Exclusive: südback Partner Associations Reveal German Market Secrets

The organizer of südback, Messe Stuttgart, underlines its claim as the only trade fair company in Germany focusing on the trade, to cover the entire industry. Working with the organizers, their partners – the State Association of Guilds of Württemberg Bakers and the State Asociation of Guilts of Baden-Württemberg Confectioners – bring the local novelties, the trends and, most importantly, the note of authenticity, the atmosphere of the real German market of baked goods.

WorldBakers spoke with Stefan Körber, director of the State Association of Guilds of Württemberg Bakers, Frank Sautter, president of the State Association of Guilds of Württemberg Bakers and president of the Association of Baden-Württemberg Millers, and Klaus Vollmer, Guilt Master, State Asociation of Guilds of Baden-Württemberg Confectioners, about the trends presented at südback and their views on the German market.

Associations’ Program at südback 2019

The Regional Association of Bakers’ Guilds regards südback as one of the most important industry meeting points for craft bakers, the official from the State Association of Guilds of Württemberg Bakers told us.

In the Baker’s Trend Forum of the bakery trade in Hall 8, a diverse and current specialist program from the areas of production, sales, marketing and cafés will again be presented to the trade fair visitors. During the Bakers’ Trend Forum, management consultants and legal experts from the Württemberg Regional Association of Bakers’ Guilds and the Academy of the German Baking Trade in Southwest Germany will provide an extensive range of consulting services relating to operational, technical and legal matters.

On the other hand, Klaus Vollmer says that the State Association of Guilds of Baden-Württemberg Confectioners will present a wide range of products such as pastry, confiserie, and patisserie.

Vollmer underlines the role of digitization, networked production – the networking of devices such as coffee machines, merchandise management and customer loyalty systems. He highlights a platform that “leads the pastry chef into the future” will be staged at südback. This will make the production easier, without impacting the budget.

The Expectations from südback 

südback has been a successful model right up to the present day. “27 successful trade fairs have now been staged. The 28th südback will open its doors in September. In spite of virtual marketplaces and digitalization, only a trade fair like südback enables sellers and prospective customers or purchasers to meet in person. Sellers can exhibit and explain their products. Prospective customers can directly compare different suppliers, obtain information, ask questions and also make purchases if necessary,” the representatives of the State Association of Guilds of Württemberg Bakers added.

In a market environment that is changing rapidly, it is absolutely imperative for companies in the industry to obtain information about current developments, innovations and trends. Companies in the bakery trade get up-to-date information directly at the trade fair in Stuttgart. For example, digitalization and its impacts and opportunities for the bakery trade will be important topics at südback.

“The members from the southern German region will be able to exchange ideas and opinions in direct contact with our honorary officials and the full-time employees, also with people from beyond the state borders,” the State Association of Guilds of Württemberg Bakers told us.

Speaking on behalf of the confectionery association, Klaus Vollmer underlines that expectations are high for this year’s edition, as the German confectioners are world champions in assortment size and taste creations. “The trend is towards light, visually appealing confectionery and confectionery items, fruit in all variations. Confectioner’s chocolate is becoming an increasingly important market segment for us. We can produce lighter and fresher locally than the industry,” Vollmer stresses.

The Challenges 

Among the current challenges for the bakery industry, the State Association of Guilds of Württemberg Bakers mentions climate change and digitalization. While these are aspects that are currently posing great challenges to the industry, they are also opening up new opportunities. “On the path to the environmentally compatible, fully-networked bakery, future-oriented solutions are in great demand, which will be presented and discussed at südback. In any case, with regard to sustainability, the baking trade has a head-start: short distances to the consumer or the use of regional ingredients meet criteria that today play a decisive role in the purchasing of food. The baker’s profession has a very long tradition! But it is by no means old-fashioned. Quite the contrary!” the officials commented.

On the other hand, they add that baking is a traditional craft in which creativity and manual skills are required, but, at the same time, the occupation is supported by state-of-the-art machines. These help facilitate many production steps and without them, the everyday working life of a baker today would unsustainable at present. To solve the problems of the future, trainees and apprentices are now given additional training by the bakers’ own associations.

Referring to confectionery in Germany, Klaus Vollmer underlines the importance of maintaining the quality of products. “The goal is to keep the quality, even innovate it with new manufacturing processes. Quality also means excellent raw materials, and well-trained specialists, whom we train consistently. And the most important thing: a selling price that reflects the exclusivity,” Vollmer says.

He adds that this allows companies to offer the employees appropriate remuneration, which is also a motivating factor that can prevent  workforce migration to other more lucrative industries. “The mostly family-run businesses must not be afraid to achieve prices that include a reasonable income for the master confectioner,” he adds.

Market Dynamics

Bakery products made with regional raw materials are still very much en vogue. Bread loaves and bread rolls containing and made out of original grains such as spelt, emmer and einkorn wheat are also popular. For many consumers, these products are a little piece of home and are regarded as highly natural and valuable.

Baked snacks in increasingly new variations are important at the vast majority of locations. Eating out plays an important role, especially in the bakery trade. Traditional sandwiches, for example, have become very trendy again. Of course, there are also evergreens such as hot topped snacks or various quiches.

Coffee specialties in every form are a permanent hot topic: to-go, naturally in a reusable cup, or cold brewed coffee for the summer season are especially “in”.

Bakery products labeled as “free-from” or “less” are also a topic on trend, like yeast-free or gluten-free baked goods and products containing no eggs or lactose. Consumer favorites include salt- or sugar-reduced bakery products, bakery products with a lower percentage of carbohydrates and, of course, vegan baked goods.

Klaus Vollmer observes that the bakery and confectionery market is divided, as average, cheap products need to be reconsidered and transformed to “build emotions”. He also speaks about “seducing” the consumers with home-like, artisan-style products and the opportunities in developing an online presence.

The German consumer of confectionery products appreciates the freshness, quality and craftsmanship behind the items. “They are happy [for the experience] and enjoy the aroma. The customer likes new experiences and, most importantly, they like to spend money when their emotions are fulfilled,” Vollmer concluded.

Photo: Messe Stuttgart 

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