Eswatini woman serves samples of chili sauce to customer

African entrepreneurs bring all-natural chili, cocoa and cashew products to South Africa

20 June 2024
ITC News

African artisanal food brands went to The Good Life Show in Cape Town to explore new African commercial linkages for their plant-based chocolate, chili and cashew products.

Consumers are spending more on organic food than ever. In fact, overall sales in the organic industry reached more than $63 billion between 2020 and 2021, according to a survey by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) – with food and beverages making up more than 90% of these sales.

The Alliances for Action initiative at the International Trade Centre (ITC) is working with entrepreneurs from across Africa to tap into this market opportunity.

Black Mamba Chili in Eswatini aims to ‘build a better world through good food’, offering an organic range of chili sauces.

Fairafric Ghana offers a range of 100% organic chocolate products made in Ghana. Their organic cocoa comes from a community of 250 farmers who receive regular training to increase yields and organic cultivation. With the organic premium, farmers can diversify their income for better living standards and growth opportunities.

In Senegal, Lysa & Co and SCPL Senegal provide healthy, tasty and innovative food products using local nuts and traditional production processes

With these five organic African trailblazers, ITC travelled to The Good Life Show in Cape Town, South Africa, earlier this month. Participation was enabled with support from:

  • The Ghana Export Promotion Authority
  • ITC, under the Netherlands Trust Fund V programme in Ghana and Senegal
  • The EU-funded Alliances in Eswatini programme

Some 5,500 people attended the three-day event to discover natural, organic, plant-based, and sustainably sourced foods and other products.

Participating brands sought to position their products as high-quality, organic propositions at the intersection of 100% Africa-made, unique flavours, and ‘good for the planet’.

Integrating African products into gourmet recipes for world recognition

Brands participated in the show’s ‘Gastronomic Adventure’ masterclass series, led by international chefs, with a focus on chocolate and cashew nut recipes. Forty people attended each masterclass.

Chef Damien Jardim is a classically trained French chef with a passion for sustainable, whole food plant-based cuisine. He used FairAfric Ghana’s ingredients to create an avocado chocolate mousse, while brand representative Michael Marmon-Halm shared Fairafric’s story to the audience. International award-winning ‘Wild and Indigenous’ chef and director of the South African Chefs Association, Greg Henderson, created the ‘Aquafaba Chocolate Mousse with a Cashew crunch’, using FairAfric’s chocolate and cashew nuts from the two Senegalese brands.

Beyond the masterclasses, brand representatives engaged with distributors, importers, and organizations to discuss long-term representation of their products in South Africa.

‘There’s a real opportunity for our products in the South African market, especially for innovative recipes that are currently non-existent here,’ said Sylvie Sagbo from Lysa & Co.

‘Dry roasting also remains a competitive advantage, as do cashew praline recipes and cashew butters. However, transport costs really need to be optimized if we’re to make a reasonable margin.’

All participating companies recognized the opportunities in South Africa’s market for ‘made in Africa’ products.  They received encouraging feedback from visitors and potential clients stopping by the stand, and plan to step up their efforts to integrate this flourishing market that lies at their doorstep.

About the projects

The Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF) (July 2021 – June 2025) is based on a partnership between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands and the International Trade Centre. The programme supports MSMEs in the digital technologies and agribusiness sectors. Its ambition is two-fold: to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable transformation of food systems, partially through digital solutions, and drive the internationalization of tech start-ups and export of IT&BPO companies in selected Sub-Saharan African countries.

The ITC-Alliances for Action project ‘Eswatini: Promoting growth through competitive alliances’, funded by the European Union (EU), supports job creation for small farmers, entrepreneurs, and artisans. Eswatini’s MSMEs offers the global market unique organic produce, artisan roasted coffee, handmade cultural creations, and gourmet condiment lines. ITC is working with the EU and the local government to support them and facilitate an enabling business climate and to foster and preserve cultural heritage, and draw on artisan skills and concepts of green growth.