The cuisine of South Africa is sometimes called the rainbow cuisine, as it has a variety of multicultural sources. African, Dutch, British, Afrikaans, Cape Malay, Portuguese, Mozambican and Indian culinary traditions have all contributed the flavours that have been blended to make up the variety of tastes that South Africans enjoy today.
When South Africans fire up their braais, there is a good chance that they are cooking with marinades and sauces from So Good Foods.
Crown National, which is part of Bidfood Technologies, is a leading supplier of spices and other food products in Southern Africa. The company’s own range of sauces and marinades includes brands such as Meisterclub, Grama’s and custom blends. In 2011 Crown National took a decision to start manufacturing their own range of sauces and marinades, which was previously outsourced to co-manufacturers. “We wanted to control our own destiny and become an independent producer,” says Enrico Nardelli, general manager So Good Foods and Bidfood Technologies. Thus, a whole new company, So Good Foods, was started in 2012.
When making sauces and marinades, mixing the many ingredients is a vital part in the production process to obtain the perfect end product. Initially, So Good Foods invested in a Tetra Pak® High Shear Mixer in order to match all existing products with the intention of rolling them out on a large scale.
The test mixer offers all the functionalities of a Tetra Pak® High Shear Mixer and can be directly scaled to production-size systems. “The test mixer was appealing to us and the solution we needed, since it’s an all-in-one solution in terms of heating, cooking and cooling,” says Nardelli. “The main challenges were to exactly match the products’ taste, look, viscosity and whole appearance.”
Four of So Good Foods’ products were tested at Tetra Pak’s Product Development Centre in Lund, Sweden. “Our R&D manager and chemical engineer spent a week going through all the testing stages. The results gave us the confidence to go ahead,” Nardelli says.
Within a year the company had built a new sauce plant in Montague Gardens on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. And within three months after the production start-up, all products were manufactured, bottled and packaged successfully at So Good Foods. Soon, more products were introduced and the company is now producing 300 tonnes of sauces and marinades per month. “During the past two years we have doubled the output of the machine,” Nardellis says.
A single Tetra Pak® High Shear Mixer meets all the requirements of the company, despite the fact that So Good Foods produces many product varieties and variants. Up to 20 different products are made each month. Much effort is put into planning production to maximize efficiency and output. “We’re now looking at going from daily 12-hour shifts to 24-hour production and 480 tonnes per month,” says Nardelli.
With its increased production capacity, So Good Foods is well prepared to supply other customers that make sauces. In fact, it already does. “Among others, Jimmy’s Sauces have approached us and now we co-pack for them, which has in turn also taken our business to new heights,” says Enrico Nardelli.
“At the end of the day, making sauces and marinades is all about consistency,” explains Nardelli. “Tetra Almix is reliable, delivers consistent quality and consistent results. It has really impressed me and I’m very satisfied with it,” he concludes.