plants also led to further investments in machinery and equipment.
The prospects for the food processing machinery and packaging machinery sector are generally good, as the sector continues to benefit from the globally rising demand for processed and packaged foods and beverages as well as pharmaceutical products. Against the background of the enormously strong growth last year, however, only moderate growth of at most 2 percent will be likely in 2019.