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.

News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
people

Tennis star is set to marry his long-term girlfriend, Kim Sears

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
Latest stories from i100
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

    Investigo: Finance Manager - Global Leisure Business

    £55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...

    Investigo: Senior Finance Analyst - Global Leisure Business

    £45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...

    Investigo: Financial reporting Accountant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...

    Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luton – £25k

    25,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luto...

    Day In a Page

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?