Cutting edge robots at Germany's first doner kebab fair

It goes by the uninspiring name "FFDR-V1004", but Ahmet Kalyoncu is convinced his meat-cutting robot will transform the doner kebab industry, which held its first conference in Berlin this weekend.

"It's going to change the market," said the 34-year-old Cypriot, while crowds gathered around the machine as it sliced the meat off a huge doner kebab spit, at tremendous speed, and, as he put it, "without ever getting bored."

The robot has a digital camera to sense the changing thickness of the meat, producing a perfect, tasty, wafer-thin slice every time. FFDR-V1004 is also phenomenally efficient, creating as many as 120 portions of kebab in an hour.

"I got the idea from my cousin who is an engineer," said Kalyoncu, the European sales manager for the "Doner-Robotu" company, who now lives in Vienna and spent his formative years slicing kebabs in south London after school.

"It's the first kebab robot anywhere in the world," he told AFP, speaking English with a strong cockney accent.

As well as the speed, the main advantage of the robot is hygiene, he said.

"Doner kebab slicers, when they are cutting the meat, get very sweaty because they are close to the grill. We take that problem out, so it's better in the end for the customer."

But is Kalyoncu not worried his robot could put kebab shop owners out of work?

"At the end of the day, you still need people to stay there. What we're saying is: it's more hygienic and it's easier. Why not just let the machine do the work?"

Judging by the interest around his machine, many of Germany's army of kebab shop owners may soon be doing exactly that.

- Born in Berlin -

Although many people assume the doner kebab - the staple snack of students and drunken late-night revellers the world over - is a Turkish delicacy, in fact the world's first doner was sliced in Berlin in 1971.

Doner folklore has it that a Turkish immigrant in Berlin, Mahmut Aygun, first put his wafer-thin strips of meat in an open pitta bread, added salad and lashings of sauce and hey presto, the doner kebab was born.

And nearly 40 years later, Germany is the snack's undisputed home.

"There are more than 15,000 kebab shops in Germany, employing some 74,000 people," said Tarkan Tasyumruk, president of the Association of Turkish Doner Producers in Europe (ATDID), as he opened the fair.

"Annual sales in Germany amount to 2.5 billion euros (3.3 billion dollars). That shows we are one of the biggest fast-foods in Germany," he added to a packed audience including Turkey's vice-consul.

According to ATDID figures, every day, more than 400 tonnes of doner kebab meat is produced in Germany by around 350 firms. "There are more producers in Germany than the rest of Europe put together," said Tasyumruk.

The doner kebab has become at least as popular a fast-food snack in Germany as the home-grown currywurst (sausage sprinkled with curry powder) or frankfurters, driven mainly by the largest Turkish population outside Turkey.

Priced at between 2.50 and four euros, an estimated 400 million doners are gobbled up every year in Germany, working out at five for every person.

"I would say we are the most successful fast food in the country," added Tasyumruk.

At the fair, representatives of every possible facet of doner kebab making crowded into two small rooms at a conference centre in central Berlin.

Firms making kebab shop clothes, grills, meat refrigerators and the shrink wrap needed to transport the enormous doners mingled with dozens of journalists from all over the world, talking doner in a mix of English, Turkish and German.

And demonstrating how important the industry is in the country, German motoring giant Mercedes-Benz and insurance group Allianz had also set up shop at the fair, keen to have a presence in such an influential market.

No prizes for guessing what was served for lunch as attendees shunned the far too healthy fruit salad and yoghurt in the cafeteria in favour of a steaming hot doner, fresh from the spit.

Sliced, of course, by FFDR-V1004.

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Popes current and former won't be watching the football together
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Sport
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face
books
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
    Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

    Hollywood targets Asian audiences

    The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

    Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
    Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

    Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

    Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
    10 best girls' summer dresses

    Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

    Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
    Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

    Westminster’s dark secret

    Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
    Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

    Naked censorship?

    The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests