AB7: Africa’s Biggest F&B Expo Keeps Getting Bigger
“It’s time that Africa gets recognition for its status in the world as an economic powerhouse on a stable path to growth,” says John Thomson of Exhibition Management Services, the organisers of Africa’s Big Seven (AB7) food and beverage expo. AB7 takes place from 19 to 21 June at Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand, South Africa.
“Few people are aware that, of Africa’s 1,1-billion people, one in three are middle class consumers, and that the African continent is the second-fastest growing region in the world after Asia,” continues Thomson. “Of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world, four are in Africa – Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique. Clearly, Africa still has vast potential for economic development and consumer market expansion.”
Africa is increasingly being regarded as the ‘Last Frontier’ market for trade from diverse manufacturers and suppliers around the world. It is a continent of massive latent opportunity just waiting to be explored, especially in the food and beverage sector.
“The continent’s biggest food and beverage expo, Africa’s Big Seven, has been an effective business networking platform for the industry for 14 years, and continues to attract growing numbers of suppliers and buyers together from across the continent and around the world, all in one place at the same time,” says Thomson.
The nagging drought in many parts of central and southern Africa is attracting growing interest from food and beverage manufacturers and suppliers keen to fill the many gaps caused by lower crop yields and reduced production volumes – maize and sugar are just two examples.
“This year’s AB7 expo is expected to be even bigger than last year’s show; more international manufacturers and suppliers are becoming aware of the benefits of exhibiting at AB7, especially as a springboard into Africa’s growing consumer markets,” adds Thomson. “Of course, AB7 is also a ‘must-see’ for thousands of buyers, agents and retailers from around the world. Nobody in the global food and beverage business can afford to miss Africa’s Big Seven, from 19 to 21 June at Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand, South Africa.”
Biggest Benefits for Exhibitors
It’s easy to see why many more international companies are using AB7 as a business networking platform. Last year’s expo set new records for international participation, attracting almost 14 000 visitors and delegates from 72 countries to the three-day show. Exhibitors from 49 countries participated in the exhibition last year, up from 35 in 2014 – an impressive increase of 38%. New international exhibitors included companies from Belarus, Belgium, Chile, Estonia, France, Peru, Ukraine and Vietnam.
“We’re getting more enquiries from companies in countries that have not exhibited at AB7 before such as Cyprus, Bulgaria, Spain and Greece,” continues Thomson. “The financial challenges in parts of South America, the EU, Middle East and Far East are driving manufacturers and suppliers to explore markets further afield, and they have Africa firmly in their sights; this is certainly boosting exhibitor interest in AB7 so we’re not complaining.”
The major attraction about Africa’s Big Seven is that it combines seven (now eight, with the permanent inclusion of the Halaal World Pavilion) food and beverage industry categories into one massive expo. It’s the biggest – and only – trade show of its kind on the African continent, and covers all aspects of the global food and beverage industry from farming to manufacturing, processing and retailing; essentially ‘from the crop to the shop’.
The AB7 trade expo showcases a vast array of products, equipment, services, systems and technologies, comprising:
Agri-Food – manufacturers and producers expo;
DrinkTech Africa – Beverage processing and packaging machinery, equipment and technology; beverage products;
FoodBiz Africa – food service and equipment;
FoodTech Africa, together with DrinkTech – production, processing and packaging;
InterBake Africa – equipment, processes and ingredients for the baking industry;
Pan Africa Retail Exhibition – food, beverages, merchandise and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG);
· Retail Solutions Africa – technology for retailers.
· Halaal World – products and services in the Halaal sector
Thomson believes one of the main reasons for AB7’s popularity is the cost-effective showcasing, networking platform it provides for overseas companies determined to access markets in Africa, and for African companies to do business internationally.
“AB7 is the only place where you can do business with hundreds of companies from over 70 countries in three days.”
There has also been strong growth in the number of African countries at AB7. Last year’s show had visitors and exhibitors from 27 African countries – Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Attracting African Entrepreneurs
Africa’s Big Seven is the ideal venue for entrepreneurs, small business owners and independent retailers to discover new products and suppliers, and for manufacturers to find new customers and markets. AB7 enables every participant to gain valuable insights into the latest trends and tastes in the world food industry.
Exhibitors Endorse AB7
Frigoglass, a global leader in Ice Cold Merchandisers (ICM) is one of the many exhibitors that have confirmed their participation in the 2016 show.
“AB7 2015 was a major catalyst for securing new customers and generating leads in both local and international markets,” says Richard Amlima, the company’s Product Manager. “Following the exhibition, we were able to supply a number of customers with specialised coolers designed specifically for beer products.”
Frigoglass will be showcasing some of its new products at AB7 2016. “We have a new range of beverage coolers with eye-catching design and ultra-low energy consumption,” adds Amlima. “These fancy new coolers tend to increase beverage impulse sales in outlets and also offer the lowest total cost of ownership.”
Local engineering software development company Xpitec used their début at last year’s show to generate growth opportunities and compare their offerings with those of competitors. Xpitec plans to showcase their Xemote IoT (Internet of Things business intelligence platform), a generic cloud-based remote monitoring system, providing real-time notifications and historical data analysis.
Being at the 2015 show brought an unexpected benefit. The young company was invited to attend the SA Innovation Summit and compete in the PricewaterhouseCoopers Vision to Reality Awards Programme. “Xpitec was selected for the Top-10, with the finals to be held later in 2016,” says Sales and New Business Development Manager Rupert van Zijl. “Thanks to AB7, we also benefited from networking, potential partnerships and some unexpected marketing and leveraging spin-offs.”
Co-Location of AB7 with SAITEX
“Another major benefit for all participants at AB7 is the show’s colocation with SAITEX, the Southern African International Trade Exhibition,” says Thomson. “This massive, 21-year-old event takes place at the same time and location as AB7, where visitors can quickly and easily move between each show, and of course, visitor entrance is free. These two shows present Africa’s single biggest business opportunities expo and should not be missed.”
For more information on AB7 contact Lineke van der Brugghen, Exhibition Management Services. Tel: +27 11 783 7250. Fax: +27 11 783 7269.