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upakovka and interplastica 2020: Russian Market Back on Track

At the last edition of the trade fair duo comprising interplastica, International Trade Fair for Plastics and Rubber and upakovka – Processing & Packaging, there were already signs that the Russian market was moving out of the trough again – at least for the packaging and related processing industry as well as for the plastics and rubber industry. At this year’s editions of the two trade fairs held at the Central Exhibition Complex Expocentre in Krasnaya Presnya from 28 – 31 January there were clear indications of stabilisation. A total of 937 exhibitors from 40 countries attracted approx. 24,950 visitors, mainly from Russia and the neighbouring states. The mood in the halls was good and exhibitors praised the high quality of leads.

As a member of the interpack alliance upakovka, with its ranges in the packaging and related processing industry, addresses the target groups, food, beverage, confectionery, bakery, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, non-food and industrial goods. The food industry is one of the most important manufacturing industries in Russia and of high strategic relevance. Since the start of the food embargo this industry has experienced stable growth and boasts high added value. Russia continues striving to support the increase in domestic production to counteract the dependence on imports of some products. In late 2019 the Russian President Vladimir Putin therefore adopted a “food doctrine” that stipulates further increases in the self-sufficiency rate for the most important staple foods.

Strong Demand for High-Quality Foods
Demand especially for high-quality foods as well as for convenience and fast-food products continues to be high although the current weak developments in purchasing power are holding back sales. According to the VDMA, the sale of pre-packed foods was up by 1.2% in 2019 against the previous year rising to 31.3 m tons. Market researchers expect demand to pick up again and rise to just under 6% in total to reach 33 m tons by 2024. Above-average growth rates are expected especially for ready-meals, baby foods, breakfast cereals, savoury snacks, high-quality chocolate products as well as sweet pastry goods and snack bars. 

Bottled Water und Functional Beverage Trending
The growing health and wellness trend is impacting demand for soft drinks. Bottled water and functional and enhanced beverages are trending. In 2019 sales of soft drinks stood at just under 14 billion litres and are expected to go up by 14% by 2024. Disproportionately high growth is expected for bottled water but also for energy drinks. upakovka 2020 was therefore already supported by the associations Russian Bottled Water Producer Union (BWPU) and Russian Union of Producers of Soft Drinks and Mineral Water (UPSD) in the run-up to the event.

To meet the consumer demand for high-quality and innovative products, the Russian food and beverage industry continues to invest in expanding its production capacities – and they find the matching suppliers and solutions at upakovka. As before, the most important supplier of modern processing and packaging technology to the Russian industry is Germany. Upakovka 2020 again showed that machinery “Made in Germany” is in high demand: German exhibitors were satisfied with the results of the trade fair and expected predominantly good post-fair business, said VDMA, the German Engineering Federation. Over the first 11 months of 2019 German manufacturers exported food machines and packaging machines worth EUR 324 million to Russia.

Unabated Interest in innovationparc Forums
Since upakovka has been organised under the umbrella of the interpack alliance the special theme “innovationparc” – adapted from the interpack trade fair in Düsseldorf – has formed an integral part of the ranges in Moscow. As early as 2019 the programme of the innovationparc forum had generated such interest that it was already extended to include a second stage running concurrently with the first. This year the high number of participants once again pointed to even greater levels of interest. As the event kicked off, the SAVE FOOD theme played a pivotal role. Involving the FAO plus experts from government organisations as well as research institutes the forum under the heading “From Food Loss to Circular Economy” dealt with sustainability and the opportunities for a corresponding food production. The contribution made by the packaging sector and related industries all geared to the circular economy and recycling was discussed in the slot “Circular Economy in the Area of Packaging – Expectations and Reality” with a view to various materials. The Russian government placed this topic on the agenda last year to especially address the general problems of disposing household waste in the country. The recycling rate of currently about 7% is to be increased to 36% in 2024. The level of interest taken in the talks delivered was therefore correspondingly high. Topics, trends and problems related to the beverage sector were covered in the session “Beverage Industry and Bottling Technologies – Global Initiatives, Challenges and Opportunities”. In this session supported by the UPSD association experts shed some light on different packaging types and new technologies for producers of soft drinks and other fast-moving consumer goods. Finally, the session “Packaging Market Current State and Development Prospects” covered the global packaging market and local trends.

“innovationparc has increasingly developed into a key attraction and special hot spot at upakovka where the exchange on trending and future themes in the industry is centre stage. Precisely this spirit is what a quality trade fair is all about,” rejoices Bernd Jablonowski, Global Portfolio Director Processing & Packaging at Messe Düsseldorf.