The journey to sustainability and innovation: Africa’s Big 7 redefines the food and beverage value chain

by Tia

Acknowledging and celebrating African talent in the food and beverage industry is a top priority for Africa’s Big 7. In 2024, at the premier event for this sector, Africa’s Big 7 will host four dynamic features, offering the next generation of talent a platform to showcase their skills including The Game of Chefs, the Global Pizza Challenge, the National Burger Challenge, and the South African Bakers Challenge. Additionally, the event will address the challenges and opportunities within a sector poised to surpass $1 trillion by 2030.

“Over three days, attendees can network with professionals, thought leaders and buyers at an event designed to connect trends and insights to real-world situations,” says Margaret Peters, Event Manager: Food & Hospitality at dmg events.

“Here, companies can have authentic conversations about pressing concerns affecting the industry. One of the most relevant and pressing themes is, of course, sustainability. Conversations around food insecurity, sustainable approaches to waste, realistic steps towards net zero, and sustainable growth focus on realistic steps companies can make to transform the sector and its impact.”

The event will be focusing on the importance of tapping into food trends, both locally and globally, to craft transformative culinary experiences. What new ingredients and flavours are driving innovation? How are ingredients being sourced and used to create not just new tastes, but to reinforce the message of sustainability? There will also be discussions around: retail mega trends that shape customer behaviours; the future of retail in South Africa; how private labels are innovating despite disruption; the future of plant-based foods; and tapping into the township economy.

In 2024, Africa’s Big 7 is also introducing the inaugural Game of Chefs where Econo Foods is a title sponsor and Unilever a silver sponsor. The Game of Chefs is a culinary competition for up-and-coming young chefs where 12 teams showcase their culinary skills and vie for a cash prize. It’s focused on inspiring and developing young chefs at an event that will give them visibility and experience.

“Unilever Food Solutions is all about supporting, inspiring and progressing chefs, especially the development of young chefs who will be instrumental in delivering trends and inspiring other chefs,” says Yonela Motloung, Unilever Food Solutions Marketing Lead.

“Attendees of the Game of Chefs cook-off can look forward to enjoying 3 course meals with iconic Unilever flavours, which will add a kick to the experience. And, we will be bringing in our chefs to run the competition, providing the competitors with insights and advice they can use to grow in their careers.”

Some of the thought leaders speaking at the event include: Miles Kubheka, Founder, Wakanda Food Accelerator; Arthur Ramoroka, Group Nutritionist, Tiger Brands; Sanjeev Raghubir, Head: Group Sustainability and CSI, Shoprite Checkers; Pavitray Pillay, Behaviour Change Practitioner, WWF South Africa; Ceri Coxon, Head of Customer Experience, Woolworths South Africa; and Chef Coo Pillay, F&B Director, Protea Hotel by Marriott. A full list of speakers and the agenda can be found here.

When it comes to redefining the food and beverage value chain, Africa’s Big 7 lifts the tablecloth on serious issues facing the sector while equally exploring remarkable trends in flavour, approaches and innovations. For attendees, the event is a richly layered experience allowing for networking and deep conversations; and for exhibitors, it is an opportunity to network and connect with decision-makers. As Gabi Davies, Sales and Marketing Assistant at exhibitor Tri Star Foods says: “There’s a lot of positive feedback in terms of reaching new customers at the event and we’re looking forward to presenting our product range to potential customers.”

The event is bolstered by the 2024 Advisory Board which comprises a distinguished group of individuals from leading organisations focused on ensuring the programme reflects the real-world challenges and expectations of the sector. This year, the Board is comprised of Pilisa Matyholo, Group Category Manager: Food at the Spar Group and Ceri Coxon, Head of Trade and Customer Experience: Food at Woolworths under the Retail banner. Cosmos Mamhunze, Senior Country Representative from USAID ATI Southern Africa is the association partner; while Ebrahim Hasrod, Procurement Director at BidFood and Leanne Fraser, Product Development Executive at Famous Brands, fall under the Food Services and Restaurant banner.

Find out more about the event at and join representatives from across Africa to redefine the food and beverage value chain through innovation, expertise and thought-provoking conversations, click here to register.

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