Puratos creates four new African subsidiaries for confectionery and bakery operations
The Puratos global confectionery and bakery ingredients group has developed four new African subsidiaries aiming to further establish local presence in key countries, in response to growing sector demand.
As the Belgian-headquartered business noted, the move will allow it to make full use of local ingredients, as well as crucially ensure a greater level of production at at a regional level.
Standing as the second largest continent in the world, Africa is set to account for a quarter of the world’s habitants by 2050. The continent remains a food importer, although it has 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land. By investing in local production factories, Puratos said it aims to reduce food imports and its ecological footprint while contributing to regional food security.
As the company confirmed, its subsidiaries are joint ventures with local partners in Kenya, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and Nigeria and will help the business to further develop what it described as ‘a booming African market’.
Puratos Kenya activities started on January 1st, 2020 and will cover the Kenyan, Tanzanian, and Ugandan markets, taking over activities from Puratos’ previous distributor Papyrus. In order to capture growth opportunities in East Africa, other investments will follow, including a production facility for local manufacturing of patisserie and bakery ingredients in Kenya.
The company’s Nigeria will officially start its activities in July 2020. It is the result of a joint venture between Puratos and the Adegunwa family who is already very active in Nigeria in various food manufacturing and distribution activities. The upcoming production facility will ease the penetration of Puratos’ bakery, patisserie and chocolate range in the largest African market. Puratos Nigeria will also invest in an innovation centre which will train customers and develop innovative and tailor made products.
Furthermore, the firm’s Ivory Coast operation is a joint venture in partnership with the shareholders of Sabimex who has been Puratos’ distributor for over six years in the country. It will locally produce Patisserie and Bakery powders. Because the country is the world’s largest producer of cocoa beans, it will also invest in a chocolate production facility. Puratos Ivory Coast will be in operation on April 1st, 2020.
Puratos officially incorporated a new company in Ethiopia on December 9, 2019. The company called Puratos Ethiopia and will cover the Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and Eritrea markets. Puratos Ethiopia is a joint venture with Dachi Manufacturing PLC, an Ethiopian based company, already active in the manufacturing and distribution of bakery and patisserie ingredients in Ethiopia for 2 years.
With a growing presence in Africa, the company also wishes to develop applications and innovative ingredients that use local raw materials, improve the livelihood of local communities and contribute to the continent’s undernutrition problems.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), malnutrition – including undernutrition and nutritional deficiencies – are still major causes of death and disease, especially among vulnerable and socially disadvantaged people like women and children less than five years of age.
The trend towards an unhealthy diet rich in saturated fat, sugar and salt and poor in fruit and vegetables means that children in sub-Saharan Africa are overweight but malnourished because they are receiving more than enough calories but not enough necessary nutrients to grow into healthy adults.
As the company noted, Africa provide a bountiful supply of indigenous plants for food. Many fruits, types of grains and other best kept secret superfoods offer the potential of developing more nutritious solutions.
“Puratos is currently taking part in a study with the University of Pretoria in South Africa to investigate the potential of indigenous African crops for African bakery and patisserie applications. The functionality and nutritional contribution of these new ingredients will be studied as well as the impact on sensorial sensation and the sustainable cultivation of the plant resources.” adds Olivier Tilkens, regional director Africa at Puratos.
By working side by side with an increasing amount of local communities, the business aims to support and educate in order to build sustainable and profitable agricultural systems for all parties involved. One notable element of this is its Cacao-Trace sustainable cocoa sourcing programme. In combination with training and fair and predictable payments, farmers under this scheme receive a premium price and a Chocolate Bonus of 10 euro cents for every kilo of chocolate sold.