Friday, May 25, 2018


Cafe Culture & Chefs’ Challenge among new features at AB7’s 15th essay
Saturday, 17 June, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Shraddha Joshi, Mumbai
Cafe Culture, Chefs’ Challenge, Learn to be a Barista and Taste of Liquid Africa are the four new features at the 15th edition of Africa’s Big Seven (AB7), which will take place at the Gallagher Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa, between June 25 and 27, 2017.

Organised and acquired in 2016 by international expo organiser dmg events Middle East, it will be co-located with SAITEX 2017, Africa’s largest retail product sourcing event.

Both are a part of Retail and Hospitality Week Africa 2017, alongside The Hotel Show Africa 2017, which will bring one of the world’s most successful hospitality event brands to the continent for the first time.

AB7 remains the leading event for the food and beverage industry attracting motivated buyers from each segment of the food industry, covering from farm to fork.

It provides visitors the ideal platform to meet and engage with buyers and potential business partners from across this diverse industry pan-Africa.

Its seven specialised sectors cover fresh produce and ingredients, manufacturing technologies, processing and packaging equipment, retail-ready products, hospitality and catering equipment and much more.

Giving the insight about this year’s event, Christine Davidson, vice-president, dmg events Middle East, said, “This year’s show will meet all buyers’ needs, offering essential information, live demonstrations and discussion, with a bit of inspiration too.”

“Whether visitors are chefs, restaurant or café owners or managers, all will find everything they need at AB7, be it on the show floor, at the conference or at live demonstrations, training, networking or presentations,” she added.

At the consumer’s end, there are finished goods, from beer and wine to canned drinks through to prepared packaged food, from a range of manufacturers.

But this is also a place to source ingredients, flavourings, packaging machinery and to discover processing and transport solutions.

Exhibitors and visitors
Exhibiting at AB7 will provide exhibitors with a platform to meet and engage with buyers and potential business partners from across this diverse industry. Suppliers to the African food and beverage industry use AB7 as  a launchpad for new products, to sell and promote to key decision-makers and buyers and to build a long-lasting relationship.

This year, the event will attract 300 exhibitors from 26 countries, including India, Sri Lanka, China, Brazil and several European and African nations.

Davidson added, “This year we are hoping to welcome more than 20 companies from India participating at the event.”

She added, “There were 12,480 attendees at last year’s event, and with the launch of The Hotel Show this year, we are expecting to exceed that. We are forecasting over 14,000 trade visitors to attend the event to source new products and solutions from both domestic and international suppliers.”

The exhibition spans the hospitality and retail sectors, and presents an incredible variety of products and services.

There are food and beverage producers over 40 differing sectors. “We have country pavilions from Turkey, Brazil, Poland and China, who have invested heavily this year to promote their nations,” informed Davidson.

“The pavilions allow businesses from across the individual country to exhibit together, benefiting visitors who can understand each country’s unique export
policies,” she added.

Special features, conferences, highlights Special features at AB7 include:

Café Culture
Cafe Culture will feature competitions and barista expertise with a healthy blend of mixology and The Ultimate Hotel Chef Challenge 2017. The African café sector is growing rapidly, and demands constant innovation. Café Culture offers free barista and drinkspro training, including the business of bars. Visitors can develop their bar skills and knowledge in two of the hottest beverage trends - coffee and liquor. The demonstrations, which will last three days, are sponsored by Urban

Grind and Republican Drinks Agency.
Chefs’ Challenge – Ultimate Inter-hotel Chef Challenge

For the first time at AB7, the World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS) will host the Ultimate Chefs Challenge at The Hotel Show Africa between June 25 and 27, 2017. The best hotel chefs in South Africa will meet to compete over three days to be awarded the top hotel team.

Farmers’ Training
Day – Free-to-attend skills training sessions
The opening afternoon of the AB7 will feature a series of free-to-attend skills training sessions designed for small holders and urban farmers from Johannesburg and Gauteng Province. Experienced trainers will be conducting these interactive sessions across a range of different competencies and techniques.

The sessions are intended to help the audience improve the productivity, efficiency and profitability of their existing farming operations and to help assist their progress into the medium- and large-scale farmers of tomorrow. Certificates of completion will be provided for all attendees attending the programme.

The following topics will be covered in the sessions:
Training Session 1:

Planting, nurturing and harvesting for best yields in an urban context

Training Session 2: Gaining access to improved input supplies - seeds, fertilisers and agrochemicals
Training Session 3: How small-scale farmers can be more successful at accessing financial services
Training Session 4: Marketing/basic processing tools for farmers: Obtaining enough revenue to protect your farm operations

Taste of Liquid Africa
A look at some African beverages, from the wines of the Cape to innovative soft drinks and beers, with a special focus on the increasing number of craft brewers in the sub-Saharan region, will be the focus of the Taste of Liquid Africa feature.

