Africa's Big Seven 2024

Gallagher Convention Centre , Maude Street 161

Africa's Big Seven: the trade show

Africa's Big Seven is the largest trade event in the continent for food & beverage industry. The seven specialised sectors cover every step of the chain: from fresh produce and ingredients to manufacturing technologies, processing and packaging equipment, retail ready products, hospitality, retail and international catering and much more.

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Africa's Big Seven editions

Africa's Big Seven 2024 From to Sandton Convention Centre
Africa's Big Seven 2023 From to Gallagher Convention Centre
Africa's Big Seven 2022 From to Gallagher Convention Centre
Africa's Big Seven 2021 From to Gallagher Convention Centre

Discover why you shouldn't miss the Food Forum in Africas Big Seven 2017

Africa’s Big 7 is part of Retail & Hospitality Week 2017 at The Gallagher Conference Centre, Johannesburg for June 25-27, which brings together the continent’s biggest retail products show SAITEX and The Hotel Show Africa 2017, the internationally successful hospitality brand, launching in Africa this year.

The food industry is one of the most powerful in economic terms…What are the actual situation and the future expectations?

Requirements are changing though and the 2017 show will reflect that – from a new focus on specialist ingredients, flavours and food trends to the latest production and technology-driven processes.

This year’s show will be brought into line with buyers’ needs offering essential information, live demonstrations and discussion with a bit of inspiration too. The rebrand and repositioning are reflected in everything we do in terms of content, visitor & exhibitor engagement, show collateral and website.

South Africa has a diverse and thriving food and beverage sector successfully serving all price sectors and offering choice and convenience, from its supermarkets to its restaurants.

Why is South Africa the best place to organise a trade fair like this one?

We decided to invest in South Africa because it offers a strong gateway to sub-Saharan Africa. It has good infrastructure, a stable economy and is one of the region’s most developed nations in international business terms. The country also has an established exhibition and conference sector and some good venues. 

We have other shows across the continent but Africa’s Big 7 is well known and with the changes implemented this year, we believe it offers the finest platform for the sector.

Besides the products, Africa’s Big Seven offers technology solutions…what are going to be the main novelties in this edition?

Drought hit southern Africa hard, we have exhibitors specifically addressing that and also exhibitors who are targeting the growing middle class, consumers who have greater expectations from their pre-packaged food and choice expectation.

From an entertainment perspective, there are few trade shows that match food and drink for the sheer fun that can be had – everyone eats and everyone drinks. So, special features at AB7 2017 include Café Culture featuring competitions and barista expertise with a healthy blend of mixology, and The Ultimate Hotel Chef Challenge 2017, which will bring together sub-Saharan Africa’s finest in a showdown worthy of Africa’s premier food show.

We have exhibitors who will offer demonstrations in a dedicated show area too from clever ingredients to smart packaging solutions and, of course, The Food Forum conference programme offers a strong line up of international speakers thanks to dmg’s international reach.

Could you highlight some of your conferences in this year?

The Food Forum 2017 is a three-day conference focused on key issues across the food sector – from new developments and trends in the restaurant and hospitality sector on day one, through to the manufacturing and processing industry on day two and on the final day, the focus falls on farming and agribusiness. Each day is themed and targeted at specific areas of the industry focused on the key issues but mindful of the special requirements of the sub-Saharan sector.

Importantly this year, attendees also gain career-enhancing recognition for attending the Food Forum 2017. Each session earns Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accreditation for attendees. CPD has been operating around the world and we’ve introduced it to South Africa in 2017. CPD benefits the employee, the employer and ensures dmg conferences are of recognised international standard.

The Food Forum first day is focused on ‘market perspectives and growth strategies’, where delegates include executive chefs, heads of f&b as well as individuals responsible for sourcing and buying. The day starts with Wendy Albert, the CEO of the Restaurant Association of South Africa, with an overview of South African food retail and restaurants looking at key drivers and trends for the future.

The second day is about packaging and production with attendees including plant owners and managers alongside engineers and machinery experts from the food sector. As well as new innovations, there will be sessions on enhancing productivity, improving supply chains and understanding the changing expectation of consumers. Among the speakers are Paul Raphaely, Co-Founder of Nomu Brands, revealing exclusive consumer research and how it acts as a guide to the future.

Mark Sack, the MD of Sally Williams Fine Foods, is a key panellist at The Food Forum, who brings two decades of experience. In the past 18 months, he’s overseen the launch of a new ice cream manufacturing plant as well as a foray into retail in the upmarket district of Sandton, Johannesburg. He has the breadth of experience and first-hand knowledge to share.

Some tips to attract attendees to your stand (a successful exhibitor)

For exhibitors, we offer our full marketing support to them. Obviously, it depends on the product, there will be a different way to engage a visitor if you are demonstrating new packaging machinery compared with say a company producing flavourings or a beverage, for example.

This year we will be introducing a phone app to give visitors easy access to what companies are exhibiting and what to see. So, exhibitors should think carefully about their description and know who their target customer is. We can help with all of this and are in constant touch with all of our exhibitors to ensure they meet the right people during the three days.

Your event welcomes international professionals…Could you give us some advice about business etiquette in South Africa?

South Africa is an international place of business and there is no specific cultural pitfall awaiting anyone used to Western business practice. English remains the language of business there is no expectation to provide translations for example. I arrived in this country a year ago and my business dealings have all been highly professional. I’d advise anyone to behave in the same professional manner that they would anywhere else in the world – and make sure you listen, of course, nodding to demonstrate that you really are.

There are some specific rules and regulations that importers, and exporters, need to learn but we will be dealing with that at one of our conference session workshops. We believe South Africa holds no barriers to successful business, work with your partners there and the opportunities are amazing.

Finally, can you give us some participation results of the 2016 edition?

The show is co-located with SAITEX and last year we saw more than 14,000 participants with more than 800 exhibitors at the Gallagher Conference Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg.

This year AB7 alone is on target to have more than 300 exhibitors and, as part of the new Retail & Hospitality Week 2017, these two established shows will be joined by The Hotel Show Africa, marking the launch of one of the world’s most successful show brands here in Africa. We are confident that the whole Retail & Hospitality Week programme is unique and will attract thousands of industry professionals.