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he food and agriculture sector is perhaps facing its greatest challenge in recent history. Diverse and complex factors, that will greatly affect the demand, production, and distribution

of food over the coming 20-years, are increasingly converging to create an environment which provides threats and opportunity in equal measure. Today, it’s not enough for the sector to focus solely on boosting production. The global food system must produce sufficient output to feed a fast growing, hungry world population, as the water, energy, and land required to do so becomes increasingly scarce. Vast sums of capital have been invested in finding innovative new sustainable ways of improving yields which will meet soaring demand, and combat hunger and poverty, whilst protecting the security and livelihoods of the millions upon millions of employees and farmers around the world who rely on the sector to feed their families. Balancing these competing pressures has placed a heavy burden on the sector, and yet few industry leaders would have any complaints; corporate-social responsibility isn’t just a buzz-word nowadays, and

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aware of their obligations and responsibilities to the communities in which they operate, the environment, and of course the consumer. We at Endeavour have had the privilege of featuring a spread of successful, dynamic companies from all areas of the industry and every corner of the globe over the years, and feel now is an perhaps the world’s most important industry. This is an exciting time for the food and agriculture sector, and we hope you enjoy the news and stories inside our magazine as much as we enjoyed finding them.


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Endeavour Magazine | 3


20 Wellocks

FEATURES 6 Baitali Group Building Together 12 Diageo Guinness Cameroun Raising A Glass 20 Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society A Cooperative Approach 26 Wellocks A Taste Of Perfection 35 Coca-Cola® EKOCENTER Empowering Communities 42 Kendal Nutricare Feeding The Future 50 Red Crest Farms ANCA Foods Taste The Difference


Kendal Nutricare

4 | Endeavour Magazine


58 66 74 81 87 93


Hissho Sushi Certain Victory! Mario’s Pizzeria World-Class Pizza With A Trinidadian Twist Pepsi Jamaica Bottling Company Ltd Bringing The Pepsi Taste To The Island Pizza Boys The Taste Of Italy Shoon Fatt 50 Years Of Quality Banana Investments A Banana Beer Pioneer


Hissho Sushi Endeavour Magazine | 5


BUILDING TOGETHER Construction and agriculture – these industries evoke opposing images of urban and country development, hard to imagine working in harmony, and yet these are the two pillars of Suriname’s Baitali Group. In reality, both industries are cornerstones of civilisation, and one cannot exist without the other. For the Baitali Group, this is especially true: we spoke with Farsi Khudabux, company CEO, to talk about the two faces of the company, and what it is that pulls the Baitali Group together. WRITTEN BY ALICE INSTONE-BREWER


The Baitali Group run a regional operation, working in

Suriname and its neighbouring Guyana as well as throughout the Caribbean. Like any group, it is the umbrella for a range of companies, some of which were founded almost 40 years ago whilst others have only stood for four. This range of experience and services is the product of a long and evolving tale, including venture in construction, manufacture, agriculture and even mining. With these many strings to their bow, Baitali Group are a jack of many trades – but that hasn’t stopped them mastering some, too.


reaking the Group down, the umbrella covers the following companies: General contractors Aannemingsmaatschappij Baitali (AMB), manufacturers Baitali Pavement Products (BPP),

testing company Baitali Pavement Testing & Technologies (BPTT), Batali Mining and the agricultural Machinale Landbouw Nanni (MLN). Their customers range from rice exporters to government bodies, their contracting work covering everyone from local groups to multi nationals. Their collection of services first began to take form in 1960, with the construction company Surinaamse Constructie Maatschappij N.V. (SCM). SCM stood as the sole

Proud to support Baitali Group

company in the Baitali Group for 20 years, until AMB succeeded it in 1980. The second company would serve as a replacement to the first, rebranding the efforts and experience of the last two decades into a new and smoother machine. AMB’s core operations revolved, and still revolve, around infrastructure, performing engineering, construction and project management on major projects within road construction, dewatering, dike construction and irrigation works. It is a field

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8 | Endeavour Magazine

that comes laden with wide-spread implications for Suriname, and that’s a responsibility that AMB take seriously. In their own words; “Purposeful, smart and sustainably designed infrastructure is key to well-being, economic growth and prosperity.” AMB have delivered some of the largest and most complex civil infrastructure projects in Suriname, ranging from major irrigation projects to work on heavy duty pavements for the country’s ports and harbours. Not stopping at construction, AMB are also involved

in the design and operation of the infrastructure they help to create, including services in traffic planning, utility relocation and sustainable infrastructure design: “AMB combines smart planning, resilient design, technical know-how and an integrated approach to make visions become a reality. We have helped customers bring ambitious concepts to life, like large-scale urban development projects.” AMB’s extensive works represented the entirety of Baitali’s activities for six years, but as is often the pattern after six years of success, it became time diversify. Mr Baitali did so in a drastic direction, not complimenting his contractors with a manufacturer or expanded construction services, but instead branching into agriculture. To forgive the pun, the founder didn’t want to put all of his eggs in one basket – however, the agricultural company’s main output was in fact rice. MLN took on rice production head-on, launching into this new field by tackling every aspect of the industry, all the way from sowing through to processing and sale. Today, the company’s annual production is approximately 5000 tons, most of which is exported to Europe, whilst the remainder is sold on the local market. This two-pronged company continued in its approach, growing

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Tel. (597) 478272/ (597) 8868834 Fax: (597) 478273 Endeavour Magazine | 9

BAITALI GROUP in expertise and experience, until 2012, when the diversification

able to support, monitor and cover its own operations essentially

bug struck again. This time, three new companies were founded

head to toe – a position that results in consistency, reliability, and

in the space of two years, more than doubling the number of

significant savings along the way.

companies under the umbrella in a sudden burst of activity:

At the cusp of this game-changing expansion for the Group,

Baitali Pavement Testing & Technologies, Baitali Mining and Baitali

Farsi Khudabux took over the role of CEO. He has held the position

Pavement Products were all founded consecutively. These three

for the past five years, part of a total 12 with the Group. As an

companies worked in co-operation to streamline a new range of

overseer of this change, we asked Farsi what he felt Baitali’s key

operations that all built upon AMB’s origins: road laying, asphalt

to success has been. For him, it is always the people. “I started in

and concrete.

2005 as a Junior Engineer and worked my way through different

Founding three new companies hot on each other’s tails is a

positions and departments to the position that I have now. I think

costly and ambitious move, but in doing so, Baitali set themselves up

this is a good example of how the company facilitates personal

with a smooth, well-integrated series of operations. BPP specialise


in asphalt, soil cement and subbase production, whilst Baitali

An inevitable part of any expansion, and particularly the

Mining produce aggregates perfect for this process. Their mines,

founding of new companies, is a growing body of staff. Farsi sees

currently operational in Apoera and Upper Corentyne (Kabalebo),

the protection of these assets as top priority, and what enables

also produce different sizes of dike stones that are essential for

Baitali to achieve the range of quality services they offer: “We

the Baitali Group’s infrastructure works, with enough left over

employ 400 people and we consider each one of them as the most

for profitable trade with the Apoera and Wakay port. Meanwhile,

important asset of our company. Our vision is to give employees all

BPTT is a certified research laboratory, providing geotechnical

the possibilities and opportunities (especially training) to develop

engineering and testing on all types of materials needed for road

themselves in a professional way. Ultimately, they shape the

construction. Between these triplets and AMB, the Baitali Group is


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Despite this dedicated workforce and a wide and well-

goal, with so many of its branches supporting each other, whilst still

connected series of operations, Baitali’s market has thrown the

operating in their own rights. However, they aren’t stopping there

company several challenges. Farsi explained:

– with local funds an issue, the Group’s companies are starting to

“The industry Baitali Group operates in is currently experiencing

look abroad: “Baitali Group is attempting to spread its wings beyond

difficulties due to the economic recession in Suriname. Due to price

Suriname. We are aware that at some point, the small society and

drops of the country’s leading commodities (gold and oil), there has

scale of Suriname might become an obstacle in the expansion that

been a drastic cut in government earnings. Since the Government

we aspire towards.”

and government related institutions have been the prime market

Yet despite local strains, Baitali’s success in Suriname is far

of Baitali Group, this development also had its influence on our

from over. Quite the contrary – they have a slate of plans at home


as well as for abroad, including designing, building & financing a

When keeping afloat in difficult waters, attention can end up

project for reconstructing the East-West connection road into

turned on the competition. However, Farsi is more concerned in

Suriname, launching their own rice brand, and investing in ocean-

seeing Baitali being the very best that it can be, rather than focusing

going vessels for the export of their aggregates. Most notably, they

on undercutting its rivals. “As a large-scale company, we certainly

have recently won a contract for rehabilitating one of Suriname’s

face competition in Suriname, but our approach to competition is

busiest shopping streets. Suriname has been the home of Baitali’s

positive. In our industry, and certainly in an economy as small as

success since the 1960s, and the Group are far from flying the

Suriname’s, we don’t consider competitors as rivals. We believe

nest – more, their home is a country they will continue to benefit

that competition is a positive impulse to raise your bar. We just try

and improve through their infrastructural expertise, and from that

to do everything with an extra touch of our core values and always

foundation, can reach out to the wider world and see just how far

try to be one step ahead.”

their ambition takes them.

The Group has already positioned itself well to achieve this

BAITALI GROUP OF COMPANIES Duisburglaan 29 Paramaribo, Suriname

Tel: +597 530-654 Email: Website:


RAISING A GLASS For a company that’s only 20 years old, Diageo has a long and rich history behind it. Representing brands whose founders date back to the 1700s-1800s, they understand the importance of legacy – both honouring the ones that have been left to them, and bearing in mind the one they will leave. WRITTEN BY ALICE INSTONE-BREWER


As a Group, they are building more than just profits and

sustainable business: for their clients, they are creating a culture and experience, and for their employees and the areas they impact, empowered futures. We spoke with Kimani Kirore Mwaura, Managing Director of Guinness Cameroun S.A, a subsidiary that goes above and beyond even the Group’s expectations to protect and give back to their country with every aspect of their business.


uinness Cameroun SA (GCSA) has its origins on Africa’s shores,

Integrity Commitment Team Spirit

when at the start of the last century, merchant ships from the UK and Ireland would bring Guinness with them as they

crossed the sea. “Cameroonian consumers immediately fell in love with the ‘black stuff’”, Kimani tells us with a grin. The dark beverage

The re


ce pri




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became an instant hit, and the demand for supply remained until 1967, when GCSA was finally founded. In this year, the first deposit opened in Limbe, and in 1969 a brewery was built in Bassa, Douala. One year later, the first bottle of Guinness® was brewed. With the demand already in place, the brewery had a solid foundation from the get-go, and Cameroon is now Guinness’ fifth largest market in the world, with 35 distributors and partners covering the

www .mult


national territory. Part of GCSA’s strength, on top of the strong demand, is the solid network they operate within as a part of the Diageo family: whilst GCSA operates locally, the Group has a global footprint, with a presence in 180 countries. Every year, Diageo produces more than 6.5 billion litres of their brands, from more than 100 manufacturing sites in 30 countries, and their products selling in 180. All of this is achieved by over 33,000 employees worldwide. When Diageo formed in 1997, Guinness were one of the first brands to join it as

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14 | Endeavour Magazine

a subsidiary. Today, the Group is a world leader in premier drinks, representing not only beers but also some of the top names in wines and spirits. Under their umbrella, they represent 29 of the top 100 most popular spirits in the world, including names like Smirnoff®, Johnnie Walker®, Baileys®, Gordon’s®, Tanqueray®...


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each brand was founded decades or centuries ago by an innovative

provide the best-quality products at affordable prices, and through

entrepreneur, and it is that history that informs and inspires

a strong ethical policy.

Diageo’s emphasis on integrity today. In their own words, they are a

“To support our ambition in Cameroon, Diageo has recently

“business built on the principles and foundations laid by the giants

granted us an important investment to carry out a capacity

of our industry.”

expansion,” explains Kimani, “Which will increase our beer

Looking at that line-up, many if not most of us will see at least

production in the coming year.” Part of this expansion is an

one name that evokes synesthetic memories of a good drinks

innovation known as the CUBE. “We just invested £3 million in the

on great nights; the music we hear and the faces we remember

first ever portable spirits packaging and bottling line in Cameroon

may vary, but the feelings are similar - they are deeply rooted in

and the sub-region.” The ultra-modern packaging line, which is

many of us, our relationship with certain beverages and the parts

christened the CUBE, blends and bottles GCSA’s mainstream spirits

they play in our social lives summed up in a brand. Like any truly

– “Brands with strong heritage, high quality liquid and distinctive

successful marketer of lifestyle products, Diageo knows that it is

packaging.” The CUBE’s efficiency will allow Guinness Cameroun

this emotive response they are selling as much as their beverages;

to produce their brands at a lower cost and a higher capacity,

it is an experience, and one that, because of their entrepreneurial

enabling them to satisfy a growing market. “The CUBE will provide

‘ancestors’, they are dedicated to promoting responsibly. Kimani

our consumers with a variety of mainstream spirits, meeting the

shares this sentiment, knowing that GCSA’s customers are part

needs of a growing middle class with first-class quality brands.”

of a much larger story; “People celebrate with our brands, and by

“In July 2009, we started the distribution of spirits brands and

doing so become a link in a chain that connects rivers and fields,

became a Total Beverage Alcohol company with the responsibility

distilleries and breweries, transport networks, the hospitality

of 22 markets in Central and Western Africa,” Kimani tells us with

industry, and the people who work and live around us.”

pride. Today, Guinness Cameroun go beyond the “dark stuff” to

This focus on community is key for Kimani and Guinness

produce and/or distribute many brands; as well as Guinness®,

Cameroun. GCSA is working tirelessly to be a significant part of

Guinness Smooth®, the non-alcoholic Malta Guinness® and

Diageo’s legacy and ongoing narrative, as well as creating their own;

Harp® Premium lager, they also cover ‘Ready to Drink’ mixers

“We strive to become the most trusted and respected consumer

Smirnoff Ice Red®, Smirnoff Ice Double Black®, Smirnoff Ice

products company in Cameroon.” They are pursuing this goal in

Electric Ginseng® and Orijin®, as well as multiple spirits such as

two ways – through expansion, to give them the ability to readily

Johnnie Walker®, Baileys®, Smirnoff® Red vodka, Smirnoff®,

DIAGEO GUINNESS CAMEROUN Gordon’s®, VAT 69®, Dimple®, White horse®, Cîroc®, Gilbey’s®

take is that any good business leader earns the followership of

and a lot more. “The depth and breadth of our portfolio is second to

his fellow employees by demonstrating clarity and being a fixed

none. Our strength lies in our scale, and our desire to continuously

reference point for vision. As a leader, I need to model trust and

improve our performance. “

respect, ignite pride and belief in what we do, raise aspirations and

As well as increasing the production of these current brands,

celebrate success.”