The Food Forum
According to Davidson, The Food Forum is the centrepiece of the new AB7 brand. Industry leaders and innovators engage in an open and candid debate on the latest trends, challenges, innovations and opportunities during the three-day conference.

She added, “The food and beverage industry has changed at such a rapid pace, and Africa’s Big 7 now reflects that, with a new focus on specialist ingredients, flavours, food trends and the latest production and technology-driven processes.”

The Food Forum conference will take place over three days. “Each day is themed and targeted at specific areas of the industry, focused on the key issues, but mindful of the special requirements of the sub-Saharan sector,” Davidson stated.

It offers delegates the opportunity to learn and gain professional career credits. The delegates will also gain career-enhancing recognition for attending the Forum, and each session will earn the attendees Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accreditation.

“Leading industry speakers will present expert sessions on everything, from the restaurant sector to farming, the latest consumer trends in sub-Saharan Africa and understanding the market and expansion opportunities,” said Davidson.

“We are are also running, for the first time, a full training day for small holders and urban farmers to  support and promote Africa’s up-and-coming farming and agro-processing entrepreneurs,” she added.

The first day of The Food Forum will solely focus on farming, the future in Africa and good business practices with a range of experts. Attendees will receive Certified Professional Credits for being there, which will boost their career prospects.

The second day will cover a range of subjects from understanding the South African market trends and drivers over the coming years, translating consumer rights and ensuring quality in products.

And the third day will look at labelling as a type of food fraud and the effects of the new sugar tax in South Africa alongside sessions on consumer trends and how the Internet can help make your business more profitable.

Food industry in Africa
The sector is supplied by both local and imported products, and is one of the continent’s largest manufacturing industries. South Africa alone imports over $7 billion worth of food-related products annually, and its exports are estimated to be worth $10 billion.

It has one of the largest and most sophisticated food and drink sectors on the continent, and is a crucial trade entry point and gateway to the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Food and beverages make up South Africa’s second largest manufacturing sector. The sales of food and beverages comprise two-thirds of retail sales in South Africa.

Speaking about the food processing industry in Africa, Davidson said, “That’s a big question for a big continent. In the sub-Saharan region, there is a growing middle class. The demand for new food experiences and convenience are increasing.”

“Manufacturers and suppliers see huge growth opportunities across the sub-Saharan region, and there is a great investment going on in this industry sector,” she added.

Meanwhile, informing about Indo-African trade relations, Davidson said, “When dmg arrived in Africa last year, it coincided with a visit by India’s prime minister Narendra Modi to four nations, including South Africa.”

“There are historic links dating back 100 years. South Africa has successful communities of people with Indian ancestry, to which Modi referred,” she added.

“India has $72 billion of annual trade with Africa, while China has three times that amount. But in South Africa, India is the bigger trade partner, with 2015 trade valued at $6.7 billion,” Davidson stated.

“It is believed that China has been a stronger investor in Africa over the past decade-and-a-half, but India has, in the past few years, recognised the opportunities and has worked harder to build trade links. From cheaper medicines to hair weaves, there is a lot of evidence of Indian co-operation,” she added.

This year, there is no special focus or feature on halal, but it will be a part of the discussion at  The Hotel Show’s conference programme, The Vision Conference, co-located with AB7.

Lastly, sharing insight on the agriculture industry, Davidson said, “If speaking about the agriculture industry’s worth, it employs 10 per cent of the people, significantly lower than most sub-Saharan African nations and produces more than it needs, though it imported maize for the first time last year because of the three-year drought.”

“Ensuring water and food security and encouraging new small farmers into the market is given more importance after three years of drought,” she added.

Africa’s Big 7 is the continent’s  longest-established and most trusted show since 2001 for the food and drink industry, where buyers and distributors from across this diverse and booming market come to source new ingredients, finished products, processing, packaging and logistics solutions.

Whether a company is launching a new product into the continent or looking to expand existing sales or find suitable partners or distributors, the event have connected thousands of pan-African visitors with local and international suppliers.

AB7 is a from farm to fork exhibition, with everything in between, so there is a lot to see and certainly something for everyone, be it producers looking for packaging to ready meal or beverage manufacturers looking for ingredients or flavourings.

Over the years, the event has connected thousands domestic and international partners throughout the value chain and build a reputation for delivering quality and tangible results to its exhibitors.
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