SO we've just returned from IFFA in Frankfurt, where Sirane exhibited for the first time. IFFA is held every three years, and it is - to be frank - something for a behemoth of a show. IFFA, for those not in the trade, is a meat show. It may as well be called Meat Fest. Viande Fest. In fact, seen as it is in Germany, lets call it Fleisch Fest.
It doesn't matter where you are positioned within the meat trade, there's something for you... well perhaps not the farmers, but certainly everyone else. When there's signs pointing to the 'slaughtering and dismembering halls' you get an idea of which point in the meat journey the show begins... and it contains right through the chain. If sausage casings is your thing, you'd be in your element.
For Sirane is was a very international show. On the first day we had visitors from as far flung places as Papau New Guinea... quite possibly the first time we've ever had a visit to the stand from someone in that neck of the woods. But every visit seemed to be bring a new nationality.... but strangely few Germans.
Maybe it was because I was there at the weekend, and it was sunny outside. Maybe they were all at Eintracht Frankfurt versus Borussia Dortmund (we did consider hitting play on the video and going ourselves on Saturday afternoon....). Or maybe they already know all there is to know about fleisch. But IFFA's own statistics seem to back up the international flavour the show seemed to have.
Predicatably our headline product generated the most interest... anti-microbial absorbent packaging particularly good for poultry. It's a great leap forward for the market, an effective means of delivering anti-microbial technology into the heart of the problem, by using the absorbent pad as a means of delivery. And it is 100% natural, made from fruit extracts.
But also we had plenty of other inquiries, including many for Siralon, our nylon food packaging range.
'Fleisch Fest 2016' brought to an end a run of shows - Fruit Logistica, Packaging Innovations, Seafood Expo Global and IFFA all fell within four months. And now we have a reasonable gap until the next show (the next planned show is currently Fruit Logistica 2017, although things change....). We will have a presence at some shows in the meantime via our agents or Sirane's international teams - RosUPack in Moscow is one that springs to mind, and our team at Sirane Mexico have a fruit show in the country lined up. But it's a good time to take stock of how they went, and what we should be doing differently for next year.
Frankfurt itself seemed a nice enough city. Great food at the traditional Salzkammer restaurant - I can thoroughly recommed the farmhouse platter there although it was not for the faint-hearted. Anything that's served in a frying pan has to come with a health warning but it was worth experiencing once (okay, twice!).... it was basically spiced mince, salty bacon, cheese and potatoes fried in a pan with an egg on top. Fine dining it wasn't, tasty it was.... with just about enough room left for an apfel-strudel.
We also learnt one thing, courtesy of Ben Pope, our Liverpool-supporting sales executive.... and that is that Jurgen Klopp is seemingly hated in Frankfurt and is the easiest way to end any conversation on football with a local. Think raising the subject of Alex Ferguson in Liverpool. Who knew Klopp was disliked so much in Frankfurt...
MARK LINGARD, MARKETING