Guinness Cameroun is using the CUBE to take on a new name;

Guinness Cameroun employs over 400 talented members of

“After the launch of Orijin Bitters® a few months ago, we have

staff. “Our success as a business depends on the success of our

proudly launched Black & White®, the first ever Scotch Whisky

people.” Despite stereotypical notions that beer is a ‘man’s’ drink,

bottled by Diageo in Africa. Although we have imported and sold

the company actively encourages women to apply for roles within

the brand since 1970, we seized the opportunity to finish and

their company. GCSA’s goal is to reach 50% female employees,

bottle the Scotch whisky ourselves.”

which they are striving for not through ‘minority hires’, but through

Kimani took over the role of Managing Director at Guinness

inviting women to participate in their honest meritocracy. As

Cameroun in April 2016. He had previously worked for another

well as promoting women, the company hopes to promote young

Diageo subsidiary in Kenya, East African Breweries Limited, so

people and support them as they begin their career journeys.

when it comes to approaching leadership at GCSA, he knows how

They are working towards this through internships and training

to encourage his people the Diageo way. “The constraints of a

programmes, particularly aimed at generation Y, who the company

fast-moving consumer goods organization are such that you need

believes represent the future of the company, if they can gain a

to find the right balance between openness, empathy, rigor and

foothold on the industrial ladder. “We provide support so that

direction. It all refers to Diageo Leadership standards, which are:

all our employees can be responsible for their own growth, and

winning through execution, shaping the future, inspiring through

we ensure that everyone receives continuous and constructive

purpose and investing in talent. Having said that, my personal

feedback.” When hiring, the company is open to applicants whether

16 | Endeavour Magazine

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d in August 2002, CAPITAL RH is an Employment Company specialized in Recruitment, Placement anagement of Temporary Workers, Training etc. Our Headquarters is in Douala, Cameroon. To build a Created in August 2002, CAPITAL RH is an Employment Company specialized in Recruitment, Placement ssing business and play a significant role in the success of our client DIAGEO GUINNESS CAMEROON, ve always made sure to: and Management of Temporary Workers, Training etc. Our Headquarters is in Douala, Cameroon. To build a

Created in August 2002, CAPITAL RH is an Employment progressing business and play a significant role in the success of our client DIAGEO GUINNESS CAMEROON, Company specialized inand Recruitment, Placement and in accordance with the highest standards of personal professional integrity. we have always made sure to: Temporary Workers, Training etc. To of duct our business Management activities with integrityof and ethics and within the framework of business policies clients. meet1.the of ourwith clients in relation withof long-term Actneeds in accordance the highest standards personal and professional integrity. pect and continue to comply with the DIAGEO Code of Business Conduct. workers, CAPITAL SERVICES, an incorporation CAPITAL 2. Conduct our business activities with integrity andof ethics and within the framework of business policies of e for the needs in manpower ofcreated our client, we a rigorous recruitment process as to clients. RH, wasour in keep 2008. Our Headquarters is to inworkers Douala, either for temporary jobs (12 months maxi) under CAPITAL RH or for with long term jobs under CAPITAL 3. POLICY Respect and continue to acomply the DIAGEO Code of Business Conduct. OUR TOWARDS DIAGEO GUINNESS CAMEROON Cameroon. For us to build progressing business and CES, the incorporation of CAPITAL RH. Created in August 2002, CAPITAL RH is an Employment Company specialized in Recruitment, Placement play a significant role in the success of our client DIAGEO To care for the needs in manpower ofthe ourtargets, client,aswe keep a rigorous recruitment process as to workers to gh various ways, these workers are equipped and encouraged to reach well as highly and Management of Temporary Workers, Training etc. Our Headquarters is in Douala, Cameroon. To build a GUINNESS CAMEROON, our policy has always been : place, either for temporary jobs (12 months maxi) under CAPITAL RH or for long term jobs under CAPITAL

ted to give their best. Our transparency in and our dealings with clients, workers job seekers progressing business play a signifi cant role in theand success of ourhas client DIAGEO GUINNESS CAMEROON, publicized our fame in matters of ethics and integrity.of CAPITAL RH. SERVICES, the business incorporation

“To always conduct oursure business activities with the highest we have made to:

standards of integrity and ethics and within the ess: P.O Box 24199 DOUALA - CAMEROON Through various ways, these workers are equipped and encouraged to reach the targets, as well as highly 1. Act in accordance with the highest standards personal and professional integrity. framework of business policies of ourofclients.� 237) 233 43 87 11/ 699 45 86 08 | Email: motivated to give their best. Our transparency in our dealings with clients, workers and job seekers has 2. Conduct our business activities with integrity and ethics and within the framework of business policies of widely our fame in matters of ethics and business integrity. Inour order topublicized care for the needs in manpower of our clients. 3. Respect and continue to comply with the DIAGEO Code of Business client, we keep a rigorous recruitment process for both Conduct.

Address: P.O Box 24199 DOUALA - CAMEROON temporary and long-term workers. Through various ways,

233 43 87 11/ 699 45 client, 86 08 we | Email: To careTel: for (+237) the needs manpower of our keep recruitment process as to workers to these workers areinequipped and encouraged to rigorous reach the place, either for temporary jobs (12 months maxi) under CAPITAL RH or for long term jobs under CAPITAL targets, as well as highly motivated to give their best. SERVICES, the incorporation of CAPITAL RH.

Our transparency in our dealings with clients, workers

Through various ways, these workers are equipped and encouraged to reach the targets, as well as highly and job seekers has widely publicized our fame in matters motivated to give their best. Our transparency in our dealings with clients, workers and job seekers has of ethics and business integrity. widely publicized our fame in matters of ethics and business integrity.

Address: P.O Box 24199 DOUALA - CAMEROON Tel: (+237) 233 43 87 11/ 699 45 86 08 | Email:

Endeavour Magazine | 17

DIAGEO GUINNESS CAMEROUN they speak English or French, to further empower the Cameroonian

Cameroonians. On top of this, the company recognises its

people and make the most of the local talent at their fingertips.

responsibility to address not just the impact of its manufacturing,

“We’re here to co-create a future and a culture that is known for

but the social impact of its products. This not only includes work

the consistency of its performance, just as much as it is known for

to promote the importance of sober driving, responsible retailing

its brands - its focus on people and its purpose.”

and alcohol awareness in young people, but also extends to

As well as protecting and empowering the future of their employees and communities, Guinness Cameroun are committed to

the company’s efforts to reduce the production and selling of illicit products.

Diageo’s drive for environmental sustainability; “Our Sustainability

It is always satisfying to witness ethical practises being

& Responsibility (S&R) Strategy encompasses the actions Diageo

rewarded with success. The Cameroonian beer market is entering

takes every day to support every link in this chain, in every country

a segmentation stage, with aggressive competition between

it operates in. We call this celebrating life, today and tomorrow.”


This S&R Strategy focuses on three key areas: Alcohol in Society,

Cameroun SA is well positioned to stay on top, not only through

Community Empowerment, and Water & the Environment. Their

its guarantee of a top-quality product, but through this ethical

water programme follows the Diageo Water Blueprint, which aims

involvement with its employees and communities. “We work hard

to prevent the depletion of natural resources, limit contribution to

to make the most of life, to be the best we can be at work, at home,

climate change and avoid the damaging of any species, habitats

with friends, in the community and for the community. Our values

or biodiversity - ambitious and commendable goals! However,

are not just words on a page - they underpin our business and guide

the company doesn’t stop here – as well as limiting their negative

how we work.” We’ll drink to that!





impact, they work to create a positive one by facilitating access to water, hygiene and sanitation for underprivileged communities. Since 2006, the programme has changed the lives of over 900,000

The goal of Africa’s industrialization as advocated by major international development organizations, such as the African Development Bank and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is to meet the pressing and increasing needs of the people. This of course contributes to reaching some of the goals of the new sustainable development agenda of the United Nation.

At FOBS, we have been working on this over the past 10 years with growing success by providing the local food, mining, oil and chemical industry with innovative solutions (products and services). We empower them with our continuous support of expertise as enshrined in our after-sale customer service policy FOBS LTD

Z.I. Magza Bassa, P.O. Box 5913 Donala - Cameroon Tel: +237 695 19 21 11, Mail:

Web: 18 | Endeavour Magazine



A COOPERATIVE APPROACH The Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society is a cherished part of the Essex commercial landscape, but don’t be fooled by wellstocked shelves, great prices and professional staff, as there is far more setting the society shops apart from competitors. Endeavor Magazine spoke with Barry Wood, CEO of the Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society, to find out more about his passion for the company he represents and what makes it so special. WRITTEN BY AMY BUXTON


Let’s go back in time to 1867, when Chelmsford initiated

its first Co-operative society. That’s where our story begins, with pioneering people looking for a more inclusive, fair and respectful way to interact and trade and these ethics and interests have been preserved throughout the centuries. That’s right; we aren’t simply talking about decades here, but centuries of amazing heritage.


raintree had a society as well, back in the day, but transferred

continues to meet the needs of its members and continues to

its engagements to Chelmsford in the 1960s, allowing for a

seek new challenges to increase and strengthen its trading and its

natural expansion that now includes convenience food stores,

membership bases.”

travel agencies, department stores, funeral directorships and even property rentals. The Society says that;

Let’s talk about Barry Wood for a moment. Here is a man and a retail professional that has no interest in switching allegiances and

“The aim then was to supply goods to the general public via a

has enjoyed climbing to the top over the past 30 years, so what

membership scheme which cost £1 to join – a large sum in those

is it that keeps him at the Chelmsford Star Co-operative? For one

days and yet today it still only costs £1 to join most retail societies,

thing, he has always seen a future with the company, thanks to

including ours. Members were also entitled to receive a proportion

a nurturing and inclusive sense of community and he enjoys the

of the profit from their purchases, which was returned to them in

sense of stewardship that comes with his role;

the form of a dividend, and this is still the case.”

“As a company, we remain focused on our members are

When Barry Wood started with the company, 30 years ago as

thinking, rather than simply chasing short-term gain. We are

a Saturday-boy, there were more societies in existence, but over

focused on protecting the legacy and ethics of cooperatives for

the years, many smaller ones have found themselves struggling to

future generations, so there is a really underlying sense of longevity

continue, which has led to them being absorbed, but there is one

in any role here. Governance is increasingly important in today’s

thing to remember; all shops remain independent. This means that

society and those of us here are aware of working for an ethical

community involvement can remain the guiding influence, without

entity and wanting to do so for a long time.”

national or overarching principles getting in the way. The mission

Speaking of the community that Co-operative workers enjoy,

statement of the Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society really does

which is tantamount to a family; let’s have a look at the way that

speak volumes about just how important an intrinsic connection to

the Society seeks to give back to shareholders, staff and local

local people is;


“Our mission is to work together, giving life and meaning to

Any retail outlet measures its success in terms of balanced books,

the Co-operative difference by trading ethically in order to share

but this is no ordinary operation. Here, success is also measured in

our success and serve, support and sustain local communities.

terms of how local producers are supported, how many dividends

With stores located throughout Chelmsford, Braintree and the

can be given back to members and how much revenue remains

surrounding areas including south and mid-Essex, the Society

within the community. Using local suppliers, wherever possible,

22 | Endeavour Magazine

CHELMSFORD STAR CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY has led to the Chelmsford Star Co-operative estimating that 33p

£2.50 out of our profits for every £5 earnt. Barrow Farm Riding

of every £1 spent stays within the locality and profit payouts are

for the Disabled has earned the most so far and we have been

exceptionally special as well.

exceptionally proud to support them.”

