Tapping into Africa’s drinks

According to a research report published by Canadean, total consumption of non-alcoholic beverages in Africa in 2013 was 51,559 million litres. Africa has a population of approximately 1.2 billion people and a rapidly expanding middle class will reach 128 million by 2020; resulting in many more consumers with disposable income to spend on discretionary products and services. Food Processing Africa explores the latest beverage and beverage manufacturing facilities launches all over the continent.
Big players
SABMiller Namibia, which previously imported all its beer from neighbouring South Africa, recently opened a newly constructed $33.3 million (R446m), 260,000 hectolitre brewery in Okahandja city, 70km north of Windhoek. The brewery which is modelled on global best practice, is one of SABMiller’s most efficient and environmentally-friendly breweries of its size in the world.
Cobus Bruwer, MD of SABMiller Namibia, says its investments in Namibia,aligns with the government’s Vision 2030 of an industrial nation, “This is a seminal occasion for SABMiller in Namibia and represents the latest investment by the company in the African growth story. Not only will the brewery produce fantastic tasting beers, it will also contribute to the creation of a vibrant local manufacturing sector. This will in turn allow us to accelerate the emergence of small and medium sized Namibian businesses which are so important to the life blood of the economy and help create a growing population of skilled employees by supporting education and providing training.”
According to the brewery, 30 million non-returnable glass bottles have been replaced by returnable bottles since work began at new premises, while cardboard packaging previously used has been replaced with re-usable plastic crates. Says Bruwer: “This, as well as minimised transport requirements due to local production and distribution, has significantly reduced landfill and carbon emissions. In addition, the brewery plans to use 3.25 litres of water per litre of beer in the brewing process – just below SABMiller’s worldwide average of 3.3 litres per litre of beer.”
Bruwer says investments across the African continent underline SABMiller ‘s belief in the continent.
Speaking to the Financial Mail (February 2015) Coca-Cola Eurasia & Africa president, Nathan Kalumbu, supported this view, stating that having Coke products within arm’s reach of desire is an ongoing challenge as markets in Africa continue to grow: “We continue to see a number of societal trends in Africa — improved infrastructure, greater education, positive demographics and increased urbanisation — that represent growth opportunities for Coca-Cola. The region already accounts for about 10% of Coca-Cola’s total revenue and volume, and we expect this to double in less than six years.”
Coca-Cola has most recently injected $17bn (R227bn) in investment in the continent. Along with community focused projects, Coca-Cola is launching an initiative called Source Africa to get its product ingredients locally. The company will also pump money into new manufacturing lines, cooling and distribution equipment and production.
The poor quality of drinking water in both rural and urban areas in some African countries has led to consumers spending more on bottled water, soft drinks and juices. At present Coca-Cola bottlers in West Africa make its products from concentrate derived from a French unit, while a plant in Swaziland provides concentrate to bottlers in the rest of Africa.
Coca-Cola is furthermore cementing its footprint in Africa with the forthcoming merging of its Southern and East Africa bottlers, allowing a leaner expansion with the pooling of resources and manufacturing, distribution and marketing capability across the region.
According to the company, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), headquartered in South Africa, will be the largest Coca-Cola bottler in Africa and 10th biggest in the world. This will happen when SABMiller (owner of ABI, which already bottles 55% of Coca-Cola’s volumes in South Africa) and Gutsche Family Investments (which controls Sabco, a Coca-Cola bottler for the past 74 years) combine their soft drinks operations, following a deal announced in 2014.
Serving 12 countries and accounting for over 40% of all Coca-Cola beverage volumes on the continent, the new entity is expected to have revenues of $2,9bn (R38,8bn) and a 17% operating margin.
Industry entrants
A relatively new player in the beverage market is Cape Town based Breva Bev Co, a subsidiary of Bumi Hills Group, which has launched a malt-based drink for non-alcohol drinkers. According to the company, there is a growing demand for alcohol-free malt drinks. The sector has hitherto been dominated by international alcohol companies like Becks and Bavaria.
Says Breva Bevs’ Gladys Mawoneke in a statement, “We have a huge emerging middle class in South Africa that does not drink alcohol. Because of their disposable income they seek a drink that they can drink comfortably as adults when they are out and about and when they are at home – a drink that talks to their image and that they can use to ‘badge’. Containing neither hops nor fermented barley malt, it does not undergo any fermentation process. It somewhat taps into a glamorous image and globalised lifestyle that neither juice nor teas nor colas can offer.”
Manufactured and bottled in Wellington, Cape Town, Breva is packaged in a green flint bottle with a twist-off crown closure. It comes in four flavours that blend well with malt – Passion Fruit, Apple, Peach and Pineapple.
Late in 2014, Namibia Breweries launched Vigo, a premium malt based cooler described as “an invigorating, lightly sparkling soft drink available in two flavours: Marula, which has a sweet-sour, fruity taste, and Wild Orange, which is also known as monkey orange – grapefruit-sized fruits which have a distinctive fresh citrus taste. Namibia Breweries agrees that there is a demand for such beverages: “the launch is in response to the global consumer thirst for a premium malt based beverage option. It is also in keeping with the move towards non-alcohol refreshment, especially for those who are driving, and is an alternative to soft drinks for more sophisticated palates.”
Keeping within the theme of nonalcoholic frothy drinks, Naturex, an international group specialising in natural ingredients, has developed a natural, sustainable and innovative ingredient, UPtaia, which creates foam/froth in non-alcoholic beverages.
“UPtaia is sustainably wild harvested in a 800,000ha Chilean quillaia forest and works in such a manner that it improves the stability of the foam and the cling effect, which then helps the manufacturer to create delicious frothy drinks that consumers love. It is also a great alternative for replacing non-natural solutions like propylene glycol alginates. The level of foam obtained is proportional to the amount of UPtaia in the drink. The optimal usage level, between 40 and 200ppm, will depend on the height of foam expected.”
Taking it a step further, global producer, marketer and provider of technology-based natural ingredients, Döhler recently launched a portfolio of gluten-free malt extracts made from barley. Says the company: “The increasing demand for gluten-free products around the world is presenting the food and beverage industry with new opportunities and challenges. According to our in-house market research, in 2013 alone, over 7,000 new products labelled ’glutenfree‘ were introduced to the global food and beverages market. Through market research and trend spotting across the globe, Döhler detected this trend in its early stages and has conducted intensive research on a new generation of malt ingredients.”
Concluded the company: “We provide both the food and beverage industries with application-specific, gluten-free malt extracts that can be used as specific flavour components and as natural ingredients for a variety of products for natural colouring and sweetening.”
SABMiller: Tel +27 11 881 8492; www.sabmiller.com
Coca-Cola Eurasia & Africa:Tel +27 +27 11 644 0666; www.cocacola.co.za
Breva Bev Co: Tel +27 21 434 3887; www.breva.co.za
Naturex: Tel +33 4 90 23 96 89; www.naturex.com
Namibia Breweries: Tel +264 61 320 4999; www.nambrew.com
Döhler: Tel +27 21 872 4976; info@afriplex.co.za; www.doehlersa.co.za