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The Road to exotic taste   

The business also suffered from the typical early entrepreneur symptoms of lack of business plan, marketing or branding, and low capital to grow beyond ones boundaries.

Amina started the business in 2000, but formally registered as a sole proprietor in 2006, trading as The Road to Exotic Taste. It manufactures various atchars, pickles and marinades. The company sells its products to formal retail stores and has now progressed on to franchises and mainstream retail chain groups. Before going formal with its products, Amina tested her products with Swift Laboratories to ensure that it meets all the necessary food safety requirements.

As much as Amina had her dreams of expanding the business beyond the Cape, some guidance was needed to help her navigate these rough roads and she turned to Seda.

The business wanted to embark on an expansion strategy that would allow the business to garner a bigger share of local market as supplier to franchises and mainstream retail chain groups.

The company also wanted to start exporting its products and the owner was encouraged to attend a trade exhibition in Asia to try scan the market for her products.

Seda’s assessment concluded that the business faced challenges with regards to:

  • Market Linkages to mainstream retailers
  • Product Development for mainstream retailers
  • HACCP Implementation for mainstream retailers
  • Improving internal efficiencies

Based on the assessment, Seda recommended (among others) that the business should develop new marketing materials. Although the business had a distribution agent, the owner would still have to place marketing materials on its shelfs. Service Provider Cybertech Computers provided the owner with brochures and shelf talkers.

On its retail chain rollout, Seda recommended that the business implement HACCP. In order for products to be sold through Shoprite/Checkers stores, it had to comply with an audit by the Food Safety Association (FSA). Once a supplier complies with the South African Food safety Standards, the supplier’s products are then placed with outlets like Pick n Pay and Woolworths as well. HACCP Implementation also assist businesses with obtaining the FSA certification.

Amina’s products had to comply with food label requirements. The labels also needed to be barcoded. Once the labels were approved by Shoprite / Checkers, the products could be sold at other mainstream retailers as well. The labels would also be rebranded to reflect the various product ranges.

All these interventions started bearing fruit in the first year of implementation with turnover increasing by about 50% from R191 114.00 in 2011 to R305 000 in 2013.