Consumers have become a little jaded in recent years and

With an open and honest approach to profit sharing in place,

unsurprised when large organisations seek to pay top-bods

it should come as no surprise that working for the Chelmsford

exorbitant bonuses, but the Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society

Star Co-operative is something of a pleasure. Currently 900 team

looks to maintain a legacy, by offering modest bonuses, regular

members-strong, the staffing body is impressive and constantly

Member dividends and benefits to members. In this sense, Barry

supported to be the best that it can be. With those showing signs

sees himself as something of a custodian, ensuring that Chelmsford

of talent being encouraged to ‘hit the ground running’ and plenty of

Star’s good name is protected and the community benefits continue;

career opportunities springing up, thanks to recent expansion plans,

“There are a number of things we do for charity. Firstly, we

Barry encourages people to see a job with the Chelmsford Star Co-

nominate a ‘charity of the year’ which is chosen by our employees

operative as a potentially lifelong career. When you consider that a

and run events in order to support it. We look for a local, deserving

large percentage of the current workforce is made up of students,

cause and encourage the public to get involved, by displaying

this really could be a viable option for those seeking a rewarding

collection buckets and promoting fundraising events. Secondly, we

and exciting opportunity.

have our Community Card scheme. Since 1999, the Community

Looking to the future, Barry is excited, and with good reason. The

Card scheme has been in operation, whereby genuine local charities

Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society is seeking opportunities to

and community groups can apply to join and on acceptance, are

expand into London, by snapping up shops as soon as they become

given a number of cards to give their supporters. When a supporter

available, thanks to enviable relationships with local agents. Don’t

swipes their card, they earn points and these are converted into

go thinking that an indelicate approach is being taken though, as

money. We give £5 for every 1000 points earned we add a further

that simply wouldn’t be on-brand. Instead, independent shops

“We are proud to be associated with Chelmsford Star in supplying both the food & non food retail stores” 6-8A, Takeley Business Centre, Dunmow Rd, Takeley, Bishop’s Stortford CM22 6SJ, UK • 01279 870333 24 | Endeavour Magazine

that are at risk of closure due to retirement, or other reasons, are being taken over with a sensitivity and tact that is far beyond most commercial groups and, where possible, existing staff members are retained; “The way we look at it is that there are Co-ops nationwide, but we know our local area better than any large corporation can, so we can really benefit communities with our specialist knowledge. We know what people need and where and because of this, we want to give back, in a viable and appropriate way. Of course, we need to be commercially successful, but not for gravitas, but to be able to deliver on our ethics and promises. We need profit in order to be able to use it responsibly and in a way that is special and unique to Co-op; for the benefit of the people that helped us garner it.� With new stores being taken on, existing premises enjoying serious renovations and an innovative end-to-end point of sale system in place, the Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society looks set to stride into the future with assured aplomb. After all, it has been in place for 150 years already and by staying true to the founding principles of returning money to shareholders and communities alike, we see no reason why it won’t be enjoying extensive success


integrated marketing services to both public and private sector clients across the UK. We are proud to support Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society and serve our local communities together. May your star shine brightly for another 150 years.

in another 150.

Endeavour Magazine | 25


A TASTE OF PERFECTION In the British food world, the Wellocks name is synonymous with freshness, reliability and quality. We spoke with company CEO, James Wellock, about his experience growing up with the company in its early years, and how it has boomed into an unrecognisable success under his management. WRITTEN BY ALICE INSTONE-BREWER


James Wellock’s first taste of the food industry was working for his father in Lancashire. Richard Wellock had built his living supplying potatoes to local fish and chip shops, having sold up his stall in Skipton Market to focus on this more profitable side of the vegetable trade. As the company grew, he invested in three wagons and began supplying to local green grocers around the area.


ames grew up helping his father as-and-when, and after

with 15 employees. Under James’ management and leadership, the

college, his joined the business full-time. Traveling to

company has now exploded into a national network, delivering to

Manchester at midnight, bartering for produce at the city

every corner of the country, and those 15 employees have grown

marketplace, he thought to himself, there had to be a different way

into 470. Wellocks travel over 110 routes, delivering straight to the

of doing things. “The salesmen felt like they wanted to rip me off,”

door, whether that door is at the foot of Cornwall or the height of

James, now the company CEO, recalls. “That was when we started

Scotland. In total, Richard Wellocks’ three wagons are now a fleet

buying from local farms.”

of 120 vehicles, delivering daily to 1,500 kitchens.

This move would be a more dramatic change for the company

Wellocks’ customer base are now restaurants and hotel kitchens

than James or his father realised; cutting out the middle man

– a marked step up from their original clients, and a customer-base

allowed Wellocks to access fresher, higher-quality produce at a

that demands reliability, range and quality. They broke into this

time when supermarkets were beginning to sweep through the

market when James saw the supermarket threat growing; “One

greengrocer trade. The availability of supermarket products would

of the things we identified in the ‘90s was that the greengrocer

leave competitors needing an edge – and Wellocks would have that

side of things was dying out. Almost over-night, one of the good


greengrocers we knew started selling pre-prepared vegetables to

“It was a big win for us. We were saving money in various ways.

compete. I got together with my dad and we said, ‘We need to buy

You’re cutting out the middle man, so you cut out their wage, as it

this business,’ so we did. One of the partners is still with us.” These

were, but more importantly, we were getting a consistently better-

prepared vegetables, along with the freshness and consistent

quality product. It was a different selling point, without question.

quality of Wellocks’ good, made the company a double-threat and

When I started delivering to green grocers in Yorkshire, they’ve

allowed them to appeal to the chef market. The Northern company

historically always bought out of their local markets. We could top

later ventured their services south when one of their customers, a

this by delivering fresher products straight to their door.” Amazingly,

Michelin-star chef, relocated, and their reach grew from there.

in a time where independent businesses were falling victim to large

“I had a vision of wanting to be the best. Originally it was to be

wholesale companies, this small family business was able to stand

the best in the North, and quickly that changed to being the best

up and stand out; “We took the wholesale market on and won.”

in the UK.” In striving for this vision, James knew that customer

When James’ father retired, he inherited the business, then 28 | Endeavour Magazine

experience was key. “We give the customer the service, no matter

6 years ago Soledad flew over to introduce herself and her extra virgin oil to me and Jonny. We were gobsmacked how good it was! From this point we formed a partnership and have never deviated away form championing her oil. You could say that Special Branch was born in this partnership as we talked about how could you improve upon perfection, since our first meeting they have put their heart and soul into breaking the boundaries on extra virgin olive oil production” For more than 200 years, Finca Duernas has been growing the very best olives to offer a truly unique extra virgin olive oil.



Endeavour Magazine | 29

WELLOCKS what. We’ve bent over backwards for customers, and that aspect of

for any department to make a mistake”, James laughs. This includes

the business has never changed.”

their own online order system which, as of this year, shows chefs a

“We’re essentially a massive logistics company – one that

live update of their stock availability, giving customers the ability to

needs to take orders from around the country and deliver in a

select their own alternatives and plan their spending accordingly.

timely manner, predominantly around the breakfast period the next

“It’s in clear black and white - they’ve got absolute clarity, and so

morning.” This fast turnover, and the high demand for accuracy that

have we. There’s no answer phone message with a chef clattering

comes from high-quality kitchens, meant that in order to succeed,

pots and pans in the background, or a thick Highlands accent no

Wellocks’ logistics needed complete efficiency; “People ask us,

one can understand! There’s no grey areas, which means we’ve got

‘What is local? How do you define local?’ For us, it’s the 24-hour

no excuses.” The company has also developed a picking system that

turn-around from growing it in the fields to delivering it in the

marries with the online orders, selecting every product by barcode

kitchens the next morning. The crux is to make sure that there’s

and assigning these to barcoded trays, which are in turn assigned

only three people in the supplier chain: the producer, us and the

to a customer. The system reduces the possibility for human error –


essential in a vast operation with Wellocks’ fast turnover.

So how does the company efficiently manage a fleet of their

This attention to detail and stress on perfection is present at

size? Everything is monitored and run from an in-house system,

every level of Wellocks’ operations. “We look at every part of the

developed and maintained by their team of IT staff. “We have

operation, and how we can make that part the best it can be.” This

software that can track every vehicle every minute of the day. Each

attitude extends right down to the appearance of their fleet: “We

vehicle has fully surrounding camera systems - in the cab, out the

don’t call them drivers, we call them Delivery Reps. They have

front, down the sides, on the back - so we know what the vehicle is

to wear a shirt and tie, and polished boots. The vehicles are all

doing, where it is and if it is being treated properly.”

polished too, every week, and they’re washed and sanitised every

“We’ve been trying to develop a system that makes it impossible

30 | Endeavour Magazine

day.” Wellocks even service their own fleet, to monitor the quality

of the repairs and get the vehicles back on the road as quickly as possible. “I think of delivery like a can of coke – you walk up to a drinks machine, put your coin in, a can drops down and you walk away happy. We’re trying to deliver that experience for 6,000 products.” Whilst every aspect of the business is important to James, he knows what it is all about – the food. The company is constantly adding to their wide range of products by broadening their already extensive supplier chain, but more than this, working closely with certain producers to create unique, stand-out products. “We’re very proud of them all, but there’s certain products that are special to us. We wondered how to get this across to a prospective customer, and so we developed Special Branch.” Special Branch is a list of around 100 products that Wellocks have developed in collaboration with their manufacturers. “For example, we worked really closely with a supplier who told us that she wanted to create the world’s best olive oil, and we backed her. Over a six-year period, she’s put some ground-breaking new procedures in place, and her product’s actually been named the best organic olive oil in the world.” Thanks to their involvement, Wellocks now

The company was established in the early 1960’s. Since then, the familyrun business has been a motor for the production of apples and pears in the Loire Valley (France). All our growers share the same targets of sustainable production, high quality standards and customer service. The fruits are grown in France and the company is capable to supply a wide range of products along the year. More than 20 varieties of apple and pears are grown, packed and sold by the company, including the Antarès® apple and the Sweet Sensation® pear.

have exclusivity for this top-tier olive oil in the UK. “We’re always

20 varieties of apples and pears

Expertise over the year

Comitted to sustainable development

France... France - Tél + 33 (0)2 41 29 22 22 - Endeavour Magazine | 31

WELLOCKS developing more products like this – they improve our product range and set us apart.”

confident when ordering the product.” From local fish and chips shops in Lancashire, Wellocks’

Despite developing their reputation through local foods, as

customer list has become a who’s who of the UK’s culinary circles.

Wellocks have expanded, so has their reach. Their supplier network

“We supply the vast majority of Michelin star kitchens in the UK,

now includes companies from most of Europe, South America and

5-star hotels, country gastro hotels and pubs – even races courses

America, as well as Thailand and Kenya. Even in their over-seas

and premier league football clubs, including Man United. Basically,

ingredients, Wellocks emphasise the importance of freshness;

if you went anywhere in the country, we could recommend the best

“We’re the only UK company that air-freight limes in from Mexico

places to eat.”

every week. They leave Mexico on Saturday and we pick them up

Wellocks’ expansion as a company has been extraordinary,

at Heathrow on Monday.” Instead of a lime several weeks old by the

growing not only in size but in the products, services and sheer

time it reaches a chef’s kitchen, they can rely on Wellocks’ reaching

quality they offer. It has taken financial gambles, an entrepreneurial

them in a matter of days. “You can imagine the difference in the

mind and consistent hard work, but the CEO’s work ethic and

zest and flavour. There’s a uniqueness there that sets us apart.”

attention to detail has kept the company reaching for a high bar

Wellocks have even started to produce their own international

and delivering a reliably remarkable service. Speaking with James,

foods, which again stay as authentic as possible. For example, their

it sounds like he isn’t planning to rest any time soon: “We’ll

pasta range is made with all-Italian machinery and ingredients, right

continue to look for more special branch products, develop our

down to Italian eggs and flour. However, you can still enjoy their

delivery routes and look at expanding the customer base.” With

year-round seasonal ravioli ranges, which include British favourites

this determined work ethic, it seems Wellocks will only continue to

such as asparagus ravioli when the vegetable is in season. “We’re

grow from strength to strength. “Without a doubt, there’s still a lot

looking to give chefs better quality than what they could make in

more that we can do.”

the kitchen, as well as a consistency in quality that leaves them

32 | Endeavour Magazine

34 | Endeavour Magazine



For those of us fortunate enough to enjoy comfortable lives of plenty in the front seat, it can be easy to forget, when we’re taking a few minutes out between morning meetings, that billions of people are not so fortunate. Global poverty is an ongoing crisis which blights us all. That isn’t to say that great progress hasn’t been made over the past 20 years, during which 2 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty. However, finding a way to reach out to the near 800 million – around 12% of the world’s population – who remain destitute has seemed almost too big a task to be possible. That is, until now. Endeavour Magazine | 35


Endeavour Magazine was delighted to get the opportunity to speak

to global beverages giant Coca-Cola® about the innovative EKOCENTER social enterprise project they are spearheading; an ingenious scheme which has the potential to change the world and better the lives of millions of people.






ur accomplishments as a species are, for want of a better

charitable NGO’s alone. The missing link in finding a way of reaching

word, nothing short of spectacular.

out to isolated, impoverished communities, it would seem, was



Through incredible feats of engineering and scientific

the business community; an institution which, since its inclusion,

advances, man can now fly further and faster than ever before;

has increasingly used its renowned powers of innovation to offer

we’ve set foot on the moon and travelled to the deepest depths

solutions to the crisis, in the form of social enterprise partnerships

of the oceans by means that our parents and grandparents once

like the Coca-Cola® led EKOCENTER initiative.

deemed impossible. We’ve built thriving, prosperous cities in a world which seems to become ever smaller by the day, but arguably our greatest achievement of all is how, in recent decades, mankind has, through its tireless humanitarian efforts, managed to markedly improve the quality of life of billions of our planet’s fellow inhabitants. Since the world came together 16 years ago to pledge its commitment to reducing global poverty at the historic UN Millennium Summit, close to 2 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty. However, let us be under no illusions; in spite of the significant progress that’s been made in improving the lot of those at the bottom of the world’s financial pyramid, the number

EKOCENTER: A FLAGSHIP SOCIAL ENTERPRISE FOR DELIVERING SUSTAINABLE GROWTH, COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT Make no mistake about it; in a modern age where the public purse alone is no longer a sufficient source of funds for community investment, social enterprise offers a third-way option that will in years to come not merely reduce poverty, but act as the catalyst needed to foster thriving communities and create new markets. In the case of EKOCENTER, the premise behind it is simple: rather than simply give isolated, off-grid communities services like water, energy, and mobile connectivity through acts of pure philanthropy – a means of provision which is rarely sustainable in

of people who remain stubbornly left behind; who continue to live

the medium to long-term – instead, The Coca-Cola® Company

on less than $3 a day, and who live in communities that lack access

has worked in collaboration with its ‘golden triangle’ partners

to safe water, electricity, education, basic healthcare, and other

in the private sector, civil society, and government to create a

critical services, remains unacceptably high.

self-funding decentralized community hub that can deliver key

Moreover, reaching out to these communities, which are typically

services, which pay for its own operating and maintenance costs

located ‘off-grid’ in remote areas, or in regions suffering from acute

independently. Through doing this, EKOCENTER not only saves

water-stress, and any number of other fragile contexts, has long

lives and improves livelihoods, but acts as a trigger for sustainable

proved to be beyond the capabilities of national governments and

growth and empowerment.

