Local drink set to make waves on international shores


Local drink set to make waves on international shores
Local drink set to make waves on international shores

A South African company is confident of breaking into Europe’s beverage sector as the Salon International de l’alimentation (SIAL) international food innovation exhibition enters its second day in France.

One half of Yamama Gemmer’s founding sisters, Mosibudi Makgato, says the general shift from the consumption of carbonated sugary drinks has perfectly placed her range of ginger beverages in a good position to tap into the European beverage sector.

Makgato is among the 38 South African enterprises that are showcasing their products and services at the 27th edition of the SIAL in the capital, Paris.

The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) is currently leading the delegation of local agro-processing companies to the world’s largest food products exhibition to be held this year.

Back in 2010, Makgato and her sister Rosemary Padi were experimenting with a catering business, which resulted in the pair introducing ginger beer as part of their offering.

“We began noticing that ginger beer was flowing more than alcoholic beverages. That was when we realised that this concept of ginger brewing, which is a trait passed onto us by our mother, had a potential for commercial success. We also loved the idea because it had a nostalgic element to it and that was when we realised that there was indeed a gap in the market for ginger beer beverages,” said Makgato on Monday.

Makgato’s Yamama Gemmer is sold in both concentrated and in ready-to-drink form and is marketed as a healthy lifestyle drink.

The company is participating in SIAL through the dti’s Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA) scheme. The objective of the scheme is to develop export markets for South African products and services, and to recruit new foreign direct investments into the country.

SIAL, which got underway on Sunday, is the global showcase for the food industry with unrivalled geographic coverage of Europe and the rest of the world, which specialises in the food processing industry.

The trade show is dedicated to the agri-food industry, food retail, and institutional and commercial catering.

“The motivation behind choosing SIAL Paris as a destination of choice for launching our range of ginger beer was born out of research we had conducted on European tourists that had visited Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg. The tourists took a remarkable liking to our drink and had positively commented on its health benefits.

“That was when the idea to explore international markets for our drink came and by being here in SIAL Paris, we are not only looking at making an impression within the French market but also to Europe in its entirety,” she said.

Penetrating the European market

Meanwhile, South African Marketing Officer responsible for Economic Affairs in France, Mustapha Adams, said the exhibition is a strategic gateway for local companies into the European market.

“SIAL is a big European showpiece, which brings together a number of international agro-processing companies.

“If one is looking for any agro-processing products or services, this is the platform to find them and the advantage for South African companies on show is that they will be able to measure how their products fare both comparatively and competitively against those from other countries,” he said.

Ostrich meat, rooibos products, olive oil products, canned fruit, dried fruits, mixed herb and spices are among some of the South African products on display at the exhibition.

“With this being my fifth SIAL, I have noticed an increase in appreciation of South African products. I have also witnessed an improvement in our packaging which has significantly improved our product quality.

“This has not only catapulted our products to the top of the most anticipated products to watch, it has also won us a healthy following which our companies will have to take advantage of during this week-long showcase,” Adams said.

A total 7 020 companies from over 109 countries are presenting their products to retail and foodservice professionals at the fair.

The exhibition will conclude on Thursday. – SAnews.gov.za

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