Home CELEB COLUMNISTS Opinion (20/06/19): Takes from Food and Beverage West Africa Fair, 2019 –...

Opinion (20/06/19): Takes from Food and Beverage West Africa Fair, 2019 – By Ayo Oyoze Baje

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According to Jamie Mill, the Managing Director of BtoB Events Ltd, host of the inaugural Food and Beverage, West Africa Fair  its concept is to provide “ a once a year opportunity for the food and beverage sector of West Africa to come together, network and forge new partnerships.” But that is not all.” It is also used to discuss best practice and of course, do business” he added. And so it turned out to be for the over 120 exhibitors drawn from five continents.

The event which was promoted online for weeks for interested participants to indicate their interest became a veritable platform for both the newcomers and established food and beverage companies to showcase their products to the world. It was also an avenue for Small and Medium scale Enterprises, SMEs to avail the customers what they have to offer them. But what is significant here are the lessons individuals and corporate organizations stand to gain from the event that ran from the 18th to the 20th of June, 2019 at the Landmark Event Centre, beside Oniru Beach, Victoria Island,VI, Lagos.

One outstanding feature of the Fair was the solid support it enjoyed from both the sponsors and partners. Chief amongst these are the Gold Sponsors such as Just Food and NASCO. SPAR came in as Retail Partner while the likes of REFSPAN,NASON, Association of Food Vendors in Nigeria, Oke-Arin Traders; Association  as well as Ezickukwu Food and Beverage Association, Aba were the Show Partners.

The online Media partners included Food and Drink Talk, Agro Nigeria, Malimbe, myfarmstock, Legit.ng, Coverine and African Business Central (ABC).Their support certainly made the much-needed difference. The lesson from this is that ideas are sometimes better brought to life with pragmatic partnerships o f those who share in the vision of the dreamer.

On a personal note were the contacts made with major players in the food industry from across the globe. For instance, it was a great pleasure speaking with Mr. Naveed Arif, Director of Gold Crown Foods who was with the Marketing and Distributing Executive, Ruth Mwiti. They came all the way from Kenya to showcase various brands of tea. These ranged from black to green and mixed fruit tae. In fact, he reminded me that Kenya is the country that leads the world in the export of various brands of tea and coffee.

Going by nutritional facts, green tea is regarded as the world’s most beneficial beverage health wise. Rich in bioactive compounds and antioxidants, it improves the functions of the brain making consumers smarter. It burns down fats, lowers the risk of some cancers including prostrate in addition to reducing inflammation of the muscles.

My humble submission is that more public awareness needs to be created for people to know what they stand to gain from drinking green or black tea on daily basis.

And still talking about human nutrition, there were several marketers from HLS Global company around. They were there to throw light on the imperative of nutritional knowledge to man’s wellbeing. They insist that the mistake man makes is that he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recover from ill health.  He is so anxious about the future that he hardly enjoys the present. As a result he does not live in the present or the future;  lives as if he will not die and eventually dies without having really lived. This is instructive isn’t it?

Of course, it is. For, in a quote that has become their moving mantra, “If you don’t eat your food as medicine, you will take your medicine as food”. Nutrition, they tell us affects the way we look, feel and our longevity here on Mother Earth.

Perhaps, that explains why Chi Farms Ltd was there to provide delicious chicken “from the trusted source”. They were presented in varieties of drumsticks, chicken laps, fillet, wings, thigh, dressed, smoked and gizzards. Delicious, your guess is s good as mine. And so were the sausages that came specifically tailored to breakfast, pepperoni, chicadella and onion beef burger.

Not left out was the Tropical Global Investment, TGI Group. It was a delight to have Mr. Govind Agarwal, the Marketing Manager on ground to talk about why the company is “your trusted food partner.” And why not? What with its colourful parade of Terra Chicken seasoning cubes as source of iodine. Add that to the silky, polished parboiled rice with the Red Bull tag? To complement these are a complete range of home care products such as Antox disinfectant liquid, Kleansol multi-purpose cleaner and renew cold water starch, scouring powder, dishwash and detergent.

Another unique aspect of the Food Fair was the wide spectrum of the industry that it covered. In fact, it was a pleasant surprise that AAUD Industry Nigeria came to provide consumers as well as food processors a wide range of food flavours. Well packaged and attractive were the beverage flavours, bakery and pastry flavours, ice cream, yogurt and dairy flavours, confectionery, candy and jelly flavours. So also were the beverage concentrates, cake and bread preservatives, bakery and dairy ingredients and sweeteners.

To further delight the consumers, Fonterra was there with its nzmp milk powder offerings. From a humble beginning of over a century ago, the company now prides itself as the world’s largest dairy exporter across over 140 countries!

In the words of the company, “we are a corporative owned by 10,500 New Zealand farming families, supported by more than 20,000 Fonterra employees internationally”.

Back home here, Flour Mills of Nigeria, FMN  with the Vision: ‘To be the leading food and agro-allied group in Africa’ and that goes by the pay off message of “Feeding the Nation, Everyday” had on parade  several of its prime products. These included Golden Penny Prime Flour and Eagle Flour, spaghetti, macaroni, pasta, couscous, vegetable oil, pure soya oil, BAGCO and fertilizer.

Besides all these food products there were some food machine companies there to avail the customers of what they produce. JuiceTech Solutions was one of them with juice making machines that cost between N250,000 to N650,000.

On the whole, the event has begun on a sound note; towards fulfilling its objective of networking, business partnerships and setting standards that should be sustained.

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