Stagnant world markets boost Interest in Africa’s Big Seven expo

McKinley Chocolates stand was a hive of activity at AB7. McKinley Chocolates stand was a hive of activity at AB7.

Africa’s population of almost one billion people comprises a rapidly expanding middle class, with ever-increasing wealth and disposable income.

There is a growing demand for a wider variety of products, foods and flavours – with more overseas and local suppliers eager to oblige. And for this reason, the country is fast becoming the ‘New Frontier’, bucking the trend of stagnant world markets.

Africa’s Big Seven (AB7,) the continent’s largest food and beverage trade show, is now the most effective networking and business opportunities platform for manufacturers, producers, and suppliers to tap into Africa’s vibrant new markets. AB7 and the co-located SAITEX (Southern African International Trade Exhibition) Expo take place from 22 - 24 June 2014 at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, South Africa.

“This year’s AB7 and SAITEX show dates have been brought forward a month sooner to the third week in June. This provides our overseas clients with more time to act on business leads from the show, and also accommodate our many Muslim exhibitors and visitors who wish to observe Ramadan,” says John Thomson of Exhibition Management Services – organiser of AB7.

 “There’s even greater interest in AB7 this year, with exhibitor enquiries from as far as Mexico, Poland, the Baltic States, and the Commonwealth of Independent States in Asia,” continues Thomson.

In 2013, nearly 1,000 exhibitors from 45 countries took part in AB7 and co-located, including the BRICS nations (Brazil, India, Russia and China.) The show also had exhibitors from the UK, Malaysia, Pakistan, Spain, Thailand, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as Nepal, Lithuania and Vietnam. Over 16,000 visitors from 50 countries attended the 2013 event, including visitors from 27 African countries.

A big AB7 success story from 2013 is McKinley Chocolates, a small chocolatier based in the eastern Free State.

“As a small rural company, the response we had was astounding,” says co-owner Gavin Boyd. “We had inquiries from five airlines, four national hotel chains and six international hospitality groups. We are definitely coming back this year.”

“For us, AB7 was truly successful,” says John Mahasha from food processing and canning company, Apol Foods. “We had enquiries from the Middle East, Ghana and the Ivory Coast, and followed up on 17 positive business leads for our company. The show also gave us opportunities to meet other players in our industry and meet like-minded business people.”

The South African National Halaal Authority exhibits at AB7 to create awareness around Halaal produce in Africa, according to Executive Officer Solly Mahomedy.

“We handled numerous questions regarding how to go the Halaal route and received 25 leads last year, mostly from overseas countries like China, Poland, Iran, Pakistan and India – all wanting to export their products to local companies here. We are busy advising our clients that we will be at AB7 2014 and look forward to seeing them at our stand again.”

 “AB7 is a very positive show,” says Dillon Greef of Smart Way Foods, a manufacturer of chilli mixes in assorted flavours. “By the third show day, we had filled the fourth leads-book. AB7 is the perfect platform for meeting our perfect target audience.”

AB7 2014 takes place from 22 - 24 June 2014 at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg.

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