Hostex 2022 was exactly what the hospitality industry needed, according to James Khoza, president of SA Chefs and Hostex ambassador. “In chefs’ terms, Hostex 2022 was the secret ingredient that boosted recovery in our industry following the pandemic. Now we are ready to rise!”
Hostex took place at Sandton Convention Centre from 26 to 28 June, just a few days after the mask-wearing COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. Gary Corin, MD of Specialised Exhibitions – a division of Montgomery, long-time organiser of Hostex, describes the expo as spectacular. “From the start on a chilly Sunday morning, the trade show was a vibrant buzz of activity and interaction. Exhibitors, visitors and other industry stakeholders were all eager to re-engage, network and, importantly, to both showcase and explore innovations across the board.”
Corin notes that in 2020, following the onset of COVID-19 restrictions, Specialised Exhibitions was confident that the resilience of the hospitality industry would remain intact in the face of the pandemic. “At the time we said South Africans are known for their ability to weather storms, and we believed the industry would bounce back – embracing and creating new and different ways of doing things. If what we experienced at Hostex 2022 is anything to go by, the industry is bouncing back – and we’re proud to be a part of this journey.”
Three Hostex 2022 theme days
Comeback Sunday highlighted the readiness of an industry impacted by the pandemic to make a refreshed comeback.
Sustainability Monday showcased the great strides that are being made in environmentally responsible and sustainable products.
Technology Tuesday emphasised the ever-expanding range of innovative products and services featuring technological advances.
Trevor Boyd, City Lodge Hotel Group GM: Food & Beverage, and Hostex ambassador, says of great interest to him was the high level of local innovation and locally manufactured products and services for the hospitality industry among the exhibitors – from food and drink to large-scale equipment and everything in between.
Boyd adds, “But I believe that this Hostex will be remembered as the rejuvenation and revitalisation of face-to-face industry engagement – friends meeting friends, and networking happening everywhere. The show gave suppliers an opportunity to refocus and connect with their market, and it gave the visitors – the buyers – opportunities to explore with a fresh eye and invest in new ways of doing things. It was the human interaction that was at the heart of the success of the show.”
A key attraction at Hostex was the Skillery, hosted by SA Chefs, which introduced a ‘reimagined’ cheffing landscape to the industry following the pandemic years, and was a constant hub of culinary activity. This included the launch of the RCL Foods Young Chef and Young Baker competitions, which will continue in the coming months, as well as mystery basket cooking showdowns, competitions, product demos, tastings, relevant presentations, and wall-to-wall networking.
The Coffee Market
Similarly, the Coffee Market delivered exciting action with young baristas from regions around the country pitching their barista, latte art, and cup-tasting skills against each other in the SCASA semifinal barista championships.
Coffee aficionado Iain Evans, editor of Coffee magazine and Hostex ambassador, was impressed by the enthusiasm and engagement in the Coffee Market and across the whole show. “It was an incredible experience to be back at Hostex – seeing all our familiar colleagues and industry partners again, as well as a host of new, young professionals with exciting projects, new innovations and a fresh energy for the hospitality sector.”
Judy Isaacman of Caffenu, manufacturer of locally produced cleaning capsules for Nespresso-type coffee machines, was delighted with the interest in their product. “The industry seems ready to get moving again following the lockdowns – and we had lots of interest from people starting new businesses, as well as interesting conversations about the industry moving toward more locally produced products. Hostex was again an excellent experience for us.”
A wealth of other positive responses came in from exhibitors and visitors. Alan Fitt from Ambience Hospitality said, “Hostex has been brilliant. We had an exciting first day with lots of leads generated for new business. We had a great second day too… Our stand certainly attracted attention and we had something for everyone on show.”
Codi Elliott and Jacques Orffer from KoldServe also reported “better than expected” traffic through their stand. “We thought the winter weather would affect visitor numbers, but it hadn’t. The change from Gallagher made a big difference and we found it easier and more accessible all round.”
Brandt Coetzee of MannaBrew launched a brand new locally developed product at Hostex 2022. He said, “MannaBrew is a roasted mesquite bean powder for a caffeine-free and a vitamin and mineral-rich hot beverage. Hostex was excellent for us regarding leads and customer feedback. It was a fantastic experience.”
David Surley, GM, Blue Waters Hotel in Durban will be back. He said, “This was the first time we’ve been to Hostex and we found it very interesting. We gained a lot of new ideas, and we saw some new software that we’re going to consider using. We found it well worth the trip up here and we will be back again. It was also a great opportunity to meet the senior managers of companies supplying products that we’re already using, which was very valuable.”
Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo, COO of City Lodge Hotel Group, chair of the Tourism Transformation Council, and Hostex ambassador, said: “I loved the ‘refreshed’ theme of Hostex, because it really felt as if we were emerging from the difficulties of the pandemic totally refreshed. It was wonderful to see old friends we had missed over the past two years, coming to network or introduce new products and showcase the wonderful innovations that had taken place.” Sangweni-Siddo was also delighted to see transformational aspects coming out of Hostex 2022, including newcomers in hospitality, small suppliers, and a host of young black female and male chefs making inroads into cheffing.
Hostex 2024 is on the way!
The team at Specialised Exhibitions already has plans for an exciting Hostex 2024, back at Sandton Convention Centre, from 3 to 5 March. Corin says Hostex 2024 will be “the show that innovates, elevates, demonstrates” with five villages:
Equipment – suppliers of large and small equipment for the hospitality sector.
Food and Drink – food and drink brands, producers, and suppliers.
Contract Furnishing – furniture, décor, lighting, linen, interior design, amenities, and more.
Coffee Market by SCASA – showcasing hot beverages, equipment, and accessories.
SA Chefs’ The Skillery – culinary competitions, and space to connect, showcase, and engage.
“We’re anticipating an exciting and eventful Hostex 2024 that more than meets the expectations of our exhibitors and visitors, and that adds tremendous value to the innovative and never-say-die hospitality industry. Hostex has been part of the hospitality landscape since 1986 – and it has a strong and established track record as the continent’s leading hospitality platform. We were delighted with the enthusiasm across the board at Hostex 2022 – and encouraged by the number of businesses and individuals who have stated that they will be back at Hostex 2024,” adds Corin.