Africa’s Big 7 provides marketplace for food industry players

OPEN FOR TRADE Evan Schiff and other members and exhibitors of Africa's Big 7 2023 open the exhibition for trade

BROWSING MARKETPLACE OPPORTUNITIES Visitors and exhibitors networking at the 2023 edition of Africa's Big 7

19th January 2024

By: Trent Roebeck

Features Reporter


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Africa’s Big 7 will be celebrating its twenty-first year of providing a platform in Africa for food and beverage product manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and other food industry service providers.

Africa’s Big 7 will co-locate with the Hotel & Hospitality Expo Africa and the South African International Trade Exhibition at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Gauteng, from June 11 to 13, 2024.

Africa’s Big 7 enables African food and beverage industry businesses to gain access to innovative food and beverage-related products and services from local and foreign manufacturers, service providers and suppliers.

The criteria for exhibiting, however, is “very strict”, with exhibitors required to meet standards expected by premium buyers in terms of demonstrating that the product or service addresses some of the challenges that businesses in the African food industry face.

These challenges include, among others, accommodating constrained, cash-strapped consumers; adapting to high levels of food inflation; and navigating food security, which includes “derisking” operations in light of the macroeconomic state of the country and supply chains.

Africa’s Big 7 portfolio director Evan Schiff emphasises that the exhibition organisers undertake a stringent vetting process to ensure that only credible exhibitors are selected and secured to showcase their products. Each secured exhibitor must possess all the mandatory food safety certifications, and must have sufficient capacity to supply in bulk and at a large scale – thus assisting retailers with ensuring steady access to products and allaying food security concerns.

Consumers who are looking to maximise value can benefit from the solutions offered by manufacturers, suppliers and private- label food suppliers which have new, innovative food offerings.

Brand names have become less attractive than “high-quality” private-label food offerings, as the modern constrained consumer focuses on reasonably-priced nutritious food as a result of being affected by high food inflation rates.

“Retailers are in a constant race to ensure they have the right offering for consumer tastes, and we work hard to ensure they have access to viable offerings at the show,” he adds.

Some of the manufacturers and suppliers that will exhibit at Africa’s Big 7 include those that provide products and services such as baking goods and equipment, beverages, catering and bulk services, retail-ready food producers as well as technology solution service providers.

Moreover, Africa’s Big 7 will also host several free-to-attend workshop discussions with various food and beverage industry experts and professionals. These workshops will be used as a platform to discuss the issues facing the African food and beverage industry, as well as innovations, the latest trends, new developments in the retail space and product development.

“Our [Africa’s Big 7] team has had hundreds of conversations with . . . buy- and sell-side stakeholders to understand the issues . . . African food retailers [are] facing. We use this information to build stimulating content for our workshops and to ensure [that] we can source producers and products that are in demand by the retailers as they compete in a currently tough environment,” asserts Schiff.

The exhibition will also entertain attendees with a food competition – Game of Chefs – during which young professional chefs will compete. There will also be a Pizza and Burger Challenge to select the best food offerings from local restaurants.

Companies – such as Soweto Hot Sauce, Dawood Frozen Foods, Dr Oetker, 15 on Grace and Tri Star Foods – will showcase their products, and Africa’s Big 7 will also play host to international pavilions consisting of companies from China, India, Pakistan and Türkiye, showcasing product and service offerings.

“Africa’s Big 7 remains the largest exhibition of its kind in Southern Africa, bringing the world’s manufacturers to African markets to enable companies to access new products and engage with serious buyers.

“Agents, buyers representing retailers, wholesalers and distributors come to the event to source new products, renew their networks and learn from renowned industry experts and speakers on how to address issues they may be facing,” he concludes.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor




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