This report examines the major activities of the sector, the size and state of the industry and how the drought and economic conditions have increased input costs, constrained consumer spending and put pressure on operating margins. The report profiles 16 companies, including the three dominant companies, Tiger Brands, the Rhodes Food Group and Pioneer Foods. Also profiled is Summerpride Foods, the country’s sole pineapple processing company that exports 88% of its processed pineapple preparations.
Preserving and Processing of Fruit and Vegetables
The fruit and vegetable processing industry is part of the agro-processing sector, an increasingly important contributor to South African employment and the wider economy. The industry's major products include canned fruit, pulps, purées, dried fruit, jams, spreads, fruit juice, canned vegetables and sauces. Estimated total sales of fruit and vegetable preparations, including exports, are between R21bn and R23bn as of 2017. The sector is dominated by large companies, with the largest five accounting for near 50% of total revenue in the industry.
Importance of Exports
Over 80% of locally canned fruit is exported annually to primary export destinations including the United Kingdom, Asia, and the United States. Asia, the Middle East and Africa are growing markets for South African fruit preparations.
The drought in the Western Cape has decreased fruit yields, increased input prices for processors, and reduced margins in the export market. There was a 20.4% drop in production in the last season in wine grapes, table grapes, pome and stone fruit, citrus, alternative fruit, and major vegetables. The introduction of a sugar tax and compulsory inspection services will increase compliance costs, while the policy of land expropriation without compensation has caused uncertainty in the sector. Processors are nevertheless investing in expansion and new product lines to gain market share and take advantage of export opportunities in growing markets.