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  • Writer's pictureStrategic PR

Hostex 2020 brings industry together before the storm

Updated: May 25, 2022

Just three weeks BC (Before Corona), the hospitality, foodservice and food & beverage industry gathered under one roof for what was widely described as a re-energised and refreshed show, bringing together over 5 000 visitors to connect with more than 200 producers, manufacturers and distributors of hospitality-related products and services. It was a few short weeks later that the world changed.

Nick Sarnadas, Exhibition Director of Hostex, believes that, notwithstanding the upheaval faced by millions of businesses and individuals, notably in the hospitality sector, he is convinced that the fundamental resilience of the hospitality, food & drink industry remains intact. “South Africans as a whole are known for their ability to weather storms, and the industry will bounce back – embracing and creating new and different ways of doing things.”

How can we help you?

“As the industry faces a future of reinventing itself, Hostex 2022 will be an intrinsic part of that reinvention. Our purpose is to connect the industry, and between now and 2022, in this time of great upheaval and difficulty, we want to do everything within our means to provide connection. Our call is for the industry to let us know how we can help you. We invite you to reach out to us, using or our social media platforms. We’re open to ideas that involve connecting – webinars, buyers campaigns, website connecting, or others,” says Sarnadas.

Looking ahead

He adds, “As the hospitality, foodservice, food & drink sector starts finding its feet again when the pandemic subsides, we – as part of the industry – will also be considering the best strategies for Hostex 2022, with the interests of our entire hospitality industry in mind.”

Hostex 2020’s buzz

In the meantime, great credit can be given to the industry, to all participants, exhibitors and visitors who ensured that Hostex 2020 at Sandton Convention Centre was an excellent show.

It was a hive of enthusiastic activity from the moment the doors opened on 1 March, featuring theme days for the first time, with day 1 – Sustainability; day 2 – Women in Hospitality; and day 3 – Education.

The industry was comprehensively represented throughout the expo, and visitors and exhibitors had the opportunity to explore, discover, research, trade, and learn – with new technologies, tastes, consumer trends, developments in sustainability, and more, featured across the board.

James Khoza, President of SA Chefs Association, Executive Chef of Sandton Convention Centre and a Hostex Ambassador, says, “Hostex was energetic and vibrant. It embraced every sector in hospitality and delivered on visitor numbers per individual stand. It also gave premier status to SMMEs through the innovative Incubator Hub and offered excellent seminars on trends and developments within the industry.”

Khoza says the SA Chefs Village delivered excellent innovative engagements, with competitions that were related to the daily show themes and were kept short to ensure continued education. “Our focus was primarily on membership engagement, which was extremely successful, and our stand was busy with young chefs enjoying meeting their role models and heroes, as well as the mentorship opportunities.”

Thomas Overbeck, GM of SA Chefs Association, states unequivocally that “the organisers ran a fantastic Hostex – with a new look and feel that holds promise for the future.” He adds that at all times, the vibe on the show floor was extremely positive. “Throughout Hostex, it was exciting to see so many exciting young chefs joining the more experienced chefs, adding their ideas, eager to learn, and interested in everything related to our industry. The show was a good reflection of our industry with a good cross section of products and services, and some particularly innovative new offerings.”

Show numbers

Hostex 2020 delivered value for exhibitors and visitors:

· 5586 visitors

· 100% visitors who make or influence buying decisions

· 10 500m of exhibition space

· 1000s of new products and services

· Many new features to add value as leading industry platform

· 3 theme days

· 22 curated and relevant seminar topics

· 7 Hostex Ambassadors – captains of industry

Who visited Hostex?

· 65% in age groups from 25 to 54 years

· 96% from South Africa

· 31 other countries were represented

· 74% of international visitors from other African countries

· 60% from foodservice and hospitality

· 21% from retailing, wholesaling, distribution, import/export

· 11% from manufacturing

· 8% other sectors


Hostex 2020’s ‘something for everyone’ features and attractions included three districts – Food and Drink Africa, Contract Furnishing Africa, and Tea & Coffee Africa; a New Products display; IndustryLIVE! free-to-attend seminars with 22 interactive and curated talks, panel discussions, demonstrations and new insights were presented by leaders in their respective fields; Delicious offerings by Speciality Coffee Association of Southern Africa, as well as competitions – National Barista Championships, Latte Art and Cup Tasters; Head to head challenges by chefs for chefs at the SA Chefs Association’s Chefs Village and The Skillery, and trending product displays and demonstrations; Incubator Hub in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry featuring small suppliers with potential to grow; show specials, lucky draws, competitions, and numerous live demonstrations.


Sarnadas says Specialised Exhibitions received really good feedback about ROI from exhibitors and from visitors about the quality engagement they had on the stands, which includes:

Exhibitor: Craig Roff, MD, Mac Brothers Catering Equipment

“The show was very good for us – it was a lot busier than we expected it to be. We picked up some quality excellent leads on the first day, and on the second day, we made sales off the stand which covered our costs and sold ovens to the value of over R300 000. Thanks to Nick and his team for listening to the trade and bringing it back to Sandton and for holding it every two years – none of us have money to do this every year. It was phenomenal and we will definitely be back.”

Visitor: Stuart McClarty, Executive Chef, African Pride

“This was one of the best Hostex shows I have been to in many years. The new products and innovations were excellent and the exhibitors were informative. I did a lot of business and picked up a variety of new products. Being back in Sandton is a definite win for the show.”

Hostex Ambassador: Chef Arnold Tanzer, Food on the Move

“This was an excellent Hostex. The wide range of exhibitors was valuable, and the in-depth knowledge and insight displayed by exhibitors about their products and the needs of the industry was extremely high. The SA Chefs village was a hub of culinary activity and the challenges and trending product demos drew great interest, and the IndustryLIVE! seminars were excellent – full of relevant and new content.”

Sarnadas adds, “Hostex strives to be a comprehensive platform where industry can do business, learn, share knowledge, network, be impressed and inspired, and enjoy themselves. It’s part and parcel of the hospitality industry and we have worked hard to hear what our industry has to say, to heed demands and meet expectations. That’s certainly going to continue in years to come.”

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