MARKETING: Food And Beverage Trade Show
Recent Western Cape Business News
Business confidence levels have improved in South Africa, and a GDP growth rate of over 3% is forecast for 2010. Boosted by an upturn in consumer spending on food and drink, South Africa is set to surpass pre-recession demand. For the Western Cape’s dominant agricultural production, this translates into more opportunities for producers. And as the demand for exports into Africa and the rest of the world grows, the sector is using marketing vehicles such as Africa’s Big Seven (AB7) - Africa’s largest food and beverage expo – to promote their goods on the global market. AB7 takes place from 25 to 27 July at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, near Johannesburg.
The Western Cape is still the mainstay of food production in South Africa. Currently accounting for over 20% of the country’s agricultural output, the province’s agricultural production increased in real terms from R15,97-Billion in 2002 to R16,6-Billion in 2007. In 2003, the sector accounted for over 50% of the province’s exports, valued at R13,5-Billion.
Acknowledging the need for agricultural producers, particularly emerging farmers, to broaden their customer base, the Department of Agriculture has implemented several programmes all aimed at facilitating access. The Department’s Agricultural and Agribusiness Strategy aims to ensure that the province’s agricultural sector maintains its position as a global player while continuing to provide food for its population.
AB7 serves as the ideal platform to facilitate trade links with customers locally and abroad. “Ever more buyers from around the globe are using AB7 to source their products or identify export prospects,” says John Thomson, Chief Executive Officer of Exhibition Management Services, organisers of the event. “Over 392 product categories featuring 2 117 different items were showcased at last year’s event and a total of 7 542 visitors from 45 countries attended the 2009 expo – the highest number ever!” Participating countries included Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Thailand, the United States, in addition to over 15 African countries. “AB7 is part of the international food supply chain - acting as a springboard for companies to launch into more markets.”
“Most visitors to AB7 are decision-makers,” continues Thomson. “Our research indicates that 51% of all visitors in 2009 could authorise purchases, and 58% of them were owners, managing directors or directors. Moreover, 17% of them were importers, 27% were manufacturers and 20% were distributors or agents. AB7 is reaching the decision-makers in the food and beverage sector – all under one roof.”
Western Cape based company Pacmar has already booked their space for this year’s show. A first-time exhibitor, the company aims to extend their footprint in foreign markets. Says Lize van Jaarsveld, Pacmar’s Accounts Manager: “We would like to expand our African business – and AB7 is the perfect platform to explore these opportunities.” Pacmar produces a unique fruit juice, the first of its kind in South Africa. The juice is made from 100% pressed and squeezed fruit and contains no preservatives or additives. Continues van Jaarsveld: “Our product is made more appealing by its environmentally sound packaging which can be transported at either ambient or room temperatures, so energy is saved during distribution. The packages are lightweight and can be packed like building blocks, thus saving space and reducing fuel emissions.” This efficient packaging has allowed the company to increase their exports.
John Thompson Boiler and Environmental Solutions, which designs, manufactures, constructs and maintains utility and industrial boilers, is also a confirmed exhibitor for AB7. Neil Berry, regional sales manager, is excited about the potential AB7 offers for diversifying their client base. “We are really looking forward to this year’s show and hope to conclude some good business deals”, he says.
The AB7 expo is made up of seven composite shows: Agri-Food for food producers and manufacturers; FoodBiz Africa for food services and equipment; DrinkTech Africa focusing on beverage processing and packaging machinery, ingredients, production equipment and technology; FoodTech Africa for food production, processing and packaging; InterBake Africa for baking industry equipment, processes and ingredients; the Pan Africa Retail Trade Exhibition which showcases food, beverage, merchandise and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), and Retail Solutions Africa which specialises in technology for retailers.
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