Sweetunda’s entry in healthy snacks market

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Special Reviews

Tuesday October 05 2021

Burton & Bamber Company in Machakos which produces Sweetunda healthy snacks

Workers at Burton & Bamber Company in Machakos which produces Sweetunda healthy snacks for the local and the export market. PHOTO | POOL

By SIMON CIURI

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Summary

  • Six years in the past, Jonathan Bamber and Ofelia Burton saw a spot in the healthy snacks market.
  • The dried fruits industry started with a ask by a crew of mango farmers in Embu.
  • This year by myself, they’ve processed bigger than 300 metric tonnes of mangoes, bananas and utterly different fruits and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.

For the longest time, the Kenyan snacks industry has been dominated by imports.

Snacks former to be biscuits, confectionery, and crisps most productive, but fruit farmers with bumper harvests might presumably perhaps well add mark to their construct and obtain a part of the ripening commerce.

Six years in the past, Jonathan Bamber and Ofelia Burton saw a spot in the healthy snacks market. They started Burton & Bamber Company that makes Sweetunda snacks in Sofia town, Machakos.

The dried fruits industry started with a ask by a crew of mango farmers in Embu. They acknowledged, “stop selling us what you suspect we need and initiating shopping for what we construct.”

Mr Bamber and his co-founder Ms Burton took up the topic and it marked the initiating of the social enterprise.

They aimed to construct markets for the smallholder farmers, decrease meals ruin, put into effect local mark addition and abilities transfer and promote healthy snacks made-in-Kenya to the area.

Nonetheless their finest set aside? Fruit farmers from Machakos, Embu, Murang’a, Kitui, Makueni, Meru and some parts of the Fly space no longer let their harvest rot in farms or put up for sale at throw-away costs to middlemen.

“Our interaction with farmers printed that almost about 70 p.c of Kenyan mangoes and utterly different seasonal fruits by no map accomplish it to the market and cease up rotting in the farms. We sat down with them and developed this industry mannequin, which we quiet make use of to this level,” Mr Bamber says, adding that they pay “top class costs for prime superb fruits.”

The firm no longer most productive buys fruits without prolong from farmer groups but additionally trains them on improved agronomy and underwrite Worldwide Factual Agricultural Apply (GAP) certification for farmer suppliers, guaranteeing the fruits are of global safety standards.

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Jonathan Bamber (left) and Ofelia Burton co-essentially based Burton & Bamber Company which makes Sweetunda snacks. PHOTO | SIMON CIURI | NMG

5,000 kilos

The industry started by drying mangoes in a bungalow in Thika. It has since grown to a mountainous manufacturing facility in Sofia town in Machakos with a ability to assignment over five metric tonnes (5,000 kilos) of contemporary fruits per day and now has property valued at Sh44 million.

“We fetch contemporary mangoes, bananas, pineapples, and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes from farmers shrunk thru self-relieve groups. We assignment them into snacks and not utilizing a added sugar,” says Mr Bamber, a Briton, who has labored in Africa for a couple of years, as a diplomat and a vogue authentic.

The firm is in its issue phase and has launched utterly different products, including granola, orange-fleshed sweetpotato snacks, and aseptic, orange-fleshed sweet potato puree, for the bakery market and meals manufacturers.

He says the firm searching for to spend a substantial part of the local and global snacks markets is one amongst the few in Kenya the use of runt-scale aseptic abilities to protect most dietary mark in fruits and vegetables, which fundamentally is a sport-changer in preventing stunting and malnutrition in ravenous formative years.

This year by myself, the firm has processed bigger than 300 metric tonnes (300,000 kilos) of mangoes, bananas and utterly different fruits and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.

It employs as much as 50 workers in height season. It hopes to rent more as plans to magnify production.

Even because the Machakos company takes a local manner in the battle for the global snacks market, Ms Burton and Mr Bamber, command there remains to be stiff competition from established importers, but they are optimistic as quiz is transferring to healthy snacks.

“Buyers are getting more aware referring to the impact of true weight-reduction map picks, and what goes into the products they spend. Mark for cash is but one more driver in the case of shopping for choices. Our product portfolio specializes in larger-for-you snacks that articulate larger weight-reduction map. Our Sweetunda mark has begun to displace imported objects,” Mr Bamber says.

“Although consumption of dried fruits is rarely any longer high in prevailing Kenyan meals custom, there might be an rising flee for meals for snacks which articulate more weight-reduction map and guilt-free enjoyment,” he provides.

At this time, Sweetunda products are equipped in Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, whereas bulk exports attain Italy, Czech Republic, and Holland with more global destinations in the pipeline.

Their valuable opponents are lengthy-established suppliers from South Africa, Ghana, Mali, and South The united states, on the opposite hand, Ms Burton, who has abilities in manufacturing says there remains to be a huge untapped different in the dried fruit market and that the interior most sector must be a catalyst in fuelling issue in agriculture.

“There’s a info gap that will presumably perhaps well additionally additionally be bridged if the interior most sector and utterly different companions come together and this is in a position to vastly boost meals security thru mark addition, moreover to providing sustainable incomes to smallholder farmers,” acknowledged Ms Burton, whose products bask in found shelf house in Carrefour, Naivas, Chandarana supermarkets and impartial grocers at some stage in the nation.

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