F&B industry needs to gear up for 2010

While the country is incredibly upbeat about the upcoming 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, I believe that the food and beverage industry is simply not ready. There is a possibility that next year's demand from hotels and hospitality venues for food and beverage is going to at least double but many retailers and wholesalers just don't realise the implications of this or anticipate the huge demand that will be placed on the country.
Retailers, chain stores and buyers have been too apathetic in their preparation and from what I can see there has been no momentum to correct this yet. The current economic climate has definitely put a damper on 2010.

Usually when a World Cup comes into a country, it experiences a boom the year before and the year after but we are not seeing any indication of that yet, which has obviously been a result of the current recession.

Over the anticipated six to eight week period, including pre- and post-World Cup, we can anticipate a lot more revenue but we need to increase stock significantly to take full advantage.

As an industry, we should also take into account the myriad dietary requirements our food and hospitality industry is going to face. Whilst some international tourists will lean towards the more traditional type of food they eat in their own countries, many will want to experience the unique dishes that are so truly South African and we need to be prepared for that.

In summary, I do believe that South Africa will host an incredibly successful World Cup but collectively, we need to grab the bull by the horns so to speak, and plan (and stock up) effectively to reap the most rewards individually, and as an industry.

About the author

Ismail Darsot is the managing director of the Darsot Food Corporation, a 16-year-old family-run company. The company was awarded the 'International Star for Leadership in Quality Award' judged by global association, Business Initiative Directions (BID). The exclusive BID International Trophy for quality has been awarded to deserving manufacturers worldwide since 1986. The Darsot Food Corporation was the only South African company chosen ahead of entrants from 178 other countries.)

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