KENYA – This year has been a significant one for the food, beverage and milling industries across Sub-Saharan Africa, reflected by the upsurge in investments witnessed across the sectors, as companies pace towards repositioning their businesses to meet the ever changing consumer needs.
As a culmination of this year’s milestones in Africa, the food, beverage and milling industry from across the continent converged at the Africa FOODEX Awards held on December 5th, 2019 to recognize and celebrate innovations and achievements in the sector.
Held at the capital of East Africa’s largest economy, Nairobi, Kenya, the highly prestigious and competitive Awards brought together more than 400 delegates to celebrate recent investments and deals, new product innovations, lifetime achievers and distinguished leaders in the sector.
The highly contested awards drew about 70 entries from 40 companies and 11 countries in 13 categories that underwent rigorous scrutiny from the judging panel.
“This year, we have seen a significant growth in the number of companies that sent in their entries, while the pace of innovation, be it in the new products or sustainability space, show the depth to which the food industry in Africa is getting sophisticated.
“Added to this is the surge in investments in new plants across Africa and the infusion of new advanced technologies that are driving the future of this growing industry,” says Francis Juma, the head of FoodWorld Media, the organisers of the Awards.
New products in the soft drinks industry, alcoholic beverages, a wide range of dairy products, snacks, baked goods and milled products; sustainability initiatives, new plants, investments and deals, outstanding leadership made just but part of the highly contested categories.
Winners across drinks, dairy and milling sectors thrive
While the broader food and beverage sector has proven to be highly innovative, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, dairy and milled products evidently made it to the top of the list of winners.
Minute Maid NutriDefenses Nectar Plus, Coca-Cola Plus Coffee, and the Powerade Mountain Berry Blast were some of the outstanding product innovations from the company’s broad portfolio of soft beverages.
Kenya Breweries Limited, part of EABL and Kenya Wines Agency Limited, an affiliate of Distell, also picked the pace bagging platinum, gold and silver awards for their innovative products, impactful investments and sustainability initiatives during the past year.
Industry titans in the dairy sector from across the Eastern Africa region also shone in the Africa FOODEX Awards in a category sponsored by Palsgaard, the leading supplier of sustainably produced emulsifiers and stabilisers.
Kenya’s New KCC, which has made headlines for its new lactose free milk, MB PLC Ethiopia, producers of the Family Milk brand, Sameer Agriculture & Livestock, the Daima milk brand owners and Pamaedge Ltd, which produces the Whey2Go drink, waded through the top as winners in the dairy products category.
Slogging out with these giants was Kenyan dairy products producer, Bio Foods Products Ltd, which also made the headlines after successfully placing on the shelves some of the most innovative products in dairy and condiments space, an indication that innovation in this sector is never slowing down.
Kenya Breweries Ltd, Africa Improved Foods, Bio Foods and Coca-Cola Beverage Africa (Kenya) were also feted for their investments in sustainability initiatives as well as community and social benefits to their communities.
In a category sponsored by Hino, part of leading automotive company, Toyota, Capwell’s Soko Home Baking flour, Bakex’s Phulka Whole Meal Flour, Broadways’ new Mando Bites, Mjeno’s Nuvita Flap Jacks Biscuits, Bdello Tortilla chips, Fayaz cookies and Nutripro Family Porridge from Tropikal Brands Afrika could not go unrecognized.
The tea, coffee & other hot beverages sector is also warming up as manufactures try to bring more life in their products.
Gold Crown Beverages range of teas, Dormans 3-In-1 Coffee, Safari Lounge Compostable Coffee Capsules and The Big Five Coffee by African Coffee Roasters won several awards for their remarkable qualities, packaging and innovative formulations that put sustainability, health and wellness at the top of the sector’s concerns.
Investments and deals recognized for the first time
In recognition of the increasing importance of the rising deals and investments in the sector in Africa, the Investments of the Year and the Deals of the Year were introduced this year to celebrate and recognize these developments.
Outstanding investments that were recognized during this year include Heineken’s new brewery in Mozambique, Kellogg-Tolaram Breakfast Cereals Plant in Nigeria, Sayona Drinks new fruit processing and beverages plant in Tanzania, Dorman Coffee’s new state-of-the-art processing coffee plant in Kenya and Kenafric Industries’ modern bakery and Amor Coco’s coconut processing facility in Kilifi, Kenya.
