Celebrate innovation in Africa’s thriving food and beverage industry

by Kyla Van Heerden

Africa’s Big 7 returns with entries open for the inaugural Innovation Awards

According to Statista, revenue in South Africa’s e-commerce food sector is projected to reach US$522.90 million this year, with an Average Annual Growth Rate (AAGR) of 5.47% over 2023-2027.[i] Ordering food online is just one facet of this booming industry, packed with tasty trends and new products to feed demand from the masses.

In its 20th year, a culinary B2B event not to be missed is Africa’s Big 7 taking place at the Gallagher Convention Centre from 18-20 June 2023, offering the best in the food and beverage business to drive industry growth. The event is co-located with SAITEX.

“Africa’s Big 7 brings quality and new, affordable food and beverage products from around the world to Africa’s doorstep,” says Evan Schiff, Portfolio Director: Food, Hospitality and Trade at dmg events.

This year’s show has a feast of features including a series of free-to-attend seminars covering the latest trends and key issues impacting the sector. The SA Bakers Challenge returns to showcase professional and amateur baking talent, along with The National Burger Challenge, in its second year where contestants will serve up their best burgers to possibly be crowned the best burger in the land!

“Up to 60% of South Africa’s population live and work in the township economy, representing a simply massive market with its own specific demands and drivers that are unlike any other part of the economy,” says Schiff.

“We have worked very closely with key stakeholders to build the relationships to make Africa’s Big 7 the best platform for sellers to access this market, and for township business buyers to come and source quality products at the best value, directly facilitating township business growth.”

Africa’s Big 7 is constantly evolving to recognise progress in the food and beverage industry and move it forward. “To recognise outstanding new achievements, we are proud to launch the Innovation Awards this year,” says Schiff.

A call to enter the Innovation Awards is currently running until May this year. All entries will be considered by an expert judging panel and scored on multiple criteria including usefulness, innovation, design, and response to market. Short-listed finalists in each category will be displayed at the exhibition, and the winners announced on the first day of the show. “If you think you have produced the next big thing or know a product that has come to be indispensable to you, then make sure to enter yourself or nominate the supplier now.”

The product categories are:

–        Groceries, snacking, beverages (including alcohol)

–        Sustainability (food or packaging, sourcing)

–        Business model innovation (B2B, B2C, D2C, ecommerce, delivery methods, fintech, route to market)

–        Packaging

–        Grand Prix – Best in show

“The Awards are an opportunity to celebrate and inspire great work, as well as to boost brand recognition at an event that will attract key decision makers, industry experts and buyers alike,” says Schiff. To nominate a product or business, click here.

Included on Africa’s Big 7 advisory board are consultant, Kiba Bam and Lerato Ramollo, Commercial Director of Yebo Fresh, Nicki Russell, Head of Product and Quality at Pick n Pay and Richard Lawrence, Founder and Managing Director of Innovatr. “It’s great to be involved in a show like Africa’s Big 7, where all walks of life among the industry attend including local taste testers and foodies from afar. It’s literally a melting pot of inspiration, fresh flavours, and new and familiar faces,” Lawrence says.

“Africa’s Big 7 allows you to connect directly with buyers across the African continent, with ample opportunities to discover leads for new business and to access premium, dedicated content covering the latest in food and beverage. We look forward to seeing you there, so don’t forget to register,” Schiff concludes.

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