36 | Endeavour Magazine




THANK YOU. With your partnership and support, we’ve helped thousands of people lead better lives. We look forward to the next phase of our journey as we continue to build momentum, together.


EKOCENTER is a trademark owned by the Coca-Cola Company. Coca-Cola is a registered trademark of The Coca-Cola Company. | @EKOCENTER


On this, Derk Hendriksen, Vice President of Business Integration

modular kiosk, an EKOCENTER unit looks somewhat similar to the

at The Coca-Cola® Company, told Endeavour: “we’re focusing on

many small Coca-Cola® branded shops that can be found dotted

developing countries, and the delivery of our sustainability strategy

on every other street corner in Africa and Latin America. However,

centred around the ‘3W’s’ – well-being, women empowerment, and

in terms of its offerings, that’s where the similarity ends.

water. We don’t do this on our own, of course. The key to our initial

An EKOCENTER unit, whilst a general store of sorts, is also a

success has been partnerships, not just with other private sector

facility that, depending on the needs of the community, can provide

partners but working jointly with civil society and Governments as

clean drinking water, electricity, medicine, first aid equipment, food,


wireless internet and mobile phone charging ports; the foundations

“Helping struggling communities fits in with the higher purpose

upon which a thriving, modern community is built. Also, in-line with

of all parties, and to achieve this all parties have to come together

the Coca-Cola®’s 5by20 women’s empowerment initiative, the

and collaborate. With our experience doing business in 200

EKOCENTER project generates business opportunities and streams

countries, and network of relationships and operations around

of income for local female entrepreneurs who are responsible for

the world, we have been in a good place to take a convening role.

the day-to-day operation of each EKOCENTER site.

When we work together, everybody wins, particularly the residents of communities.”

The solar panels which sit atop an EKOCENTER are the giveaway that there is much more to these unassuming steel boxes than meets the eye. Designed and built by one of CocaCola®’S key project partners, Germany-based Solarkiosk, the


equipped solar panels and battery storage system utilise abundant

In layman’s terms, one might consider EKOCENTER a wireless

sunshine to provide sufficient electrical output to power the unit’s

internet-connected, self-sustaining marketplace-cum-community-

technological marvels, and meet the basic energy requirements

hub-cum-utilities provider: a ‘downtown in a box.’ Built as a

needed to provide lighting to the surrounding area.

38 | Endeavour Magazine

The cherry on the EKOCENTER cake, however, is the potential to also equip the EKOCENTER with water-purification technology. The system currently in use in Vietnam and in places in Africa, was designed by another EKOCENTER partner, Pentair. Most importantly, the technologies that it utilises, which includes a submicron pre-filter, iron/manganese filtration, chlorine feed, carbon filtration, and reverse osmosis technology, means that it can purify up to 10,000 litres a day.

THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIPS The modular approach to setting up an EKOCENTER unit means that the wider range of utilities and services offered by each one will vary, depending on an assessment of each prospective EKOCENTER location, and the needs of the host community. If an EKOCENTER is to be set-up in an area that lacks mobile phone and 3G WiFi coverage, this is where another of the project’s partners, Ericsson, can step in; the telecoms giant has the capacity to work alongside mobile phone service providers, such as TIGO, in countries around the world to construct the mobile phone towers needed to deliver connectivity to isolated communities.

Endeavour Magazine | 39


Conversely, an EKOCENTER that is set to be installed in a community which already has adequate mobile phone and WiFi connectivity won’t offer this service. Similarly, this approach also applies to other additional EKOCENTER bolt-ons, such as a community centre, which are built in partnership with Government in places like Vietnam, or lighting for the surrounding area, which can be supplied and installed by electronics giant, Philips, most recently in Rwanda. These examples of the specialist role that each of EKOCENTER’s partners play is indicative of what can be achieved when private sector partners come together and combine their strength, in order to multiply their social and business impact.

EKOCENTER’S FLAGSHIP SITE IN RUHUNDA, RWANDA – A MODEL FOR WHAT THE INITIATIVE CAN ACHIEVE The recent June 2016 launch of the initiative’s flagship EKOCENTER site, in Rwanda’s eastern province of Ruhunda, perhaps best represents the culmination of what this project can achieve. Unlike other EKOCENTERs, the Ruhunda facility is unique, in that it offers every available utility, service, and amenity, ranging from advanced water purification systems to energy, mobile internet connectivity, a state-run cutting-edge health clinic, and Rwanda’s only floodlit football pitch outside of the capital, Kigali. All-in-all, this EKOCENTER unit empowers 25,000 community

EKOCENTER relies on such partnerships across the private

residents in the area, with the key word being ‘empower.’ The

and public sector to ensure the continued success of the initiative.

EKOCENTER scheme, whilst it might be an act of corporate-social

Granted, its brand is arguably the world’s most powerful, and its

responsibility on the part of Coca-Cola® and its partners, is no

far-reaching presence, global distribution networks, and financial

act of charity or hand-out. Rather, EKOCENTER, which operates

resources, virtually unrivalled, but alone, this ambitious scheme

in a shade of grey somewhere in between its for-profit business

simply wouldn’t have been possible; it is only through its golden

operations and its philanthropic endeavours, is a hand-up for its

triangle partnerships that Coca-Cola® has been able to oversee


the installation of an EKOCENTER network, stretching from Africa to South East Asia.

40 | Endeavour Magazine

Far from being a finished product upon which communities can rest on their laurels, the range of utilities and services offered by

EKOCENTER is intended help jump-start community growth and

change lives by offering access to safe drinking water and other

development. In Ruhunda, a region where youth unemployment is

needed resources, all while empowering local entrepreneurs. What

as high as 70%, it is anticipated that the provision of clean water,

started as an aspiration is now becoming a reality as we welcome

electricity and mobile internet coverage will provide the basic

our partners across the golden triangle of business, government

infrastructure needed to spur on the development of local businesses

and civil society to scale and improve this innovation.”

and help to inspire a generation of aspiring entrepreneurs to take a

With multi-nationals of the stature of Coca-Cola® and its

hands-on role in creating wealth for themselves, their communities,

private sector peers now committed to the global push for a better

and their country.

world, as they help to develop the societies in which they do business and create future markets for their goods and services, it is clear that far from being part of the problem, big business can


actually be part of the solution.

With the opening of the Ruhunda EKOCENTER site, CocaCola® and its partners have now successfully launched more than 100 units in seven countries, but this is only the beginning of their social enterprise campaign. By the end of 2016 alone, plans are in place to have at least 177 EKOCENTERs in operation in 10 countries, serving a population of approximately 1 million people. “EKOCENTER represents an investment in the future prosperity and progress of some of the most fragile and at-risk communities we serve,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The CocaCola® Company. “Through EKOCENTER we have the ability to

Endeavour Magazine | 41


FEEDING THE FUTURE At the point when a person becomes a parent, perceptions and priorities shift; suddenly, the wellbeing of a tiny life is the most important thing in the world, and nothing but the very best is good enough. Whilst breastfeeding is nature’s recommended sustenance for these little ones’ early months, many parents are either unable to, or have reasons to move or supplement breastmilk – but this doesn’t mean they expect anything less than top quality replacements. WRITTEN BY ALICE INSTONE-BREWER


Infant formulas aim to mimic and provide the nutrients

of breastmilk; as you can imagine, when it comes to what they are feeding their new-borns, parents want to know that they are getting a superior product.


endal Nutricare is Britain’s only manufacturer of infant milk

cream, these ingredients while vastly cheaper are not something

powder and infant cereals for retailers and pharmacies. It

that many parents would openly feed to their infants in large

describes itself as an “energetic, home-spun team competing

quantities. “To save money, they’ve taken out the cream of the

against multi-nationals”. The company is smaller than its leading

milk, which is processed into butter and is worth £6,000 a ton, and

rivals, but has a solid history of experience behind it and has

instead they’ve replaced it with oils like palm oil, costing £1000

come into the ring swinging. Kendal Nutricare’s factory has been

a ton.” McMahon claims that over-use of palm oil could cause

operational since 1962, and its current owner, Ross McMahon,

infants to suffer from issues such as constipation and eczema.

has been in the food industry for 30 years. However, the company

Palm oil, normally used for cooking or making soap, has been

itself is quite young in its current form; McMahon bought it from

said to be difficult to digest when it interacts with calcium, and

Heinz in June 2015 following a year of negotiations. We spoke with

Kendal Nutricare wishes to build on various researchers’ findings

McMahon about the changes he has made to Kendal Nutricare and

in this regard. Whilst they have several research papers underway,

the exciting releases on the horizon for his infant formula brand,

McMahon says he has already had feedback confirmation from his


clients. “We have so much public feedback about children feeling

From the start, McMahon was ambitious in his plans for the

better. Kendamil has the consistency and taste of real milk, whereas

company: “After 30 years in food manufacture, I had spent the

competitors’ products are lighter and waterier, because they are

previous five years before I purchased Kendal researching infant

made using skim milk with added oils between 25-30%. Kendamil’s

milks and cereals. My philosophy is to learn from our competitors,

thicker consistency is more filling and satisfying and parents report

and then go further in terms of quality and presentation.” He has

it leads to better sleep patterns

not held back on his philosophy – in many ways, Kendamil has taken

Palm oil, which many consumers choose to avoid both for

baby and infant formula back to the drawing board, turning away

health reasons and because of its negative environmental impact,

from cost-cutting methods and focusing on the most important

is used in baby and infant formulas across the big brands, from the

guide for their recipe; natural breast milk.

cheapest through to some of the most costly. “People attack us

“We are the only formula still retaining the full cream

and say, ‘You can’t feed milk to an infant’. Well of course, we aren’t

nutrients and fatty acids found in mammals’ milk,” explains

feeding straight whole milk to an infant: our product is fortified

McMahon. Meanwhile, rival brands use skimmed milk that is then

like everyone else’s, it follows the WHO codex alimentarius like

supplemented with oils in an attempt to restore its nutrient content.

everyone else’s, but we actually use milk fat instead of using palm

McMahon believes that this departure from nature could cut out

oil,” says McMahon. Kendamil products also avoid the use of fish

essential elements; “We would say that if a woman is generating

oil, following several news reports of adverse reactions to the

51% saturated fat in her breast milk to provide all the energy an

ingredient in other brands. Instead, they add Omega 3 to their

infant needs , plus lipids (fats) account for over 60% of brain matter

formula by going direct to the source; pure marine algae.

then the same should be present in our formula.“

Of course, Kendal Nutricare and its rivals are not making these

More dramatically, many mainstream brands substitute other

health choices alone. They work closely with expert suppliers to

ingredients such as palm oil or lactose in the place of full milk

secure the healthiest ingredients available. One such supplier

44 | Endeavour Magazine

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KENDAL NUTRICARE is Barentz, a leading international ingredients distributor with a

market for better quality infant formulas at a more affordable price,

unique, babyfood grade production plant, a specialst in spray drying

says Mc Mahon.

and encapsulation, called Vitasquare. At Vitablend, Barentz produce

“We are one of the most competitively priced formulas on the

customized nutritional premixes and blends for fortification and

market. However, our raw materials are more expensive. We’re

protection of food, specific both to Kendal Nutricare’s requirements

spending no money on TV advertising, we don’t have reps out on

and their own insight into what a healthy, fortifying formula needs.

the road visiting doctors and hospitals; instead, we pass on these

The other specialists Kendall work with are food standards

savings to give consumers at as keen a price as we can.”

agencies. All food products must meet certain safety criteria before

Kendamil has recently broken into the desirable US market,

they are displayed in the supermarkets, and when it comes to baby

which it achieved through a niche product: “We produced a product

formula, particularly international specifications exist to protect

called Super Kosher, or Kendamil Mehadrin, which got us into 130

the youngest in our societies. These criteria vary from country to

shops in New York.” Kendamil Mehadrin is made to a strict Kosher

country. Kendal Nutricare uses mostly local ingredients fresh full

recipe, and whilst it is manufactured at a significantly higher cost,

cream milk from 220 local Lake District farms, but it is targeting

it opens Kendamil up to a market which has previously had very

global markets; 90% of its Kendamil products are exported, with

little competition nor choices for consumers. “Kendamil Mehadrin

sales in Asia, Africa, America, Europe and the Middle East. We asked

is carefully supervised throughout the production – Rabbi’s go to

McMahon how Kendamil varied to meet the various requirements;

the farm, they go to the dairy, they come here and they watch the

“There are really four recipes, for European, Asian, Codex countries

packing process. 24 hours before production, we have to change all

and Australasia. They differ in terms of protein and fat contents.

