AECI grows food additives and ingredients business in Africa

Lake Foods, a division of AECI Ltd, recently launched its new state of-the-art production facility in Montagu Gardens, Cape Town.AECI further plans to optimise synergies and leverage an extensive footprint. Mark Dytor, CEO of AECI explains how this is necessary to diversify the business,“The largest of these pillars is the mining sector, followed by the water treatment sector and then the agricultural crop protection sector.” He further says the strategy is crucial in emerging markets where several of the JSE-listed company’s major customers are putting down roots and attempting to unlock the commercial
opportunity of the above-average economic growth.
In line with AECI’s commitment to delivering added value, Lake Foods is now able to support its customers throughout the product development life cycle, with capacity in research and development (analytical, sensory and technical), manufacturing, packaging and logistics.
Lake Foods is also the exclusive representative for international manufacturers and suppliers of specialty ingredients and commodities. It offers products and services to the bakery, beverage, dairy, health and nutrition, meat, poultry and wine industries. These products include bacterial cultures, enzymes, natural colours, testing systems, phosphates, stabilisers, emulsifiers, baking powders, brines, spice blends and marinades.
Afoodable which was established in 1990, producing liquid marinades and base products, was bought by AECI in September 2012 (it is now a subsidiary company of Lake Foods).
Since the takeover, it has benefited from consolidation, extra expertise, and state-of-the-art facilities as well as resources.
Says Dytor: “We believe there is a great opportunity to consolidate the market, but also importantly to growthe market on the continent. A couple of years after we took over the company we realized we were running out of capacity and space.”
Tracy Davies, managing director of Lake Foods, thanks its sponsors and team for making the consolidation possible by staying motivated and committed to customer satisfaction whilst living their values and realizing their goals.
The post-consolidation business boasts a total of 149 employees, many of whom are qualified scientists. It also includes a sensory evaluation specialist, Claire Goosen, two state-of-the-art manufacturing plants, five distribution centres across South Africa and three research and development application laboratories (one of which has been recently upgraded).
These developments combined with the core value propositions allow the company to be a trusted food solutions partner which can offer application technology and formulation development to suite customized needs, world class accreditation standards, and aligned sensory profiling.
Food safety and hygiene
“We believe that it is an integral duty of every employee to be responsible for food safety. This is a value we hold very highly in our organization. We have an excellent internal laboratory as well as qualified staff to manage it,” says Davies
of the new manufacturing plant.
The Afoodable factory is an organized “maze” of well thought-out product and personnel flow and contained areas for
specific steps of the production process. Everything from air flow, ingredients storage and flow to temperature has been meticulously planned. The facility was built with a strong emphasis on product flow, hygiene and manageable safety systems and is currently HACCP accredited (has been since 2006) as well as ISO 9001. The facility will, by 2016, be FSSC 22000 accredited – an internationally recognized Food Safety Management System (FSMS) certification.
Marketing and innovation
The company manufactures an extensive range of its own products – the latest being the Cape Classic red wine flavoured
marinade for the catering and butchery markets. However is also able to offer technical as well as packaging assistance as a service to larger local companies, including some retail outlets.
“We have the flexibility to package both glass and plastic, with bulk containers ranging anything from 2-litre to the all-new one ton disposable flexitainer”, says Davies. This has aided the company to be on the cutting edge of new trends, of which
speciality sauces are the latest. Afoodable produces the following items for the retail sector: sauces and marinades, base products which include tomato and mustard sauce, salad dressings, and milkshake syrups. Afoodable’s main business centres around the extensive range of customized speciality sauces and marinades it makes for key customers.
The team sources bottles, perfect recipes while the laboratory manages the quality control of the finished products.
The company is in the process of developing a dedicated sales and marketing team which will focus on foodservices solutions.
Competitor food manufacturers include Ina Paarman, Montagu foods and Le Cap.
The manufacturing processes include: Cold mix/high shear, semi-cooked as well as fully cooked. 290 product lines
are produced and the facility can bottle anything from 22 to 42 bottles per minute, depending on the product and
container used.
All engineering, air flow systems and pipe work was done by High Calibre engineering specialists. Because many of the pieces of equipment were simply moved from the old premises, the biggest challenge was limiting the down time in
production while moving the equipment.
– Robert Gie
Lake Foods: Tel: +27 11 409 5000
Afoodable: Tel: +27 21 552 4817;