Inspecting the grain at FDT

From innovations in packaging and labelling to certification and quality assurance, the food and beverage industry gathered at the Food and Drink Technology (FDT) Africa Expo to learn more about all the latest innovations and services in the industry. MARISKA MORRIS reports.

The FDT Africa Expo was held at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Gauteng, from September 4 to 6. Various service providers in the food and beverage industry gathered to exhibit their service or product offering and discuss some industry concerns.

Exhibitors ranged from companies involved in quality testing and waste management to labelling and packaging. The Speakers Corner hosted presentations from industry specialists. Vera Fritsche, from the VDMA (The Mechanical Engineering Industry Association, with headquarters in Germany), spoke about how technology has contributed to saving water and energy in beverage production, food processing and packaging.

SERR Synergy, a business management consultancy firm, attended the Expo to present its various service offerings in relation to legislation. A main focus for the firm has been preparing organisations for the Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act, which is expected by the end of the year.

The Act is aimed at protecting corporate and personal information. Employees who disclose important company information can be prosecuted. Organisations will also have to obtain permission from employees and clients to disclose their personal information such as phone numbers or email addresses.

SERR Synergy encourages organisations to comply with the Act prior to its implementation and to have measures in place to protect company and personal information. SERR Synergy is equipped to assist organisations in any industry to comply with the PoPI Act and other important legislation.

One exhibit that drew a lot of attention was that of Sheet Plastic, a packaging solutions company that was exhibiting its innovative boxes. The beautiful box display dangled above a small pink stand where staff were handing out yellow trolleys.

From afar, the boxes looked like regular cardboard boxes, but, on closer inspection, it became evident that they were actually manufactured from plastic. These boxes are said to be more durable than the cardboard equivalent, water and chemical resistant as well as food safe. Sheet Plastic promises a reduction in logistics costs when using these boxes, as they can be reused a number of times.

In between all the exhibitions and speakers, the judges of the African Beer Awards gathered to taste and crown the best beer. The event boasted 111 exhibitors and 1 600 participants from 81 countries.

The next FDT Africa Expo will take place in 2019 in collaboration with Analytica Lab Africa and IFAT Africa, a trade fair for water, sewage, refuse and recycling. The combined Expo is planned for July 9 to 11, 2019, at the Gallagher Convention Centre.

Petra Westphal, exhibition group director of Messe München, noted: “Going forward, we will offer exhibitors and visitors at FDT Africa the opportunity to obtain even more comprehensive and cross-thematic information on trends and innovations from the environmental, beverage and food industries as well as analytics. Together, the co-located trade fairs ensure the best possible knowledge transfer for all industries.”

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