our filters and clean down all our lines. It’s the same recipe, more

Some markets are really dominated by the multinationals. For

or less, but the process itself is quite expensive Kendamil Gold

example, in Indonesia, they literally write the rulebook, so the

containing Human Milk Olligosaccharides hopes to launch shortly

regulations can be very onerous for new entrants Whilst these

in the USA.

requirements exist for consumer safety, there is clearly a gap in the

46 | Endeavour Magazine

Challenging the Multinationals in their kosher monopoly is par

for the course for Kendal Nutricare; the smaller company doesn’t back down from going head to head with leading brands on all market fronts. As well as manufacturing Super-kosher for Orthodox Jewish consumers, Kendamil has also been Halal-approved for Muslim markets. “In the Middle East, South-East Asia and North

BARENTZ is a leading international

Africa, Halal is a requirement. We got the factory inspected; the

ingredients distributor, supplying Kendal AdEndeavor_188x138.indd 1 Nutricare with the high quality ingredients they need for their specialised market segment. Barentz has a unique, babyfood grade production plant, Vitasquare, a specialist in small batch spray drying and encapsulation. At Vitablend, Barentz produces customized nutritional premixes and blends for fortification and protection of food. Barentz works closely with their clients to find optimal ingredient solutions for the Food & Nutrition, Pharmaceuticals, Personal Care and Animal Nutrition sectors.

procedures involve removing all the filters before production, and we had to trace all our raw materials back so every ingredient in the recipe could be approved by the Halal organisation. We thought we went for the highest accreditation, but we’re now learning that some countries require us to pay for their own inspectors to come here. So, it’s an expensive business.” Inspections cover every stage of food production – whilst essential for quality control, they are never a cheap or easy process. “I read an article once that said, “’Oh, well, we all know the price of raw materials’, but the most expensive thing in a business like this is testing. Each ingredient needs to be sent out to laboratories, then when you make the powder, you test it again, and when you pack it under gas in consumer packs, you test it again. Then, when it reaches its destination, each country tests it themselves.” Kendal Nutricare’s mission is to follow nature’s blueprints in their formula as closely as possible – and what’s possible just

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Endeavour Magazine | 47 26-09-17 15:02

KENDAL NUTRICARE took an exciting leap. The focus of this breakthrough is Human

people who needed a meal replacement. “We came up with a range

Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs). HMOs are found naturally in

of Super-fruit smoothies only flavoured by natural real fruits. You

breastmilk, in a higher quantity than breast milk’s protein – they are

get 50g of reconstituted fruit per glass, and there are two products,

a significant element, and one whose function can’t be mimicked

‘Mango & Passionfruit’, and ‘Super Berry’. It has nothing to boost

by any combination of regular food ingredients. In fact, it has taken

these flavours in terms of sugars, it’s gluten-free, and instead of

a dedicated team 12 years to successfully reproduce them, but a

using soya or corn syrup, we’ve put in skimmed milk and whey. If

synthetic HMO is finally approved and available!

you know you’ll get home for dinner, but until then you’ll have to

HMOs were first discovered in 1886 during studies into the

get by, a glass for breakfast and a glass for lunch would sustain you.”

causes of cot death. This family of glycans serve as false receptors

However, its close-to-nature formulas for infants and its

for pathogens to lock onto, thus preventing them from reaching

impending implementation of HMOs are the big reasons to be

the feeding infant. This provides protection against Noroviruses,

excited about Kendal Nutricare. It is setting a new standard for

which cause two thirds of infant death. HMOs aren’t digestible

infant formulas, and is unafraid to compete against bigger brands

and serve no nutritional value in the milk; they are Mother Nature’s

where Kendal Nutricare feel their products are better quality and

security system, and until recently, they were irreplaceable. The

more competitively priced. When it comes to what’s best for us

new synthetic HMO technology is approved for use in America and

and our children, Kendal Nutricare is building a reputation as the

Europe, but not yet in Asia.

company that will put our needs first, in quality and in price. As

Kendal Nutricare is also branching out in other ways, such as

HMOs help narrow the gap between breast milk and bottled milk,

through a new line of formula products for adults. “We have years

Kendal Nutricare is working hard to pass on these break throughs

of experience making formulas for babies – I thought, why not do

to benefit modern consumers.

something special for adults?” McMahon wanted a healthy, fortified product that could help a busy adult keep sustained during the working day, not aimed at body builders or slimmers but for active

48 | Endeavour Magazine


TASTE THE DIFFERENCE A premier poultry giant in the Eastern Cape region, Anca Foods has a history of making great strides in a bid to consistently set new standards for the industry and Endeavour Magazine spoke with Devin Isemonger, company Sales Manager, to find out how. WRITTEN BY AMY BUXTON


Anca Foods is a leading poultry farming, processing

and distribution operation based in the Eastern Cape, but don’t go thinking that there’s nothing else to know, as this is far from your average food production company.


ith a desire to be constantly reaching above and beyond

be regularly updated and communicated. In short, we support staff

recognised industry standards, Anca has sought to bolster

while still holding them accountable.”

itself with a team of dedicated professionals and Devin

So what are these goals? What is it that Anca is trying to

Isemonger, Sales Manager, is one of the most vital team players,

accomplish? And what has it managed in 25 years of operation? A

but how did he find himself in his coveted position?

key selling point is the continuation of healthy and humane farming

“I have been head of sales since Feb 2015. I began my career

techniques, which Anca feels is vital in terms of tastier chicken and

at Anca in 2013, as Quality Control Manager. When the previous

therefore, customer satisfaction. Animals are bred and nurtured

head of sales left us suddenly, I was moved into the position as

with the utmost care and farms are run in accordance with the

a short-term solution. This was a huge jump for me in terms of

strictest animal welfare standards, with regular inspections being

authority and responsibility and I have since become entrenched

welcomed. Add in spacious barns that are geared towards the

in this department and feel that it is in sales that I can make the

comfort and happiness of all animals and a regular supply of high-

greatest contribution to the company. I guess you could say I was

quality feed and you can see that this is no mere profit-making

dropped in at the deep end and very quickly learnt how to swim.”

endeavour, which is why a creative philosophy has been adopted

The really impressive aspect of this rise to leadership is that at

by Devin and his team,

no point did Anca give Devin anything other than full support and

“I consider myself, foremost, as a pragmatist. Practical

faith, which is why he is still in position and able to directly influence

application is, to me, the be all and end all of business. Rather

new and innovate sales directives. More than that, he has been

than designing large complex plans and strategies, I prefer to

able to impact on the style of leadership employed throughout the

implement small and simple plans. These I refine through practical

company, which, essentially, defines it as a whole,

applications, before allowing them to grow and evolve into large-

“Effective leadership requires one to empathise with one’s staff

scale strategies. I feel this approach suits unpredictable industries

and make them feel appreciated as members of a team. The key is

such as ours by minimising risk, but not to the expense of creativity

to achieve this without a breakdown of respect. This is a fine line to

and innovation.”

walk and a daily discipline. Once this balance has been struck, clear

Right there is the key to Anca’s success; innovation. This is a

goals must be set and a roadmap to success created. This must

crucial part of any high-flying operation, but it is even more critical

52 | Endeavour Magazine

EPOL AND RED CREST FARMS A PARTNERSHIP THAT WORKS At EPOL we strive to supply top quality, balanced feed and exceptional service in order to maximise farm profit. The needs of our clients come first, hence our commitment to research and development which ensures formulations are consistently developed with the perfect combination of nutrients in conjunction with our experienced sales team. We pride ourselves in the long-standing partnerships with many of our clients. One such client is ANCA Foods (aka Red Crest Farms) based at Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape.

[OUR CLIENTS ARE OUR PARTNERS AND WE SEE OUR RELATIONSHIP AS BEING ESSENTIAL TO GOOD BUSINESS, THEREFORE WE HAVE A VESTED INTEREST IN THEIR SUCCESS.] EPOL’s association with Red Crest Farms spans over 25 years – when the business was first launched in 1992. From the outset EPOL strived to form a strategic partnership with Red Crest Farms with the aim to becoming their preferred supplier. Hard work and dedication paid off, and for the past three years we have been supplying all of the farm’s feed requirements. Production system meets international standards Red Crest Farms uses an intensive production system. This means that their broilers are raised indoors in climate-controlled houses. Broiler production systems require high levels of responsiveness and availability of information. To this end, Red Crest Farms’ chicken houses are equipped with mechanical systems to deliver feed and water to the birds. Nipple drinkers are used, thus reducing spillage and wastage. Their houses also have ventilation systems and heaters that operate when required. The floor of the house is covered with natural pine shavings to protect the birds and to keep them dry and warm. Curtain-walled sides ensure the birds are exposed to sunshine, light and fresh air, but at the same time protected from predators.

fed the appropriate nutrition as is required by the breed. As environmental conditions are critical for successful broiler production, chicken houses are closely monitored by the managers to ensure that any changes in the environment are addressed immediately and to provide their broilers with the required low stress environment. Broilers are also appropriately vaccinated as recommended by their veterinarians.

[YOU CAN TASTE THE DIFFERENCE IN A WELL-FED, STRESS-FREE CHICKEN] EPOL – supplier of choice EPOL offers specialised ranges of feed to meet the needs of different farmers. These needs vary according to the levels of production and different climatic conditions. Our feeds are custom-formulated for Red Crest Farms based on their slaughter requirements, so we formulate feeds that maximise their on-farm profits by ensuring that their birds get the correct nutrients at the correct time. Furthermore, each load received into our factory (raw materials) and dispatched (feeds) to our clients is tested by Near Infrared Spectroscopy to ensure only the highest quality. We also supply after-sales support and have technical specialists available 24/7 should our clients encounter any challenges.

Many of us will remember the Farmer Brown advertisement: “They taste so good ‘cos they eat [WHOLESOME CHICKENS RAISED so good!” – and we believe this rings true for Red IN THE BEST CONDITIONS] Crest Farms as well. Red Crest Farms remains one of our most valued clients and we are thankful for Great genetics equals success the trust that they have placed in us. We hope Many factors contribute to the consistent success that this partnership will grow even stronger in of Red Crest Farms. Firstly, they only invest in years to come. broilers with great genetics. Furthermore, they EPOL - Success is in the bag don’t compromise on feed and these broilers are

uppe marketing A16419/A

WITH EPOL I AM ABLE TO ACHIEVE THE PERFECT BALANCE. EPOL’S COMPREHENSIVE BROILER RANGE: With its range of specifically formulated broiler feeds to meet the needs of the broiler production system from start to finish, EPOL ensures a perfect balance between performance and profitability. Epol Econo range: Broiler Starter, Broiler Grower, Broiler Finisher, Broiler Post Finisher. Optigro 3 range: Broiler Starter, Broiler Finisher, Broiler Post Finisher. Higro 5: Broiler Starter.

EPOL is proud of their 25 year relationship with Red Crest farms.

GETTING READY Before the chicks arrive on the farm everything must be ready. Plan the amount of feed that you will need. The following tables are an indication. Epol Econo Range - is ideal for the smaller producer who sells live broilers to the market, and is a cost-effective range with a moderate growth rate.

Econo Starter (0525)

Econo Grower (0515)

Econo Finisher (0535)

Econo Post Finisher (0545)

Day 0 - 15

Day 16 - 25

Day 26 - 36

36 - slaughter

Bags (40 kg)

Bags (40 kg)

Bags (40 kg)

Bags (40 kg)



















































uppe marketing A16419/B

Number of chicks

Epol Optigro 3 Range - is ideal for the producer who sells live birds or who has to supply birds at a fixed age to an abattoir.

EPOL compliments our business very well, a true win-win relationship, which is profitable for us both.

Thank you EPOL! Greg White, Operations Director, ANCA and Thembekile Klass, Feedmill Manager, Epol Berlin Mill

Number of chicks

Optigro 3 Starter (0520)

Optigro 3 Finisher (0530)

Optigro 3 Post Finisher (0540)

Day 0 - 18

Day 19 - 36

5 Days before slaughter

(800 gram per bird)

(1.8 kg per bird)

(700 gram per bird)

kg required Bags (40 kg)

kg required

Bags (40 kg)

kg required

Bags (40 kg)

Total 3.3 kg per bird kg required Bags (40 kg)



























































































Epol Econo range: Broiler Starter (V15433), Broiler Grower (V22229), Broiler Finisher (V15527) Broiler Post Finisher (V15432). Optigro 3 range: Broiler Starter (V672), Broiler Finisher (V15526), Broiler Post Finisher (V1201). Higro 5: Broiler Starter (V8854). All products are registered under Act 36 of 1947.

For more information about our specific feeds and services: RCL FOODS: EPOL: +27(0)31 242-8600 |

RED CREST FARMS ANCA FOODS in the Eastern Cape poultry-farming industry, as the market is currently fraught with obstacles to overcome, “The Poultry industry in South Africa is currently in crisis, due

Despite a turbulent marketplace, Anca is celebrating an impressive 25 years of operation and more than that; there has even been growth, especially in terms of staffing numbers,

to the illegal dumping of cheap frozen cuts from the European

“Anca Foods currently employs upwards of 500 people in total.

