South Africa’s demand for food technology

11.06.2018 - Article

At the end of May the Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association VDMA, with thirteen of its members, explored the food industry in South Africa.

Packaging in a factory in South Africa.
Packaging in a factory in South Africa.© AHK South Africa

The aim of the delegation was to improve the participants’ understanding of the market and its potential, the investment climate and the current demand for technologies as well as to deepen the contacts to the local food industry. The on-site activities were prepared and organised by the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Symposium as a prelude

To kick off the delegation, a symposium was held in Johannesburg on May 28, which was well attended by more than 90 business people from the South African food industry. The products and services presented by German companies, which ranged from the processing and packaging of food and beverages to process and wastewater treatment, were met with great interest.

For the rest of the week, the delegation visited 14 food manufacturers in Johannesburg and Durban. Visits covered key food and beverage manufacturers, packagers and exporters in the country, including Tiger Brands, Pioneer Foods, Unilever, AVI, McCain Foods, Coca Cola, Kelpack Manufacturing, and Fairfield Dairy.

The VDMA Delegation inspects a factory in South Africa.
The VDMA Delegation inspects a factory in South Africa.© AHK South Africa

Cost savings and efficiency required

South Africa is Africa's most diversified economy and one of the largest markets for food processing technologies. Over the past ten years, the value of food and drink produced annually has increased by almost 70 percent to more than 24 billion Euro. Over the same period, annual imports of related processing technologies grew to more than 350 million Euro, reflecting rising food consumption among an ever-growing population and the demand of a middle-class in demand, as well as the desire to export more food. However, economic growth has been falling short of expectations for years, and unemployment is high. The consumer climate also suffers from political uncertainty.

Members of the delegation in front of a packing line.
Members of the delegation in front of a packing line.© AHK South Africa

The South Africa’s food manufacturers are therefore in a difficult market environment. Her interest currently lies primarily in investments to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Mechanisation and automation are considered important measures.

The discussions with the managers from technical purchasing, marketing and product development provided important insights regarding the resulting demands on the services of the machine suppliers. These include: Provision of tailor-made technology, suitable financing concepts, fast and cost-effective maintenance and spare parts service and local presence.

© AHK South Africa

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