by Vera Fritsche, VDMA Food Processing and Food Packaging Machinery
For German manufacturers of food processing and packaging machines Iran is an important sales market in the Middle East. At the request of the VDMA food processing and packaging machinery association the German federal ministry for economic affairs included iran food + bev tec in its foreign trade fair program 2020 in order to support German companies to present their range of delivery and service solutions for the food processing and packaging industry, as well as current trends.
With 80 million Iran is the most highly populated country in the Middle East. A growing and young population, almost 63 percent of the population are under 34 years, increasing urbanization, a growing middle class and working women and the spread of organized trade in super- and hypermarkets contribute to the rising demand for modern processed and packaged foods and beverages. The young people are very eager to purchase new packaged food items and contribute significantly to market growth. The traditional habit of consuming loose/unpackaged products like rice, bread, oils and cheese is now being replaced by the consumption of packaged items, especially in key urban areas.
16.5 million tons of packaged foods had been sold in Iran in 2015. The demand is expected to rise by 3 percent till 2020. Baked goods are by far the largest segment within the packaged food category. Sales in 2015 amounted to 8.6 million tonnes. Especially packaged bread is gaining popularity in Iran. This sector has benefited greatly from the elimination of subsidies for artisanal bread. It is expected that packaged bread will grow by 19 percent until 2020.
The second largest segment are dairy products with a sales volume of 4 million tons in 2015. Demand will increase by 12 percent till 2020.
The demand for processed meat and seafood is also gaining momentum. Even if the actual annual per capital consumption with 4.2 kg (2015) is comparatively small it will however rise by 24 percent until 2020.
Iranian consumers like it sweet. With a total volume of 180,000 tons (2015), Iran is the largest confectionery market in the Middle East and one of the most important sales markets worldwide. It is expected that the demand will rise by 6 percent until 2020.
The growing demand for processed and packaged food and beverages is reflected by the demand for food processing and packaging machinery. Iran is the third largest sales market for food processing and packaging machinery in the Middle East. Global exports to Iran reached 340 million euros in 2017.
Germany is one of the most important sales partners of Iran for food processing and packaging machines. German manufacturers sold machines worth 47 million euros in 2015. With this Germany holds a market share of 17 percent just after Italy with 26 percent and China with 19 percent.
In 2016, German exports of food processing and packaging machines to Iran nearly doubled to reach a value of 93.5 million euros compared to 47 million in 2015.
One of the important targets of the Iranian government for the next years is the modernization of the agricultural and food industry to provide the population with affordable, high quality food products. They increasingly promote industrial food production.
Machines "made in Germany" have always enjoyed a good reputation in Iran. In recent years, many investments were postponed due to the sanctions. The machinery used is often outdated and therefore there is a great need to catch up. This all gives German companies good sales potential.