Union in our market. European producers recoup their farming

We seek to employ from local communities and have found that to

costs from the breast and wing meat alone, leaving their drum and

promote from within is the best practice. Our corporate culture is

thigh portions as waste products. Unfortunately, the South African

one of high intensity, which some may find intimidating. This has

consumer prefers drum and thigh cuts while the EU will not allow

evolved as a result of the difficult market we operate in.“

South African farmers to export to their shores. This leaves South

Add to this the strong and steadfast relationships being enjoyed

African producers in an unsustainable position. 2016 was the most

with key suppliers, including Epol and Keystone, and Anca has

challenging year to date for the industry and saw the closing down

everything in place to not only continue enjoying fantastic success,

of several major abattoirs.”

but also explore new and exciting opportunities in the future. With

Setting itself apart and rising above the domestic industry

a history of brilliant developments being implemented, including a

troubles has become second nature to the ever-resilient Anca

new 270-ton cold storage facility and processing plant expansions,

Foods, which prefers to supply poultry to the fresh market,

it will come as no surprise that there are plans afoot for more

wherever possible. With 80% of production feeding this section of


the industry, the unfortunate influx of frozen portions of meat from

Key to future successes is a total rebranding of Anca Foods,

the EU has had little impact on the success of Anca, whereas many

with new labels being showcased on consumer products, but Devin

rivals have fallen by the wayside.

also hinted that there is something even more exciting to come,

56 | Endeavour Magazine

“We are always expanding and will be increasing our output again in 2018. There is another major project in the pipeline for 2018 as well, but at this point that is confidential.” Consider us very much intrigued and looking forward to finding out what this project is! Regardless of future developments, what we will say is that Anca Foods has consistently impressed with its strong brand within a commodities industry. Despite poor market conditions that have lasted four years, through unrivalled quality, commitment and strength of identity, Anca has risen where so many others have fallen, without compromising on key areas such as price or production standards. If that doesn’t inspire you to maintain a steely gaze on the future of this incredible operation then we don’t know what will.

Endeavour Magazine | 57


CERTAIN VICTORY! In Endeavour Magazine we have often featured companies that have risen-up from the humblest of beginnings to become industry leaders in their fields, whether regionally or even internationally. It can safely be said that few, if any, however, began life from beginnings quite as humble as that of Hissho Sushi’s inspiring CEO and Founder, Philip Maung. WRITTEN BY DJAMIL BENMEHIDI


Hissho Sushi is the culmination of a remarkable rags to

riches journey of a remarkable man. It is a real-life tale of passion and belief, hard work and eventual hardearned success; more than this, though, it is proof that the American Dream still exists for those willing and hungry enough to reach up and seize it. And boy has Philip reaped the rewards.


ith over 1,000 sushi and Pan-Asian hotbars and kiosks in

Pan-Asian hot bar kiosks in shops, supermarkets, airports, corporate

operation across having recently been named amongst

facilities and universities across the length and breadth of the US.

SmartCEO’s Charlotte Future 50 Awards, business at

As Philip explained, the logic behind this is simple: “Hissho

Hissho Sushi is booming. Endeavour Magazine had the pleasure of

Sushi is aimed at yuppies and young professionals who often don’t

catching-up with Philip to find out more.

have time to sit down in a restaurant and have a sit down meal.

If you haven’t heard the name of Hissho Sushi, or that of the

Our customers are time-short, so to cater to them we offer a ‘grab

company’s founder Philip Maung outside of the US just yet, you’d

and go’ system so that wherever they are, however much of a rush

be forgiven. Equally, however, you can be rest assured that both

they are in, they can pick up a Hissho Sushi on the move.” It is this

names are ones you will begin to hear a lot more of over the years

convenience which has proved to be a main ingredient for Hissho’s

to come.

rip-roaring rise from being a one man band to becoming one of the

The story of both man and company is one of determination,

sector’s industry leaders.

ambition, and tireless hard work, fit to suit the Hissho namesake – meaning ‘certain victory.’ After beginning life as a humble husband and wife set-up out of Philip’s family home in Charlotte, North Carolina, just 9 years after he arrived on US shores with a pocketful


of dollars to his name, today, Hissho Sushi has been on the Hot

Since the company first opened for business in 1998, Hissho

500 list of fastest growing businesses in the US, and was recently

Sushi has steadily perfected the business of delivering restaurant-

named to the Inc 5000 list of the fastest growing privately owned

grade sushi to customers at affordable prices into a fine art. But

business in the US for the 6th time in 7 years.

more importantly than this, however, Hissho makes its high-

It is a food retail giant of sorts with over 1,000 outlets across

grade, affordable sushi easily accessible. Wherever customers are,

more than 42 states and rising, boasting an annual revenue in excess

whatever they’re doing, whether they are at work or at play or in a

of US$100 million. But rather than sell its menu of sushi snacks

rush, the chances are Hissho Sushi will be available. How could fine

from the branded restaurants that are usually the signature of a

snacking be more convenient?

major food retail brand, Hissho Sushi does things a little differently.

Hungry sushi lovers can pick-up a box from a Hissho Sushi

Hissho’s delicious Spicy Salmon, Tuna-Avocado, and California

kiosk at their local shop along while they buy milk and bread, or

rolls, along with its Chicken Gyoza, Nippon Favorite, Inari, and

while waiting for a connection at the airport; when at corporate

Nagano Special, instead, vie for space with a wide range of other

conferences with work, or on campus at university. It’s sushi

Pan-Asian bites in the display cases of Hissho’s fresh sushi bar and

made easy; really easy, and it’s made easy without compromising

60 | Endeavour Magazine

HISSHO SUSHI on freshness. Hissho Sushi is synonymous with quality, and the

dollar fortune only two decades after landing on US shores with

delivery of quality begins and ends with its dedicated, expert chefs

just $13 in his pocket, Hissho Sushi’s success can, to say the least,

who are trained the Hissho way at the company’s Charlotte, NC

be considered be a job very well done on the part of Philip Maung.

headquarters at Steele Creek Road.

The Hissho Sushi success story is an inspiring, true-life tale

On this, Andrea Lee, Head of Corporate Communications at

about just what can be achieved by somebody with little, but who

Hissho, explained: “Hissho recruits and trains chefs and supervisors

dreams big; somebody who has an insatiable hunger for a better

at our headquarters in Charlotte, NC. These same people are then

life, and who has the work ethic, belief, invention and dynamism to

sent back into the field to operate our sushi bars, or Pan-Asian hot

pursue it. As anybody who has looked up at the stars from a life of

bars, either as a franchisee or employee. Fresh sushi or hot bar

seemingly hopeless poverty knows, a dream of a better life is the

items are made fresh every day, using product shipped from Hissho

most powerful of drivers for success. What Philip lacked in money

Sushi HQ, and always purchasing their produce locally to ensure

or connections he more than made up for in endeavour, incredible

the freshest available.”

self-belief, his desire to achieve success and, no less importantly,

She continued: “CEO Philip Maung insists on the very best quality across the board for all of the ingredients that go

happiness. And make no mistake about it; the Hissho story is still in its early chapters.

into any of our products. Our items are made fresh every day

That the business has more than doubled in size over the past

and our customers can rest assured that they are getting the

three years alone speaks volumes; more so, when you take into

best of the best.”

account that this doubling has occurred in-line with Hissho Sushi’s somewhat conservative growth strategy, which is “in the manner


of a tortoise; slow and steady wins the race.” A particularly apt metaphor, since the tortoise has a very long lifespan. Business is booming, as they say, but while Hissho Sushi’s

What is there to say? When you take into consideration for a

portfolio continues to expand, with new locations being added

moment that he has built a food retail empire and a multi-million

each month, that isn’t to say the company has had things entirely

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its own way. The food retail sector is a big money game, and as

No, the only real challenges that have stood in Hissho Sushi’s

one would expect the company faces fierce competition from rival

way have been internal in nature, related to the company’s, at

businesses, some of whom have been open for business much

times difficult 19-year journey from start-up to food retail giant.

longer than Hissho’s 18-years. Added to this, there is also the

The process of growing first from a small out-of-the-home-kitchen

additional threat posed by a number of ambitious, exciting new

start-up to a mid-sized local and regional player, and then finally a

start-ups that are emerging, all of who are hungry and ready to

cross-continental hegemon with a presence in more than 42 states

cut into Hissho’s formidable market share should the opportunity

doesn’t come without its difficulties. Such a transition will always

present itself. But as of yet, the company has proven resilient to the

lead a company to experience its fair share of growing pain, even

best efforts of the competition.

if the transition is a slow one. Maintaining a winning corporate

Not that Philip is overly concerned: “Our marketplace is

culture and attracting staff who are truly invested in a company’s

competitive, but that’s life. Whatever you do, in business or in life,

values in such instances is difficult. When, like Hissho Sushi, such a

there is competition everywhere. We’re aware of the competition

transition is made over a 10-year period of frenzied, rapid growth,

but we don’t focus on it. We focus inwards; on delivering quality

it can be near impossible to maintain the identity and values that

and building a culture in which our staff are happy and motivated,

first brought about your success in the first place.

and which is true to our values.”

HISSHO SUSHI: NOT JUST A COMPANY BUT A WAY OF LIFE The company which Philip has lovingly nurtured over the years is


more than a company; it’s a way of life. The Hissho brand is instantly

Philip Maung found this out the hard way. After a first decade of

recognisable, chic, and much-loved by the hipsters, creatives and

incredible growth, during which Maung in his words “hired staff left

young professionals who make up much of its customer base. And,

and right,” he stepped back in the end for a breather, only to realise

besides, which of its competitors has such a charismatic, instantly

he presided over a divided business with a clear lack of identity,

recognisable personality at the helm?

and more than a few employees who hadn’t bought into his values,

Endeavour Magazine | 63

HISSHO SUSHI nor were as invested in Hissho’s success as they should have been.

gaining experience. The prefect example would be our Director

Finally, this led to Philip creating a ‘once voice, one culture’

of Logistics, Hsiao Wen. Wen started out with us 15-years ago as

ideal, and the creation of Hissho Sushi’s 11 Core Values – the

company sushi chef, and today she heads up our logistics team and

philosophy by which he and his employees live out each and

supervises its operations. Processing weekly orders from chefs and

every day; a philosophy which he regrets not implementing from

staff working out in the field, warehouse operations and shipping, is

the off. Maintaining a small company, family culture is central

a hugely challenging job with a lot of responsibility – only somebody

to Hissho Sushi. It acts as the anchor by which it preserves the

who understands the business from the ground up could do it.”

values and identities that have underpinned its success, and fosters

All in all, it is clear to see that Hissho Sushi is a progressive

togetherness and loyalty among its 340 or so staff – the men and

company that is on the up, and its journey to the top is far from

women without whom the company could never have achieved

over. In Philip’s view, the coming 5-years will see the company doing

what it has achieved.

what it does best, namely delivering great, accessible Asian cuisine.

On this, Andrea told us: “Each member of Hissho’s 340 or so

He said: “We will continue expanding steadily, but something we

staff is carefully vetted and trained specifically to not only be able

are aiming to do is to improve our product offerings beyond sushi.

to perform their job, but are cross-trained to improve efficiency.

Already we have a range of Pan-Asian products that are available,

Hissho’s benefit package is generous and includes a matched 401k, 90% of healthcare costs paid by the company, flex time, free activities like yoga and weight training with a personal instructor, an on-site library, exercise equipment, basketball, ping-pong, a communal patio with a fire pit, and numerous company-funded outside activities.” She continues, “Hissho employees also have the opportunity to rise up through the ranks – we have added great talent to senior staff and management teams, who rose up through the ranks after

64 | Endeavour Magazine

but there is room for growth in this area. That will be our focus in the short to medium-term.”


WORLD-CLASS PIZZA WITH A TRINIDADIAN TWIST In a world populated by 7 billion people, made up of countless different cultures and ethnic groups, all with their own unique culinary heritage, eating habits and food preferences are as diverse and varied as we are. However, make no mistake about it – if ever the world had a number one favourite national dish, it would be pizza. WRITTEN BY DJAMIL BENMEHIDI


If you, like many, many others,§ approach food with a live

attitude as opposed to an eat than eat to live one, there is a strong chance that you not only eat pizza but love pizza. Doubly so if you live in the US – the modern-day spiritual home of this cheese and passata-based treat, where it is estimated a whopping 350 slices are eaten each second.


he US has long been a country which is packed with pizzerias by their thousands, but just across the seas in the Caribbean, countries like Trinidad & Tobago have only caught the pizza-

eating bug within recent decades. And it is no coincidence that the country’s love affair with the world’s best-loved food began when

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Richard ‘Slice’ Harford first opened the doors of Mario’s Pizzeria for business. The Mario’s story began in the early 1970’s when upon his return to Trinidad after working in Canada, Richard Harford made the decision to realise his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. At this time, Trinidad & Tobago was on the up, and opportunity was everywhere. Eventually, Richard and a small group of his closest friends came up with the idea to open a restaurant at the Valpark Shopping Plaza, where a small shop unit had come available. Initially, Harford’s restaurant was a deli-style restaurant and sandwich bar which, thanks to the great food and friendly service, fast became a hit. However, it was only a few months later when three of Harford’s friends, who returned from Canada after attending college there with a pizza oven to hand, succeeded in persuading him that true entrepreneurial a pizza parlour, not a deli was the key to achieving great things. The rest as they say is history – the five friends banded together to create Mario’s Pizzeria soon afterwards, and sowed the

68 | Endeavour Magazine

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Email: Endeavour Magazine | 69

MARIO’S PIZZERIA seeds for the success that followed after with the opening of their

great pizza that is unique to the islands. As an example of this,

first pizzeria in 1972.

