Six key trends in SA hospitality at Hostex 2022

July 17, 2022

Hostex 2022, held at Sandton Convention Centre, was a vibrant hospitality industry experience for three days from the moment the doors opened on 26 June. It was exactly what the industry needed to boost recovery following the pandemic, according to Chef James Khoza, President of SA Chefs and Hostex Ambassador.

Key trends within South Africa’s resilient hospitality sector were highlighted at Hostex through the trade show’s exhibitors’ wide range of products and services, as well as in the two villages – SA Chefs’ the Skillery and Speciality Coffee Association’s Coffee Market.

  1. Local is lekker. Trevor Boyd, City Lodge Hotel Group GM: Food & Beverage, and Hostex Ambassador, commented: “Of great interest to me 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.” In addition, ‘locally developed and/ or manufactured’ was used as a strong selling point for the products and services, highlighting the quality and improved sustainability of local sourcing.

  2. Sustainability is a non-negotiable for the global hospitality industry. According to South Wales University, the industry is embracing sustainability and making it an integral part of the corporate agenda. “Policies and practices have been put in place to recycle, re-use grey water, prevent waste, reduce energy use, and lower carbon footprints.” It adds that sustainability is also about economic progress and social development. “Social concerns such as inclusivity, promoting work-life balance, sourcing supplies locally, and stimulating entrepreneurship are all part of the sustainability agenda. At Hostex, sustainability was addressed in presentations, discussions, products, and through food rescue organisations (Chefs with Compassion and SA Harvest).

  3. Plant-based foods were featured on several stands and in demos and tastings as flavourful and healthy options for people who are vegetarians or ‘flexitarians’ – people cutting down on meat-based meals. Products included mopani grub-based ingredients and snacks, chicken alternative foods, oat and almond milks, Oumph! plant-based product demos at the Skillery, and others. Plant-based meals are gaining traction on eatery menus as tasty, healthy, protein-rich and creative items that are a far cry from the ‘plate of veges’ options of yesteryear.

  4. Technology was a key trend at Hostex, and was evident in a range of innovative products and services. All things technological are increasingly adding to guest experiences in hotels and eateries with self-service or easier-to-use options, improving efficiencies for both customers and businesses, enhancing environmentally friendly practices such as energy conservation, and in many other ways.

  5. Transformation is happening and was part of the Hostex experience. Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo, COO of City Lodge Hotel Group, Chair of the Tourism Transformation Council and Hostex Ambassador, said she was 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 the cheffing scene. “Hostex highlighted that we have so much going for our industry and I cannot wait to meet again at Hostex 2024.”

  6. The coffee scene was another of the hot favourites at Hostex, and delicious aromas and tastings were everywhere. On show was equipment to meet every coffee-centric need, as well as coffee and ancillary products. A new product that attracted attention was MannaBrew, a caffeine-free, coffee-alternative hot beverage locally developed and manufactured from mesquite beans.

Exhibitor Judy Isaacman of Caffenu’s response to Hostex was that “the hospitality industry seems ready to get moving again following the lockdowns. We had lots of interest from people starting new businesses, as well as interesting conversations about the industry moving towards more locally produced products.”

Hostex will be back at Sandton Convention Centre from 3-5 March 2024 to provide an ideal platform for the resilient hospitality industry to engage, network, source, learn, research, and enjoy.