17 Aug 2019

Processing & packaging The spearheads of product identity

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GEPPIA, the French trade association representing suppliers of processing and packing equipment to the food (and non-food) industries. Represents and defends the interests of the sector's industrialists. With a staff of around 4,000 people throughout France and more than 7 years of existence, GEPPIA now comprises 90 companies representing more than 90% of the market for a combined turnover of almost 1 billion euros, 45% of which is from exports and more than 450, 000 K € of industrial purchases. GEPPIA also includes twenty well-known industrial partner-suppliers.

Jean-Marc-DoreAgriculture Internationale - What are GEPPIA's role, prerogatives and objectives?

Jean-Marc Doré - GEPPIA is a group whose vocation is to represent  the main suppliers of processing and packing equipment for the food industry. Uniting and pooling their potential and complementary technical, financial and commercial know-how (more than a billion euros of combined turnover for almost 4,000 people) to help them ensure their longevity and develop both in terms of innovation and exports.

To do this, GEPPA identifies and implements tools and resources, both human and financial, depending on the market involved, and above all the size of the company. We currently offer three main areas of investigation: industrial purchases (and subcontracting), financing and promotion, marketing and communication tools.

A.I. - What is the situation of the processing and packaging markets in France and Europe?

J-M.D. - Overall, the food industry is an economic sectors that is doing better than average. Although investments in processing have fallen, business in 2012 remained stable and increased by 10 to 20% for packing and packaging.

Business outside France is very variable depending on the speciality of the individual supplier (food processing, primary, secondary and end of line equipment), the amount of the investments and lastly their market/country. Nonetheless, the more innovative (automation in particular generates savings) and specialised (dedicated technologies) the equipment, the more their businesses are prospering!

A.I. - What position does the food sector occupy in the business of your equipement provider partners and how is this market developing?

J-M.D. - These directives and norms that respond to real improvements aimed at guaranteeing and improving the quality and safety of products are increasingly restrictive, but a few special cases apart, they are essential for our future. The choices and involvement of industrialists are very variable depending on their specificity and position in the processing and packaging chain. We would just like to note that France and Germany have long been very involved and even pioneers in this field!

A.I. - In your opinion, what adjustments or modifications in these norms would allow European firms to remain competitive?

J-M.D. - I have no tangible answers to this, but it is undeniable that the more we are able to guarantee the quality, preservation and traceability of our food products (by improving their quality, and protecting operators and end consumers) by using the best possible production tools to ensure competitive cost prices, the more our French firms will be, and will remain, competitive!

A.I. - Could the increasing diversification of processed products demanded by the markets lead certain companies to defer their investment decisions?

J-M.D. - On the contrary, I think this diversification will incite company directors to invest. It is virtually imperative today to stand out from the crowd and therefore innovate in order to attract the consumer. The main obligation has become a technical one since companies need to introduce flexibility into their production processes, hence the need to invest in increasingly compact, efficient, versatile tools and equipment, and to turn their attention to energy savings and eco-design!

A.I. - Can you already see the main trends that will become established in the years to come?

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J-M.D. - Je pense au contraire que cette diversification devrait inciter les industriels à investir, il est quasi impératif aujourd’hui de se démarquer et donc d’innover pour attirer le consommateur. La principale obligation devient d’ordre technique en introduisant la souplesse et la flexibilité dans leurs productions, d’ou la nécessité d’investir dans des outils et les équipements de plus en plus compacts, performants, polyvalents et s’inscrivant dans les thématiques d’économie d’énergie et d’éco-conception !

A.I. - Voyez-vous déjà se dessiner les tendances lourdes qui devraient s’imposer dans les années à venir ?

J-M.D. - To respond to this question, as far as "packaging" is concerned I should like to refer you to the collaborative White Paper entitled "Packaging Trends" that we will have published by the end of June, in which the trends of the industry's major global companies are described. You can read the first extracts on the site : www.tendances-packaging.com.

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