Richard Harford understood from the beginning that Trinidadians

Over the course of the 45 years since, Mario’s Pizzeria has gone

have a weak spot for bold, hot flavours, and as a result Mario’s

from being a single restaurant business out of Valpark Shopping

continues to use different ingredients in its pizzas to what visitors

Plaza to a 21-restaurant retail chain with operations across the

might expect to find in other countries. As an example of this,

length and breadth of Trinidad and Guyana. Even in a marketplace

Mario’s pizzas don’t use mozzarella but mature cheddar cheeses

that hosts some of the biggest names in the business, including

instead as the main topping, while the passata sauce is made

Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Papa John’s, it is telling that Mario’s

using a number of locally sourced herbs and spices, rather than

Pizzeria is the runaway market leader. This is for good reason –

traditional Italian seasonings. Unlike foreign competitors, who use

Mario’s is a Trinidadian company through-and-through, which

a uniform recipe for their global customer base, Mario’s Pizzeria are

offers the quality of any of the big American international pizza

lovingly crafted with their domestic audience in mind. The future

brands with a dash of Caribbean flair that caters to the tastes of

for the business looks bright, however this isn’t to say the company

the local tongue.

hasn’t faced its fair share of adversity. After an initial few years

“To stay ahead of the foreign competition, we’ve had to

of rip-roaring success, the country’s national economy collapsed

deliver to customers the pizzas that meet their satisfaction, and

and sent the restaurant into a tailspin. It was during this time that

continually upgrade our facilities to ensure that we keep offering

Richard took the incredibly bold decision to buy-out his childhood

a quality product, cost-effectively,” said Roger Harford, the CEO of

friends and go it alone. The two to three-year period that followed

Mario’s Pizzeria.

proved to be difficult for him, and it took all of Richard’s hard work

In the eyes of Trinidadians, Mario’s is a brand which shares their

and perseverance for which he is famed to ride out the economic

culture and heritage, and understands what it takes to make truly

storm. But as trying as this time was, Mario’s Pizzeria survived, and

70 | Endeavour Magazine

Founder Mr. Harford & Directors along with restaurant management & staff of Mario’s Diego Martin- our 20th store.

Endeavour Magazine | 71

MARIO’S PIZZERIA it was after this time that the business really took off and rose to

their experience with us. We’re active on all popular social media

the next level.

networks, and all of our restaurants offer free WiFi to visitors.”

For all its success, Mario’s Pizza remains a family-owned

Looking ahead to what the future holds, there is much for

business even to this day, and the company is run with one simple

the company to be optimistic about. Growing demand for the

aim in mind – to keep Mario’s ahead of the chasing through the

Mario’s brand, combined with its under-representation in Trinidad

provision of the best pizza to be found on Trinidad, and a superior

and absence in Tobago means that there is still huge scope for

level of customer service, which is hard to find in Trinidad & Tobago,

expansion – an opportunity which isn’t lost on Roger. And beyond

and through engaging and building relationships with customers

its home islands, the world beckons. All things being well, Mario’s

via digital platforms.

Pizza intends to spread its franchises across the length and breadth

Roger elaborated on this, stating: “Good customer service is something that can be hard to find on the islands, because we

of the English-speaking Caribbean, and perhaps one day even South or even North America.

haven’t honed them by having a tourism industry here. Trinidad

Through the quality of its sublime pizzas and unrivalled standard

& Tobago became wealthy through its oil and gas and financial

of service, Mario’s Pizzeria has not merely held its ground against

services, we didn’t need it. So what we’re trying to do is change this

the competition, which includes some of the biggest global brands

by training staff to offer a level of customer care that simply can’t

in the business, but risen to the top of its field. The successful fusion

be found anywhere else at the moment. We want smiley, happy

of local character and identity with international standards can be a

staff, and we’re encouraging this through an initiative we’re running

difficult thing to achieve, but as the Mario’s Pizzeria’s story shows,

at the moment.

the result can be fantastic when you get the ingredients right.

We’ve also honed our social media presence so that we can interact better with our customers, and find out more about

72 | Endeavour Magazine

Delivering Life Enriching Experiences Lot 7, Diamond Vale Industrial Estate, Diego Martin Endeavour Magazine | 73


BRINGING THE SWEET PEPSI TASTE TO THE ISLAND As one of the largest, oldest and most prestigious beverages brands in the world, PepsiCo is a company that needs no introduction. It is one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world, with annual sales above US$65 billion and a portfolio of leading global brands such as Pepsi, Gatorade, 7up, Lipton, Frito Lay and Quaker. WRITTEN BY DJAMIL BENMEHIDI


In terms of strength and brand recognition Pepsi is a

genuine global A-lister, standing shoulder-toshoulder with the likes of McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and Google. In terms of taste… well, it’s for good reason that Pepsi carbonated soft drinks are enjoyed by millions, if not billions of people in every corner of the world.


ince the Pepsi-Cola name first appeared on the shelves of stores and restaurants on August 28, 1898, the company has gone from strength to strength, providing consumers with

refreshing beverages for any occasion. However, as industry global giants like PepsiCo have found, the matter of producing, bottling, and distributing its products in sufficient quantity to reach customers in 200 countries is a tall order. Bearing in mind that PepsiCo sells an estimated 1,000,000 cans and bottles of its signature drinks each day in the US alone – a number which must surely leap to the hundreds of millions globally – even a world-class company of their calibre cannot operate successfully using a centralised production and distribution model. At best, it would be woefully inefficient, and at worst, a disaster. To ensure that customer demand for Pepsi products is satisfied, responsibility for the bottling and distribution of the products falls to specialist regional bottling companies, whose commercial purpose is centred specifically around achieving the production and output needed to meet demand within its sphere of influence, and expand market share where possible – a franchise operation, in other words, that puts Pepsi out at the front, wherever they are in the world. Make no mistake about it – whatever the country and whatever the state of the marketplace, Pepsi’s regional bottling operators lead the field. Take the Caribbean island of Jamaica, for example: here, Pepsi’s regional bottling subsidiary, Pepsi Jamaica, boasts a 61% share of

76 | Endeavour Magazine

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Endeavour Magazine | 77

PEPSI JAMAICA BOTTLING COMPANY LTD the country’s bottled soft drinks market. Following three years of

introduced 17 new products, including a flavoured water called

successive growth, it would be no exaggeration to say that Pepsi

Splash and a grape-flavoured Tropicana that is outperforming

Jamaica, owned by the Latin American beverages giant Continental

expectations. Since Splash’s market entry in 2012, the drink has

Beverage Corporation (CBC) of Guatemala, has hit a purple patch

scored 20% of the flavoured water market.

which shows no sign of fading.

With a surge of upstart new entrants into the market such as

It is no coincidence that the company’s recent growth spurt

iCool and CranWata, along with the threat posed by Pepsi’s long-

has come about following a period of heavy investment in its

time arch-rival, Coca-Cola, such ruthlessness has been a necessary

production facilities. In-line with the company’s intention to boost

measure taken with long-term self-preservation in mind. When

growth by a further 25% over the coming three to four years, Pepsi

you’ve been at the top as long as Pepsi Jamaica Bottling Company-

Bottling Company Jamaica has invested US$10 million on a new

CBC has, you learn how to stay there.

bottling line, alongside a further $1.5 million spend to increase

PepsiCo’s operations in Jamaica and Central America are

the number of Pepsi drink dispensers, soda fountains and coolers

representative of the company’s long and prestigious heritage in

deployed throughout shops, wholesalers and other retail outlets

the region. In 1942, PepsiCo issued CBC its first production and

and channels across the island.

commercialisation franchise for Guatemala, marking the beginning

The successful roll-out of an ambitious and aggressive growth

of a 70-year strategic alliance. It is telling that CBC are the oldest

strategy designed to consolidate Pepsi Jamaica’s positioning as

bottlers of PepsiCo outside the United States of America, and

the island’s market leader has quite literally borne fruit, following

this close relationship has continued to grow and evolve over

its acquisition of all grapefruit supplies in Jamaica and Belize – a

the years. Today, CBC is now the anchor bottler for nine markets

move that provided the company with the ingredients needed to

within Latin America and The Caribbean: Jamaica, Guatemala, El

drastically boost output and sales of Ting, and achieve a threefold

Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Ecuador and Peru –

growth in sales since 2013 as a result. Pepsi Jamaica has also

a list of countries that will continue to grow as the PepsiCo-CBC

78 | Endeavour Magazine

partnership expands into new territories. In recognition of CBC’s operative excellence, PepsiCo has named CBC and Pepsi Jamaica Bottling Company as “Latin American Bottler of the Year” several times and “Worldwide Bottler of the Year” in 2012 – an accolade that understandably generates much pride in the business. Understandably, there is a lot of optimism at Pepsi Jamaica, and looking ahead, there is a huge amount for the company to be optimistic about. Following the signing of a strategic alliance between Pepsi Jamaica and global beer brand Red Stripe in 2013 – one of the world’s best-loved beer brands, now part of Diageo - the two companies have gone on to vastly improve their distribution infrastructure in unison and develop synergies that have allowed them to develop their product portfolio even further. Excitingly, it is rumoured by some that Pepsi Jamaica is set to enter into a second strategic alliance in the near future with another global giant, Red Bull – a brand which is almost as strong as that of Pepsi itself. All in all, it is clear that Pepsi Jamaica Bottling Company is only going one way – up. Production capacity is up, as are sales, and with new partnerships on the horizon it is clear that the Jamaican sun will continue to shine on this exciting company for many years to come.


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Since 1986, Pizza Boys has been served the best pizza on the islands, establishing themselves as the first-choice for the world famous Italian dish. A product of hard work, consistent effort and great vision, they are now easily recognised as the number one selling pizza brand in Trindad and Tobago. Endeavour Magazine | 81


With 19 stores throughout the country, as well as recent additions

in St. Kitts, St Lucia and Guyana, they are set on expanding throughout the Caribbean, and with such a positive reputation and loyal customers their growth is practically assured.


his growth is further supported by the size and experience

Pizza Boys, the Group includes also the Burger Boys restaurant

of the umbrella company that they belong to. Owned by the

chain and Donut Boys bakeries; Rituals Coffee, Wok and Roll and

same franchising company that own the Caribbean’s Ritual

Imperial Chinese restaurants, Vie de France French restaurants,

Coffee House, Pizza Boys has become a perfect place to enjoy hot

and the Trinidad and Tobago franchises of Captain D’s seafood and

pizza. Considering the popularity of pizza, a meal that has become

Church’s Chicken.

synonymous with enjoyment, fun and pleasure, Pizza Boys has

“We operate franchises throughout most of the English-

been onto a winner for almost three decades, combining delicious,

speaking Caribbean,” he says. Pizza is always a guaranteed crowd

hot pizza with clean, well thought out seating and children’s play

pleaser, after all, and following the extensive experience gained

areas to tick all the boxes of a successful night out.

at numerous successful outlets in Trinidad and Tobago, they are

“More than just a pizza place, Pizza Boys is a popular family style restaurant that serves every family’s favourites,” says Norman Sabga Aboud, Managing Director and Founder of Pizza Boys Group of Companies.

confident that their new franchises will prove no less successful at their new locations. One key secret to success when it comes to the food industry, Norman reveals, is to listen to what your employees are saying – a

A man of impressive education, Norman went to high school in

simple and yet smart move, bearing in mind how it is the frontline

Leamington, Ontario aged 14 and after Grade 12, he continued his

staff who truly have their finger to the pulse, so to speak. With

studies and earned a BA (Hons) in Business Management from the

over 1,200 employees across the franchises, he recognised the

Univeristy of Western Ontario. In 1985 he earned his MBA from

importance of having open communication from day one because

Boston University, where he placed in the top 15% of his class.

the staff are the ones who interact with customers directly. To

For Norman it has always been important to provide choice and

keep employees motivated, it is company policy on the part of

a great customer experience to consumers, and as he has sought

management to make the employee’s job as simple and straight

to cover all bases by catering to all culinary tastes. Aside from

forward as possible.

82 | Endeavour Magazine


“No detail is too small,” he reveals, “And it is the smallest changes that can have the biggest results.”

Internet, it is impossible for restaurants to cut corners or allow any sort of shoddy service without paying a price. Whatever food

For example, however delicious and well-cooked the Pizza Boy

is being served, the presentation of that meal has to be picture

pizzas might be, they will never be considered ‘fine dining.’ And why

perfect. If it looks great, there is a chance one of the customers may

would they? Rather than haute cuisine, instead, Pizza Boys provides

take a picture and post it online – as we all know, word spreads fats

a fun, memorable customer experience for family restaurant-goers,

on social media. If on the other hand the meal is poorly presented,

hence why Pizza Boys the great, family orientated. With their family

or even worse, poorly cooked, there is almost a 100% chance that

market in mind, the children’s play centre – a key feature in all Pizza

a customer will take to the internet to let the world know about it.

Boys restaurants - plays a very important role in helping to take the

“Even before the internet, the presentation of all my food and

weight off the shoulders of worn-out parents who are looking for a

the cleanliness of our kitchens and the conduct of my staff have

bite to eat for the family.

been of the highest attainable standard,” Norman says proudly.

