R20m of investment in the production of that precious commodity: chocolate

One of South Africa’s largest sweets and candy manufacturers, Richester Foods, has invested R20 million in new chocolate production facilities at its Centurion plant in Gauteng.

The owner-managed private company, started in 2005, already produces a wide range of confectionery products – including gummy and hard candies, toffee, cream puffs, lollipops, chewing gum, chewing gum, chewing gum, marshmallows and sorbets – and describes himself as having become “one of the most important players in the sweets market in Africa”.

In January, it launched a locally produced chocolate called Coco Bongo, which costs just R2.50 per 21g bar (the same weight as a Chomp or Bar One Mini), and has already sold over half a million bars.

The Coco Bongo bar is made of milk chocolate and has a creamy center. Image: supplied

The company aims to expand its production capacity to 20 million Coco Bongo bars per month over the next two years.

This should see the factory employ 150 more employees than its current team.

Richester Foods owner and CEO, Dr Hussein Cassim, says the affordable price of the Coco Bongo chocolate bar will increase profits across the value chain, including for various businesses, spaza shops and small vendors.

“We have decoded the price tag to ensure that our customers are able to make up to 100% profit while selling Coco Bongo at an extremely affordable price for consumers,” he says.

“Instead of asking consumers to save days or weeks for luxury chocolates, we want Coco Bongo to be a part of consumers’ daily lives.”

Swiss input, African ingredients

He says the chocolate bar, which contains milk chocolate and a creamy center, is the result of international research and consultations with “chocolate masters” from Switzerland.

The bars are made with cocoa purchased mainly from farmers in Africa while other ingredients are locally sourced.

“This is a point of pride for Richester Foods,” says Cassim.

“As a proudly South African company, we want to play a significant role in job creation and we don’t want to depend on other countries to supply the ingredients for our products.”

The manufacturer now employs an additional 50 full-time employees in its new chocolate division, which has internal chillers and cold stores, as well as product testing laboratories.

“There is stiff competition from established brands, but we have the advantage in terms of understanding local tastes and palates, which we have incorporated into Coco Bongo,” says Cassim.

“In the future, we also hope to exploit market opportunities in neighboring countries to increase our footprint and market share.”

“Ultimately, we believe the chocolate market offers tremendous growth potential, with significant potential to unlock business and employment opportunities along value chains,” he adds.

This article originally appeared on Moneyweb and has been republished with permission.
Read the original article here.

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