Germany: Drinktec struggles with dwindling visitor and exhibitor numbers

The drinktec fair, which has just ended in Munich, rightly celebrates itself as the "world's leading trade fair for the beverage and liquid food industry". A total of 1,002 exhibitors from 55 countries and almost 50,000 visitors from 169 countries are impressive figures.

However, the figures hide the fact that the fair has lost enormously compared to 2017, when it was last held. Around a third fewer visitors (-26,000) are a clear sign. It becomes even more significant when you look at the number of exhibitors. Here it was around 43% less (-747) than 5 years ago.

However, the international scope of the fair stayed about the same with visitors coming from 169 countries (-1) and 65 percent of exhibitors and more than 70 percent (+3%) of visitors coming from countries outside of Germany.

drinktec shows us that world fairs in Europe are possible again,” says  Dr. Reinhard Pfeiffer, CEO of Messe München. “Most visitors came from abroad, and almost 40 percent of these from outside of Europe, such as Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Japan and India. And it’s quite revealing that the third strongest visitor country after Germany and Italy is the USA.”

Despite dwindling visitor and exhibitor numbers, most companies and people who attended the trade show were very satisfied.

“The industry has been waiting for drinktec in particular with bated breath. The atmosphere is simply superb. The exhibitors are impressed by the internationality and high quality of the visitors,” says Richard Clemens, Managing Director of the Process Plant and Equipment Association, German Engineering Federation (VDMA).

In view of the ongoing challenges in the industry, Thomas Ricker, Sales Director at Krones AG, puts it very aptly:

“The entire world of the beverage and liquid food industry finally meets again this year in such a wonderful atmosphere. I would simply say, everyone is happy to be meeting again in person after such a long time. On the other hand there are of course a whole bunch of challenges in the world – the current political situation, the economic situation and in particular the sustainable future issue. But we can already say that we are more than happy with drinktec’s progression to date.”

Despite the postponement of drinktec by one year due to the pandemic (, 24.2.2021), the next drinktec is scheduled to take place already in three years' time, in autumn 2025. The exact date is yet to be announced.

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