Innovative technologies are key to supporting the food and beverage industry in Africa as the population of the continent continues to rise. Currently, about 1.3-billion people live in Africa. By 2050 this number is expected to almost double to about 2.5-billion.
The demand for food and beverages will obviously continue to increase, and steep growth in the sector is already being seen. The 2021 turnover of the African food and beverage industry is expected to be around $1.37-billion. From 2021 to 2025, sales are expected to grow by around 18%.
The rest of the world is also noticing the potential in the African food and beverage sector, with numerous investments being made in most African countries. Companies such as FrieslandCampina, Kellogg, Danone and AB InBev have joined well-established international players such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle, Heineken and Unilever. As a result, billions of dollars are being invested in local agricultural value chains, production plants and processing facilities.
Graco is also keen to support the food and beverage industry in Africa. Our business strategy is to supply innovative technology to increase productivity at a low total cost of ownership. Our equipment is renowned for providing these benefits in key industries such as mining, construction, agriculture, automotive, marine, and oil and gas, and it will be no different in the food and beverage sector.
Products that Graco supplies to food and beverage customers include FDA-approved pumps to shift edible oils, tomato paste and peanut butter; pressure washers to clean and disinfect manufacturing facilities and equipment; hotmelt packaging solutions suitable for various processing lines; and automatic lubrication systems to supply controlled amounts of grease and oils to the equipment.
Graco goes further to support the food and beverage industry in Africa through a well-established distribution network that supplies, maintains and repairs Graco products. We also have a dedicated African trainer who is responsible for training our distributors and end users. This ensures that high-level technical capabilities are locally available everywhere in Africa where we sell our equipment. Moreover, Graco is willing to do trial installations to prove the benefits of using Graco equipment.
One product that is well accepted and used in Africa is Hydra-Clean. Designed with Graco’s ultra-reliable NXT air motor, Hydra-Clean pressure washers are a quick, easy and efficient way to clean industrial and sanitary facilities such as food processing plants. One major advantage is that Hydra-Clean can pump chemicals and hot water up to 90º C at 85 bar to 300 bar, depending on the unit. This results in a clean and disinfected substrate. We recently launched the Hydra-Clean LT: a smaller and more portable version of the original unit. We are convinced Hydra-Clean will meet a big demand to clean and sanitize food, beverage and pharmaceutical processing facilities in Africa.
A second product that I believe is indispensable for the African food and beverage sector is InvisiPac. This is a real game-changer in the hotmelt industry because it makes your case and carton sealing operations more reliable, faster, safer and more cost-effective. It has won numerous international awards for its innovative technology.
The beating heart of the system is its tank-free hot melting system, which has an industry-leading start-up time of just ten minutes. This contributes to a 48% reduction in start-up energy.
Even more impressive are the savings in glue consumption. Up to 60% less glue is consumed, which obviously translates to a significant financial advantage. This is achieved by applying a stitching pattern instead of the solid lines currently applied. It is also the only gluing unit that can generate reports on the glue application per box, total glue consumption, savings generated, temperature per heat-zone and the box count per day. These reports are also available remotely using the LineSite remote monitoring system.
InvisiPac eliminates unplanned downtime caused by adhesive charring, nozzle plugging and hose issues. No charring also results in a much more reliable unit. For example, at a prominent tomato packing facility, InvisiPac is operated without a glitch every day for an entire packing season.
Safety of operators is also enhanced. As operators have no direct contact with the hot molten adhesive, InvisiPac eliminates safety hazards such as burning, toxic fumes and slippage.
With products like these, backed up by comprehensive services, Graco is well positioned to continue to support the growing food and beverage industry in Africa.
Hendrik Papenfus is currently the Africa Sales Manager for Graco, an America-based equipment manufacturer for the fluids industry. He has a passion for African business and played an instrumental role in developing the African strategy for Graco.