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The Agro-Processing Centre

 The Agro-processing Centre  

 

An important “critical success factor” for the sustainability and scalability of the “Social Enterprise” is the capacity to “generate revenue and profits”. The “ideal” situation to strive for is to identify and produce “added value”, “high demand”, “high volume”,” high profit” products, utilising the fresh produce, produced in the “Food Production Tunnel Farm”.  

After extensive research to identify the most “ideal” revenue and profit generating opportunities for our “Social Enterprise”, we have identified the “Functional Foods” industry. There are undoubtedly huge opportunities in the dynamic, fast growing “Functional Foods” market, as well as challenges, which we believe we can overcome by making the right choices and mitigating the main risk factors. 

To exploit the “Functional Foods” opportunities, the “Agro-processing Centre” will be established as the main “revenue and profit generating” operation of the “Social Enterprise" Business Centre by 2018.  

The “Agro-processing Centre” will focus on 3 product lines that will be developed over the next few years.  

  • “Convenience Foods” –  slicing, dicing and packaging fruit, vegetables, herbs, salads and drinks for the retail and catering markets 
  • “Functional Foods” -  include essential natural nutrients to fill the health-conscious consumer demand by providing a unique range of nutritional products that aim to promote better health and wellness, increase longevity and prevent the onset of chronic diseases, which health-conscious consumers are demanding more and more, especially for their children. 
  • “Natural Nutrition Supplements” – production of  “low cost – high volume”, high “nutritional support”, “Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods” (RUTF), with the main focus being to increase the awareness and access to natural home fortification products in the Overstrand communities. 

Convenience Foods
The modern, fast paced lifestyles that most people live these days has escalated the demand for “fast foods” and “convenience packaged foods”. 

However there is also a need to provide natural, nutritious “convenience foods” and avoid the fatty, fried, unhealthy “fast foods”. 

This has created new opportunities to package a range of natural nutritious, healthy “convenience foods” for home use, hospitals, schools, businesses, events and for the catering / hospitality industry. 

Functional Foods
The “Functional Foods” strategy is to provide a unique range of nutritional products that aim to promote better health and wellness, increase longevity and prevent the onset of chronic diseases, which health-conscious consumers are demanding more and more, especially for their children. 

The “Functional Foods” Industry 
Food and beverage makers have long fortified their products with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to enhance their health benefits. However, advances in “nutrition science” and food manufacturing are now moving the industry from identifying and correcting nutritional deficiencies, towards creating foods that promote optimal health and wellness as well as reduce the risk of chronic disease. 

 “Functional Foods” Market analysis 
According to Mike King of Company and Markets.Com Research (UK), the global “Functional Food” and “Nutraceuticals” market is forecast to surpass revenues of US$221 Bn in 2014. He also goes on to say that the industry is forecast to expand at a rate of 18.5% CAGR over the next few years. 

Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC, in their recent publication: “Leveraging Growth in the Emerging Functional Foods Industry” identify the main “Functional Foods” opportunities as “natural energy drinks” and “dairy products”, especially innovative yogurts. The demand also includes “Functional Foods” that help with “weight management”, “mood enhancement”, “heart health” and those that promote “health and wellness”, longevity, anti-aging and skin care. 

Target Markets 
PWC also identified 2 key emerging target market groups presenting major “Functional Foods” opportunities: 

  • The 65’s and over- the aging baby boomer population is the worst affected by chronic “lifestyle” diseases and are desperately looking for products that will help support or prevent these “lifestyle” diseases, provide longevity and slow down the aging process. 
  • 5 to 14 year olds – this is the group that are most affected by modern lifestyle processed and “fast food” diets, the start of obesity and the chronic lifestyle disease cycle. 

Nutrition Supplement Sachets
Due to the high levels of malnutrition, hunger and child morbidity in South Africa there is a huge opportunity to manufacture and distribute “Nutritional Supplement Sachets” to expectant mothers and babies up to 2 years old. There is a critical 1,000 day window from conception, through the breast feeding stage and the first 2 years of a baby.  

The child mortality rate for these babies is extremely high and is directly related to the mother’s diet during pregnancy and the breastfeeding phase as well as the babies’ diet over the next 18 months. . 

The processing facility will focus on 2 products, “Multi- Nutrient Powders (MNPs) and “Lipid based Nutrient Supplements” (LNS), packaged in sachets and easily sprinkled on foods or included in the cooking process. 

These products will also be used in the HRT’s 1,000 day Nutrition programme for pregnant mothers and their babies through to 2 years old. 

  • MNPs are used for babies of 6 months to 24 months and contain a blend of micronutrients in powder form that are used to fortify any meal, on a daily basis, to prevent malnutrition and hunger.  
  • LNS sachets are used for pregnant and lactating mothers to provide a range of vitamins and minerals, but unlike most other multi-nutrient supplements, they also provide energy, protein and essential fatty acids, and can also be used to treat severe acute malnutrition or anaemia. 
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