Heidi Ravn, head of supplier association Danish Food Tech Group, said as major bread, snack and food firms moved into Africa, opportunities would open up.
“What I hear from [our members] is there’s some good potential in the African market; it’s an upcoming market,” she told BakeryandSnacks.com ahead of next week’s Anuga FoodTec.
She said one of the great things about food firms moving into Africa was that they were “skipping a lot of steps and going to the new technology”.
Follow the big players…
Ravn said some of the challenges presented by Africa, like cultural differences and the size of the continent, would be eased for equipment suppliers because many just simply had to follow food manufacturers.
“My members are supplying to the big food producers, so of course they will follow them. They will probably not start establishing themselves until they know where the big players will be,” she said.
For equipment suppliers working with these large food players, she said demands would be the same and would continue to be particularly focused on food safety, hygiene and cleaning.
“This issue of food safety is more and more important all over – no-one can afford a food scandal,” she said.
Danish Food Tech members, she said, were heavily focused on designing equipment that adhered to these increasingly strict demands.
Middle East stepping stone
Ravn said for many suppliers looking to work with food firms in Africa, the Middle East market presented a natural stepping-stone.
“A market we’re already looking at quite a lot is the Middle East. There you have a lot of food and snack businesses. In general, the whole market is very interesting and it actually has a good link to Africa because if you are at Middle Eastern shows, you’ll meet many visitors from Africa.
“It’s a good starting point to break into Africa,” she said.
Danish Food Tech Group has more than 30 members operating in equipment, components, engineering and advising and has organized a pavilion for some of its members at Anuga FoodTech in Cologne next week.