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The Manufacture of Edible Salt
The South African edible salt industry, which produces food grade coarse salt and food grade fine salt, is a small sector compared to the non-edible salt industry. The 17 salt producers vary in size from large vertically integrated companies to small-scale producers and co-operatives. There are also a number of salt re-packers that import salt in bulk and re-pack it to sell locally.
A Struggling Sector
The local salt manufacturing sector recorded total sales of raw material to the value of just R158m in 2015 and is struggling to compete against cheaper imports, mainly from Botswana and Namibia. Added to the problem of low-cost imports are increasing input costs and the volatile Rand/Dollar exchange rate. As a result, the number of local salt producers has decreased from 86 to 17 in the past five years. A new regulation that came into effect on 30 June 2016 that forces food producers to reduce the amount of salt used in their products is expected to contribute to even tougher conditions for local salt manufacturers.
The Manufacture of Edible Salt describes the industry in South Africa, details recent events and corporate activity and discusses factors influencing the success of the sector. Profiles are provided for 15 manufacturers including major players Cerebos, Donald Brown Group (Pty) Ltd, Marina Sea Salt and Kalkpoort Soutwerke cc that all belong to holding company, Chlor-Alkali Holdings (Pty) Ltd. Also profiled are small-scale salt works such as Western Cape-based Kliphoek Soutwerke (Pty) Ltd, which employs two people, and the Free State co-operative, Suid-Afrikaanse Sout Kooperasie Ltd t/a SA Sout, which despite employing only 12 people produces and distributes 8,500 tons of salt per annum.