Africa’s Big Seven sets New Records in 2015
As food and beverage industry trade events go, there is no question that Africa’s Big Seven (AB7) is establishing an international standard for the continent. In June this year buyers from 72 countries, 27 of which were African, attended the three-day event at Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand, South Africa.
This record number, a 39% increase on 2014 figures, was matched by a 20% increase in exhibitors to 267 companies.
New international exhibitors attracted by the expo’s reputation to deliver results came from Belarus, Belgium, Chile, Estonia, France, Peru, Ukraine and Vietnam.
“We are delighted by the results” says John Thomson of organisers Exhibition Management Services. “At a time when most exhibitions in South Africa are either stagnant or shrinking, AB7 is going from strength to strength”.
More good news came by way of other statistics, as over 49% of visitors proved to be company owners or directors, whilst 53% of visitors could authorise a purchase, a real plus for the exhibitors.
Feedback from both exhibitors and visitors was very positive. Ewa Wójciga, the Export Vice Director for Polish ingredient supplier Mokate, reported great interest by visitors from numerous countries including South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania and Nigeria.
“We were approached by several big companies interested in our products, and eventually we had over 20 leads to follow up. I believe we will continue communication with them after this great event.”
The Wallonia Brussels Trade Commission, which hosted its first AB7 pavilion, said its six Belgian exhibitors found that AB7 was an excellent opportunity to test the interest of African markets for their products.
Enrique Marcello, a representative of agricultural company Randino on the Peruvian Pavilion, was delighted with the show. “Visitor interest in our products was fantastic! Our main aim is to seek partners and distributors, and the show has assisted us greatly with this.”
“We received good feedback and had some great leads, with many South Africans as well as foreigners showing interest,” said Jessica van Rensburg, Marketing Manager at Three Streams. The company supplies trout and salmon products from South Africa. “We are looking at exporting to Africa and the Middle East as well.”
Repeat exhibitor Ashton Kelder is a Cape-based wine maker attending AB7 for the third time. Last year, the company linked up with a Zimbabwean agent at AB7 to secure its first importer into that country. “We are looking to expand further into African markets as well as into Europe, and source new distributors for our latest range. AB7 was the perfect platform for this,” says company spokesperson Greta du Toit.
“What a fantastic expo,” said Yana Smuts of first-time exhibitor Vietcoffee SA, a distributor of authentic Vietnamese coffee. “We made many new contacts for future imports and distribution, including the hospitality industry. We also had fantastic support from the Vietnamese embassy and Hapro, the Hanoi Trade Corporation, with whom we shared a stand.”
“Exhibitors and visitors had a rewarding AB7 experience this year and we are looking forward to repeat that success in 2016,” concludes Thomson.
Africa’s Big Seven 2016 takes place from 19 to 21 June 2016. For more information on AB7 contact Lineke van der Brugghen, Exhibition Management Services. Tel: +27 11 783 7250. Fax: +27 11 783 7269.