Emerging exporter Phuti Lamola of Phuti Food Manufacturing showcasing his products at the South African pavilion. Photo: dti

PRETORIA - A South African business delegation of 38 agro-processing companies has arrived in France on a mission to explore new markets at the 27th Salon International de l’alimentation (SIAL) international food innovation exhibition in Paris from October 21 to 25, the trade and industry department (dti) said on Sunday.

"SIAL is the world’s leading food exhibition network with unrivaled geographic coverage of Europe and the rest of the world which specialises in the food processing industry. The trade show is dedicated to the agri-food industry, food retail, and institutional and commercial catering," the dti said in a statement.

The companies, which range from emerging exporters to small, medium, and micro enterprise (SMME), were assisted under the dti's export marketing and investment assistance scheme (EMIA). The scheme’s strategic objectives included the development of export markets for local products and services and the recruitment of new foreign direct investment into South Africa.

South Africa's economic affairs marketing officer in France Mustapha Adams described the SIAL food exhibition as "a strategic gateway for local companies into the European market and with a potential for economic realisations".

“First and foremost, SIAL is a big European showpiece which brings together a number of international agro-processing companies. If one is looking for any agro-processing products or services, this is the platform to find them and the advantage for South African companies on show is that they will be able to measure how their products fare both comparatively and competitively against those from other countries,” Adams said in the statement.

Products exhibited at the South African pavilion included ostrich meat, rooibos products, olive oil products, canned fruit, dried fruits, mixed herbs and spices, and organic foods.

“With this being my fifth SIAL, I have noticed an increase in appreciation of South African products. I have also witnessed an improvement in our packaging which has significantly improved our product quality. This has not only catapulted our products to the top of the most anticipated products to watch, it has also won us a healthy following which our companies will have to take advantage of during this week-long showcase,” Adams said.

SIAL Paris would be a bigger source of inspiration than ever before for the world’s food industry, with 7020 companies from more than 109 countries presenting their products to retail and food service professionals. All manner of food products, from ingredients to equipment and end products, would be on show across 21 exhibition sectors, the dti said.

African News Agency (ANA)