In the Deals of the Year category, beverage giant PepsiCo’s acquisition of Pioneer Foods; Goldman Sachs led investment in Kenyan fresh fruits and vegetables retailer, Twiga Foods; AgDevCo’s investment in Uganda’s coffee roaster, Great Lakes Coffee and Amethis/Kibo/Proparco’s investment in Mozambican miller, Merec Industries were honoured.
Other deals that were recognized include FMO and Finnfund’s investments in Zambian aquaculture company, Yalelo; DOB Equity’s investment in Kenyan coconut processor, Coconut Holdings Ltd (Kentaste) and DUET Private Equity’s acquisition of a majority stake worth more than US$ 50 million in Nigeria’s soft drinks maker, AJEAST Nigeria, makers of Big Cola beverages.
Industry veterans honoured
The Awards continued with long-held tradition of honouring some of the most impactful people, who through their leadership and mentorship have made the most important contribution to the growth of the industry in Africa.
This year, industry veterans led by Martin Schlauri – Founder CEO & Principal of the African Milling School; Peter Cottan – Former MD, National Milling Corporation & Superior Milling, Zambia; Charles Mukora – Former Chairman of Githunguri Dairy Cooperative in Kenya; Sina Gerard, the Founder & Director of Rwandan diversified food company Urwibutso Enterprises; Jeremy Block – Chairman of coffee grower and processor, C. Dormans Ltd and Gulamabbas Dewji, the Founder & Chairman of METL Group in Tanzania were recognized for their outstanding leadership in the sector.
In the Distinguished Leaders Awards, Duncan Kimani – Manufacturing Director, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, Ethiopia; Samuel Macharia – CEO, Kinangop Dairy Ltd; Patrick Nderitu Kamugi – Supply Chain Director, Kenya Breweries Ltd; Moses Musisi – Brewing Manager, Nile Breweries Ltd (AB InBev, Uganda); Fatma Abdulrehman – Founder CEO Quality Plus & QZone Ltd and Amir Parpia – Finance Director, Alpha Fine Foods were feted for their many years of driving performance and innovation in the sector.
More sponsors, more innovative solutions
The guests at the Awards were also delighted to interact with major solution providers, which provided vital support to the organisers of the event to facilitate the hosting of the prestigious Awards ceremony and Gala Dinner.
This year’s Awards saw the signing up of more sponsors compared to last year, with six global and regional providers of ingredients (Parlsgaard, Kerry Ingredients, Promaco), laboratory and food safety solutions provider (Bruker) and logistics leader (Hino, part of the Toyota Group) and equipment company Lehui, boosting the Awards in a major way.
The sponsors, who participated at the Awards ceremony by setting up exhibition booths, enabled the guests to the Awards ceremony to discover new technologies that they could utilize to improve their production and logistics efficiencies, reduce risks and manage costs of operations.
They also handed out the Awards for the specific categories that they had sponsored.
Bright future ahead
“We are confident that we have defined what these Awards really mean to the food industry in Africa after the 3 years of hosting it, and where no such Awards existed before. The excitement that we see before, during and after the Awards ceremony is truly unique and deep.
“Companies have realized the potential benefits of participating at the Awards and we are looking forward to more entries in the future, from across sub-Saharan Africa region,” says Francis Juma.
The next edition of the Awards is slated for late October or early November 2020 in Nairobi, Kenya at a venue to be communicated later, with the organisers adding that the Awards process will commence earlier than it did in 2019.
ABOUT THE AFRICA FOODEX AWARDS
Now on its third year, the Africa FOODEX Awards (or the Africa Food Industry Excellence Awards) celebrate the very best companies and individuals in Africa’s rising food, beverage and milling industry’s manufacturing, retail, academia and foodservice sectors.
The awards seek to encourage the adoption of world-class practices and technologies in sub-Saharan Africa’s food manufacturing, retail and foodservice sectors – with a focus on new products innovation, new plants or projects, sustainability, investments, deals and marketing initiatives by the industry.
The Awards are powered by Food Business Africa magazine (www.FoodBusinessAfrica.com) – sub-Saharan Africa’s No.1 food, beverage and milling industry magazine.
More information of the Awards can be found on the website www.Awards.FoodBusinessAfrica.com.