African Packaging Demand To Soar – Africa’s Big Seven

African Packaging Demand To Soar – Africa’s Big Seven

A growing number of market-leading local and international packaging manufacturers are using Africa’s Big Seven (AB7) to access rapidly expanding consumer markets across the continent. AB7, Africa’s biggest food and beverage exhibition, set new records for international participation last year, with 267 food sector exhibitors from 49 countries attracting 13 550 visitors from 72 countries to the three-day show. AB7 2016 takes place from 19 to 21 June at Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand, South Africa.

Growing African Markets

Despite sluggish economic growth in emerging markets around the world, Africa is still seen as a high-growth region – just behind Asia – and this is particularly favourable for the packaging industry. Rising demand for packaging systems and material is being driven by Africa’s growing domestic economies, rising individual incomes, and a rapidly expanding middle-class, which has developed a taste for packaged foods, beverages and consumer products.

“Of Africa’s 1.1-billion people, one in three is a middle-class consumer,” says John Thomson, organiser of Africa’s Big Seven. “Africa also has the youngest population of any continent. These little-known facts are what make it such an attractive yet under-exploited target market for world business.”

Africa’s population is projected to increase by 1.3 billion people by 2050, according to a United Nations report.

Massive Growth Forecast

Italian packaging machinery manufacturers association Ucima recently published a three-year forecast of global demand for packaging machinery for 2015-2018. It projected annual world market growth of 4.9% worth an estimated €40.3-billion. Most of this demand growth will be from Asia, Africa and Oceania at approximately 7.1%, followed by Latin America at 5.6%.

“Cosmetics, chemicals and food are the industry sectors with the biggest projected growth in demand for packaging systems,” says Thomson. “However, food and beverages will take up the biggest proportion of total demand, with food at 31.8% worth €12.8 billion, and beverages at 31.5% worth €12.7 billion.”

Gateway to Africa

Africa’s Big Seven enjoys a growing, worldwide reputation as a springboard into Africa’s growing markets. AB7 is an effective showcasing and networking hub where international companies can interact with businesses and buyers from 72 countries at the same place and time.

Last year, AB7 show had visitors and delegates from 27 African countries – the highest in the show’s history. These included Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“Over 65% of all visitors at last year’s AB7 were business owners, company directors or management, and could authorise purchases,” adds Thomson.

Early Exhibitor Sign-ups

“Exhibiting at AB7 for the third time is an easy decision to make,” says Tom O’Donoghue, Sales Manager for global packaging company Foster International. “The past two years at AB7 have been a great experience for us; we got the opportunity to increase market awareness of our products and expand our clientele – the exhibition creates very good exposure for all companies in the industry, large or small.”

The company’s innovative flat-bottom pouch created quite a stir when it was introduced to overseas markets recently and will be on display at this year’s AB7.

“In today’s saturated consumer shop window, striking and innovative packaging is essential for any product to stand out from the crowd,” concludes Thomson. “AB7 is the event where the next big packaging trend could be revealed to African markets.”