Julia Kostakis established the Blossom Foods company in 2002 to use as a channel to produce and distribute processed fine maize porridge suitable for babies and young children from the age of 6 to 36 months. Her aim in starting the business was to see how best to supply cost effective, value adding products to the population of Nelspruit and surrounding areas. Her solution was a healthy and nutritious meal. These are packaged and sold in small packs ranging from 500grams to 2 kilograms.
Her desire to develop this product followed almost 20 years of retails experience of watching customers behaviour, understanding their needs, culture and hardships that came with volatile economic environments.
Julia contracted a Mpumalanga based milling company to produce the fine maize and she further developed the maize to suit the diets of babies and young children and has an established plant where she processes and packages the products called Khanya Nembe.
Seda’s first assessment of Julia’s business was in 2007 where cash flow problems, doubts about quality of products and lack of quality management systems, limited market share and insufficient marketing activities were some of the issues identified.
The following interventions have been implement since then including providing Julia and team with business and financial management skills training. Seda also facilitated for product development and testing through the South African Bureau of Standards. SABS results confirmed that all products met South African expected standards.
The development and implementation of Quality Management Systems and procedures have also been undertaken.
Branding and marketing materials were developed by a professional consultant. These materials will ensure that the product reach new consumers.
Seda facilitated access to funding from FOODBEV Seta with the aim of securing SABS HACCP training which is a pre-requisite for SANS 10330 HACCP accreditation. Seda also lodged an application for machinery from Seda Technology Transfer Fund of which R600 000 was approved.
Seda’s interventions have also resulted in new job opportunities with staff numbers increasing to 10 over time. Revenue increased from R100 000 in 2007 to over R1, 2 million in 2013.