By Tom Robbins
Cape Town - Football tourists attending the 2010 World Cup will consume as much as an additional 11 000 tons of food in the country, according to estimates by market research company BMI.
Demand for bacon was expected to be among the strongest, up 4.6 percent, or 69.9 tons, on the back of the 42-day event, as a total of 330 000 sports tourists were expected to tuck into hearty breakfasts.
About 34.5 percent were expected to eat a full breakfast, including an English breakfast and cereal. A further 20 percent were expected to settle for a straight English breakfast.
But if England, whose sports fans are legendary travellers, do not qualify, that figure could come down somewhat.
That could lead to a rise in the 34.5 percent who are expected to eat continental breakfasts, boosting sales of croissants, at present a niche product in the country.
Big breakfasts could assist sellers of sandwiches and other takeaways, as visitors are expected to eat lighter lunches on the run to sports stadiums and tourist attractions.
According to BMI packaging research manager Shawn Henning, overall food sales are expected to be 3.1 percent higher through bars, restaurants and takeaways.
The Food & Beverage Reporter has reported that because most sales would be through restaurants and takeaways, as opposed to retailers, marketing costs for producers would not be too steep.
Already food producers are battling to keep up with demand, as the traditionally low and steady growth of this basic necessity has accelerated due to rising household incomes.
Sales of products such as bread and pasta, once considered by many South Africans to be upmarket starches, have accelerated and shortages are common.
No doubt the government will be anxious that there are no shortages to spoil this much touted opportunity to build a sustainable, long-term tourism business.
Capacity expansion across the food manufacturing sector may relieve some pressure.
All the same, there may be short-term opportunities for importers, already benefiting from drought conditions that have led to failures in crops such as maize and tomatoes.
BMI estimated that 1.2 million litres of alcohol would be consumed in post-match "happy hours" in stadiums and the pubs surrounding them.
Budweiser is the official beer sponsor for the event but according to SAB spokesperson Shirley Scriven, most beer would be consumed by South Africans and supplies would not run out.