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Popcorn Affair   

A mixture of authentic South African recipes and a play on traditional food components like Indian roti and tortilla wraps have landed Zoegdie Essa a R5 million a year turn over business. Zoegdie started Comessa Food Services (trading as Popcorn Affair) in 2004, focusing on serving local consumers with popcorns. Over time, and once the popcorn product line was fully established, Zoegdie extended his range to different flavoured tortilla wraps known as “Tortilla Affair” and recently launched the “Indian Roti Affair”.

Comessa product lines comes from traditional recipes, which have been perfected and refined to suit the South African consumer palate. In line with accepted standards, the company has differentiated is various products by developing packaging and unique labelling for the different products. The label has product information enabling consumers to know what they are buying, and includescooking instructions. This professional packaging of the various products has enabled Comessa to place its products in major retail stores.

Seda was approached in 2011 in the first of many interventions the agency has undertaken in the company. The initial approach was to assist Comessa with branding and better market positioning. The business lacked professional marketing and branding material to position the business and attract new customers. It is believed this hindered the company’s progress aas it could not reach the broader market segments within the South African market.

After a detailed assessment, Seda recommended the design and development of professional marketing and branding materials and Native Design Studios was contracted to do the work.

In 2012, Comessa and Seda identified the need to implement an effective and efficient financial and stock control management system. This was necessitated by growing product demand which meant the need for large inventories to be managed. Seda appointed a service provider to implement a financial management system which led to the client employing a permanent staff member to perform this function in the business.

The success of the two interventions gave rise to another challenge – growing demand required more resources. The business has grown to a point where its existing capacity was stretched to the limit and it needed assistance with obtaining additional capacity.

Seda assisted the business in applying for a R50 000 DEDAT Grant Fund which was used to acquire more equipment to increase production capacity. Comessa’s success is part of Seda’s growth intervention in South Africa. Today, Comessa has created and maintained 8 job opportunities in the last 3 years. Its revenue growth during the same period has been remarkable from about R1, 5 million a year in 2011 to about R5, 5 million in 2013.