A bumper success for Africa’s Organic and Natural Products Expo

by Kyla Van Heerden

The second Organic & Natural Products Expo Africa held last week surpassed all expectations and left an indelible mark on the organic and natural products industry. This much-needed event received resounding acclaim from exhibitors and visitors alike, firmly establishing itself as the Continent’s foremost platform for organic and natural products.

Held at the Sandton Convention Centre from 14 to 16 September, the exhibition exceeded its promise of ‘bigger and better’, with participants coming out with strong statements of support. Exhibitors hailed from several African countries including neighbouring Botswana, Ghana and Tanzania.

A global perspective

Consumer brands marketer Bernice Yalley of Africa Goodnest travelled from Ghana to share knowledge about African products and to showcase some African brands in the organic and natural products sector for the global market. Her motivation to visit South Africa was fuelled by the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, which inspired her to explore cross-border trade opportunities.  “Africa is not just a source of raw materials, but also a producer of finished products that can be exported,” she commented.

Rethabile Maimane, founder and CEO of traditional sorghum drink manufacturer Golden Goose, lauded the diverse exhibitor base, technical expertise, and the overwhelming interest and visitor turnout. “We benefited immensely from the exposure and marketing opportunities within South Africa and the broader African market,” Maimane expressed, highlighting their aspirations for export expansion.

Lufuno Nemakonde, the visionary founder of Funocurls Green Beauty, spoke of the invaluable experience at the Expo, citing exposure, collaborations, and community building as its core essence. “It wasn’t just about showcasing products; it was about building a community dedicated to a healthier world.”

Mariska Engelbrecht, representing MeltingAway Wellness Café, echoed the sentiments of countless exhibitors, expressing astonishment at the high foot traffic and praising the Expo’s organisation and overall experience.

Denise Robertson, the founder of Sublime with Lime, a health bakery and health-based platform, described the Expo as “the best exposure a small business owner could ask for.” She appreciated the connections made with exhibitors, visitors and industry leaders, thanking the organisers for a “beautiful expo that celebrates businesses making the world better—one natural product at a time.”

Seeds of change in action

In addition to a great product mix, The Food Lover’s Market introduced the Seeds Of Change Supplier Development Partnership and offered space to some of their SMMEs at the expo. “We are bolstered by the positive feedback. We were also pleased to receive many ideas on improving Seeds of Change to reach more South Africans,” said Roxy Norman, Head of Food Lover’s Digital.

The promise of tomorrow

Event co-organiser Warren Hickinbotham said, “We promised a game changer and by all accounts, it was – a life changer for many too. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and we will take what we have learnt to go one better in 2024. Watch this space.!

Those who missed out can check out the exhibitors at www.organicandnaturalportal.com/expo

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