Don’t miss IFEA 2014 expo at Sandton CC next week!

The IFEA 2014 exhibition – Africa’s premierInternational food and drink event – is set to meet high expectations of both exhibitors and visitors, when it makes its second appearance at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from 5 to 7 November.

South Africa, and through it the rest of southern Africa, is ideally positioned for an international food and drink event such as IFEA as the world clamours for ready access to the southern African market, according to Chris McCuin, Business Development Director for Montgomery, organisers of IFEA in Africa.

“South Africa is the port to southern Africa and even further north and at this stage there is no other show in the region covering such a vital industry as food and drink to the extent that IFEA is.

“The southern African market is totally ready for an explosion in innovation in food and drink products as the growing middle class becomes far more discerning as well as demanding in its food choices,” he explains.

McCuin believes that the show is important to South Africa because, while it has a selection of international products, the local industry tends to be led by a small number of existing brands.

“The market is getting to the point where it is ready for diversification. People’s appetites are changing and they are ready for taste adventures.” An exhibition such as IFEA can contribute significantly to the education of consumers through retailers, he maintains.

As the market grows in both the high-end and low-end retailing sector alongside the growth of the middle class, the opportunity for high-end non-standardised products is also growing. “People are desperate for increased knowledge in food. The days of food being produced and sold without any consideration for labelling, packaging, health, and other consumer expectations, is over for the increasingly educated society.”

IFEA, through its association with its parent organisation, the renowned IFE international food and drink event held in the UK since 1978, has attracted the attention of a host of foreign governments and manufacturers desperate to break into the potentially lucrative southern African market, says McCuin.

“While northern Africa is partially accessed by international trade, southern Africa is as yet fairly difficult to access – and countries around the world recognise the potential of the market through the IFEA event. This business-to-business trade show is seen as a golden gateway to the region by many governments and international companies – and we are pulling out all the stops to ensure that it meets and exceeds the expectations of both exhibitors and visitors.”

He says the perception in Africa of the value of the food and drink industry is slowly catching up with that of developed countries. “Food is the number one industry in the UK. It is a huge income tax generator and the biggest employer. The fact is that rich or poor alike, everyone has to eat. That doesn’t change anywhere in the world – and in developed markets, governments realise the value as well as the green and economic impact that these industries have – and support them through showcasing their products to the international market through events such as IFE and IFEA.”

Demos and seminars

IFEA will feature innovation in the form of exciting new products from over 150 exhibitors, culinary demonstrations and the national final of the South African Barista Championship, as well as a free-to-attend business seminar theatre called The Hub where leading experts will present local market trends and educational content, plus insights into the latest international food and beverage trends and how the South African industry can benefit.

“With everything from never-seen-before product and service innovations from the largest number of international food and drink suppliers ever exhibiting at any one time on the African continent, to a myriad of new product sourcing, networking and educational experiences, IFEA 2014 will be nothing short of extraordinary.”

IFEA 2014, taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from 05 to 07 November, is Africa’s BIGGEST global food & drink expo. Doors are open from 10:00 to 17:00 on 05 and 06 November, and from 10:00 to 16:00 on 07 November.

For more information, go to www.ifea.co.za