“We are a national leader in sales growth and bottom line

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and it only takes

performance,” Norman says, “Which says it all because, like any

one poorly reviewed franchise to cause the entire chain trouble.

business, there are other companies and franchises vying for the

While some may argue that Pizza Boys has reached a level where

consumer market. We create a setting which is very casual, while

they’d enjoy a degree of immunity to such concerns, Norman is

the conduct of staff is highly professional. It is important that we

adamant that this isn’t so - every one of his franchises needs to be

stand for good food, family fun and good standards of tasty food

fighting fit, and determined to be the best.

and safety.” Thanks to the ease with which people can now access the

84 | Endeavour Magazine

“Franchising has been central to the development and the growth,” he says, “The brand recognition alone in Trinidad and

Tobago is impressive and with our expansion in three new countries, our unique products and procedures puts us as a cut above the rest.” He goes on to point out though that every franchisee who is included needs to be of the right calibre, and possess the experience needed to run a Pizza Boyd to expected standards. Therefore, a number of factors will always be carefully considered prior to the opening of any Pizza Boys restaurant. “Location is very important,” he says. “And this is not only regarding the place where the restaurant is but who the mainstay of the clientele will be. It has to all work together if it is going to be worthwhile.” Throughout the year, Pizza Boys provides product training and support for their franchisees as well as structured plans to ensure the successful development of individual pizza shops. “This is a proven concept,” Norman says, “We’ve been doing this for almost three decades and we’re here to stay.” You’d better believe it.

Producing Quality Processed Meats Since 1992

Big on Taste

St. Francis Village, Siparia-Erin Rd, Erin, Trinidad, W.I.

Endeavour Magazine | 85

86 | Endeavour Magazine



Since opening its doors for business in 1966, Shoon Fatt has more than made its mark as one of South East Asia’s leading biscuit producers. Undoubtedly one of Malaysia’s most popular biscuit and much loved confectionary brands, Shoon Fatt has aggressively expanded its international export market over the past two decades and is now reaping the rewards. Endeavour Magazine | 87


These are exciting times for the company. We at

Endeavour Magazine managed to speak to Mr. Loo Chun Kheong, General Manager of Shoon Fatt, to find out more about his business, not to mention its delicious biscuits!


s the East continues to grow in strength and wealth, increasing

as the company went from strength to strength. Inevitably, as

levels of disposable income in the region mean that the South-

business boomed, Shoon Fatt soon found that surging demand for

East Asian biscuit market is flourishing. A newly empowered

its biscuits and snacks was outstripping its supply capacity to meet

consumer class is quite rightfully beginning to flash the cash and

it. Soon after, operations were shifted to a small factory in Kampung

enjoy the finer things in life, and as any true biscuit lover knows full

Banjar in 1976 – a defining move which acted as the catalyst for

well there are fewer finer things in life than a good biscuit.

the company’s rapid growth over the decades that followed.

The growing hordes of hungry consumers with money to spend

In the view of Mr. Loo, the appeal of Shoon Fatt’s products is

has triggered something of a sugar-coated gold rush for the biscuit

down to two key things: a wide and varied selection, which creates

producers and confectioners who can satisfy the surging demand

universal demand from a broad cross-section of customers, and

for tasty, high-quality snacks. This being so, the market is there for

quality. He said: “We are well-received across consumer segments,

the taking for Shoon Fatt; one of Malaysia’s oldest and best loved

and enjoy a healthy growing market share. Our strong relationship

biscuit and confectionary manufacturers.

with our customers and quality products means that international

As a specialist producer of sweet treats, including biscuits, cookies, wafer rolls, and corn crackers for its loyal customers, at home and abroad, Shoon Fatt has something for all tastes.

competitors haven’t been able to break into our market. As an example, our ‘Naiyu Jagung’ corn crackers product line is No.1 in the industry, and is much loved by consumers for its unique and crunchy taste.”

A WELL-LOVED AND MUCH-LOVED PRODUCER WITH OVER 50-YEARS OF SUCCESS It would be an understatement to say the company has come a long way over the 50-years since the Shoon Fatt story began way back in 1966.

AN EXPORTER OF HIGH-QUALITY BISCUITS AND CONFECTIONARY TO MORE THAN 30-COUNTRIES As part of its strategy to continue satisfying customers old and new for years to come, and safeguard its standing as one of

After initially starting life as a humble shophouse in Durian

the industry leaders, Shoon Fatt has taken measures to refine and

Sebatang, the seeds of Shoon Fatt’s success were sown as word

improve operations, and boost production in order to take the

of Shoon Fatt and its delicious offerings increasingly spread among

company to the next level

people living in the surrounding area. With each passing year, the

Mr. Loo told us: “We have made a huge effort over the last

company’s reputation, not to mention revenues increased steadily

10-years to improve the way we do business, improve our fantastic

88 | Endeavour Magazine

Endeavour Magazine | 89

SHOON FATT products, and to give customers what they want: a product which tastes delicious, and which meets all international safety standards on quality and safety.” He continued: “Shoon Fatt is one of the oldest, most trusted biscuit and confectionary producers in the country. We can more than match our international rivals in terms of taste and quality – no-one ever thought a small provincial town like Teluk Intan could be home to such a quality producer!” Today, the spread of countries which Shoon Fatt exports its biscuits and confectionary to includes Singapore, Bahrain, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, India,

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ation of different heating systems by 2m-modules Shoon Fatt’s journey to the top hasn’t been without its aking chamber dimensions

challenges, however. As a company which caters to the low to

timesmiddle-income and uniform baking process markets, Shoon Fatt has over 50-years come to

dominate the to field. foroven all its continuous growth, rising gn with easy access the However, inside of the operational costs have resulted in increasingly narrow profit

RE-INVIGORATING AND RE-POSITIONING THE BRAND “We’re currently working with lead brand strategists to help us reinvigorate our existing Shoon Fatt brand and product offerings. In addition to updating our packaging and re-positioning our brand, we are in the process of applying for the Mark of Malaysia Brand Status; an elite award which can only be issued by the Malaysian government, and which will strengthen our reputation in the international arena.” Shoon Fatt remains committed to its existing product lines and loyal customers, but Mr. Loo has, in light of the company’s continued profits squeeze, wisely decided to diversify the company’s target markets and product offerings. Insofar as specialisation is a crucial component for success in modern business, equally, it is unwise to put all of your eggs in one basket. On his company’s anticipated entrance into the premier biscuit and confectionary market, he said: “In addition to our fantastic product offerings to the mid and low-income customer markets, we are excited to announce that Shoon Fatt will create a new unique brand aimed at the luxury biscuit and confectionary market.

bands for a wide range of products

margins for the business, which has thus far avoided passing on

mization by band tracking, inspection and cleaning tools these increased costs to the customer.

y unit for saving up to 15 % of surplus heat and CO2 emission OVERCOMING HURDLES AND CHALLENGES THROUGH ASTUTE

AN EXCITING ENTRANCE INTO THE LUXURY MARKET This new premier range will differ from our existing brand and

ntrol system for an optimum baking climate INVESTMENT

“The rising cost ingredients is presenting us with a major on – begin production in 14ofdays hurdle. Nevertheless, we still continue to produce our biscuits and

confectionary without short-changing the customer in terms of taste, quality of ingredients or reducing the size of our biscuits and confectionary. We have focused on improving efficiency and leaner operations, along with reducing wastage, and improved planning and business strategies.” Shoon Fatt has achieved improvements in operational efficiency and production capacity as a result of heavy investment in its facilities. At great cost, to the tune of US$2.5 million, the company has rebuilt its entire production area over the past decade, allowing Shoon Fatt to produce up to 95,000kg of biscuit and wafer rolls per-day, and invested a further US$1.5 million in warehousing infrastructure and operations systems upgrades. However, Mr. Loo was keen to emphasise the company’s investment in repositioning Shoon Fatt, and its intention to pivot more towards the luxury market over the coming years. “The transition from old to new plant facilities, the embrace of new technology and adoption of modern operations has resulted in continuous growth and increased market share. However, overlooking the importance of boosting our brand and setting in place a dynamic marketing strategy was admittedly a mistake for the company,” he told us.

90 | Endeavour Magazine

21.03.16 16:36

Traditionally, Haas-Meincke ovens are known for high quality baking. All ovens provide a very even and reliable baking of the products, which is primarily obtained through a very precise control of the moisture, the airflows and the heat distribution inside the oven. This precise control also makes them also flexible. Haas-Meincke combines also different oven types according to the customer’s wishes.

target markets, and allow us to reach out to new customers. This

The customer is at the heart of what we do. We are keen to

is an exciting time for the business. Our marketers and consultants

get feedback from our customers on what they enjoy about our

are in the process of building entirely new brands and business-

products and where they feel we can improve. This feedback is

lines to appeal to wealthier, more discerning consumers”

invaluable to our company.”

He then went on to say: “Our range of biscuits and treats

Before concluding our interview, Mr. Loo finished by telling

is already diverse, to satisfy the varied tastes of our different

us about the new promotional tour which Shoon Fatt is set to

customers. To add to our portfolio of biscuits and snacks, we’ll

embark on later in 2016, as the company sets out to reach out to

be launching a new line of butter cookies, along with new baked


potato snacks and potato chips. We’re excited about this, in terms of the market penetration it will give us into the snacks market.”

“We have a first-of-its-kind Biscuit Food Truck which is set to hit the road late this year. We’re excited because the truck will go

These are heady times for Shoon Fatt, but while the company

on a promotional tour which will give us the chance to introduce

anticipates great success from its forthcoming re-brand and re-

our delicious range of biscuits and confectionary to both existing

orientation to the luxury market, Mr. Loo is keen to point out that

loyal customers and soon-to-be customers across the country and

his business will remain as committed to the taste, quality, and

the region.

safety of its products as it always was.

This isn’t just about creating brand awareness but interacting with our consumers. We’re passionate about biscuits at Shoon Fatt


and we want to spread this passion far and wide. It’s all part our new mission of ‘Satisfying Hunger, Anytime, Anywhere!”

“As a respected exporter to international food markets, compliance with government bodies and adherence to international safety and quality standards is a must. We are committed to producing quality products that our customers will enjoy.

BAKING THE PERFECT PRODUCTS HAAS-MEINCKE OVEN SYSTEMS DIffErENT HEATINg prINCIplES fOr YOur INDIVIDuAl DEMANDS convection, direct gas fired, cyclothermic and hybrid versions available easy combination of different heating systems by 2m-modules with same baking chamber dimensions short baking times and uniform baking process hygienic design with easy access to the inside of the oven various oven bands for a wide range of products process optimization by band tracking, inspection and cleaning tools heat recovery unit for saving up to 15 % of surplus heat and reduction of CO2 emission humidity control system for an optimum baking climate fast installation – begin production in 14 days

Haas@interpack May 04 – 10, 2017 Hall 3, booth no. B22/B46

MOrE IDEAS MOrE VAluE MOrE flEXIBIlITY Endeavour Magazine | 91

92 | Endeavour Magazine



It is a relationship which most experts suspect began entirely by accident – as the best relationships often do - when hungry-prehistoric man first unwittingly ate fermenting fruit while foraging for food countless millennia ago. What is known beyond all doubt, thanks to archaeological evidence, however, is that mankind’s production of, consumption of, and cultural affinity for alcoholic drinks like beers, wines, spirits and liquors certainly extends as far back as the recorded history of human civilisation itself. Endeavour Magazine | 93


In East Africa, banana-based alcoholic beverages have been

brewed with great love for countless generations. Indeed, the region has a wonderful heritage when it comes to producing the banana beers and wines that are today so popular among millions of Tanzanians. Endeavour Magazine took some time out to speak to Adolf Olomi, the founder of Banana Investments Ltd, about his company’s role in becoming the first company in the country’s history to capitalise on this heritage by building a company which pioneered an entirely new alcoholic banana beverage mass market.


uite aside from its modern, altogether pleasurable use as a

63150 Nairobi, Maasai Road Nairobi Industrial Area Zip: 00619 Phone: +254 724390700

social lubricant; an adhesive of sorts, altering consciousness and binding together communities and building relationships,

both in times of leisure and occasions of ceremony; the consumption of calorie and nutrient rich beers and wines has long played a no less important role as an essential dietary staple for

Plastic bottles for world-class packaging of mineral water and juices Uniquely-designed plastic bottles for edible oils and flavorings eg. tomato sauce Jars in all shapes and sizes Agro bottles for the Pharmaceutical Industry

many communities around the world. This holds true in many parts, like East Africa, where access to healthy, nourishing food continues to be in short supply. Bananas; an energy-rich inexpensive super-fruit in plentiful supply, packed with proteins, minerals and vitamin A, naturally, have long been used in place of grapes, grains and wheats for the production of alcoholic beverages in Tanzania and the surrounding East African region. Unsurprisingly, there is a strong and enduring heritage in this part of the world for such drinks; nowhere else in the world that does it better, in fact. But it is in some ways surprising that it took a pioneering company, in the form of Tanzanian-based Banana Investments Limited to commercialise this heritage by setting up a business which mass produces such beverages, and inadvertently create a brand-new drinks industry in the process.

FROM HOME BREWERY TO MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR SUCCESS STORY IN JUST 20-YEARS Whilst the company’s initial start to life was unassuming, having opened its doors for business as little more than a husband-and94 | Endeavour Magazine

Fermentation tanks


wife home brewery start-up in 1993, Banana Investments Limited

Once a husband-and-wife business, today, following this

has since expanded its customer base, brand, production facilities,

swift organic growth and subsequent investment in a modern,

and logistical capabilities rapidly in little more than 20-years

high-capacity brewery and bottling plant with the help of an

to become a multi-million dollar business, and one of Tanzania’s

US$800,000 long-term loan from the East African Development

leading producers of banana-based alcoholic beverages with a

Bank, the company now employs 180 permanent staff along

dominant market share.

with a troop of temporary employees, dependant on seasonality

The key to Banana Investments’ success is simple: its banana

and market fluctuations. Banana Investments is structured into

beverage offerings were a labour of love which, through the

three segments, the first of which is Sales and Marketing; which

canny application of sound business acumen, developed almost

covers sales, marketing, and includes operations of its four - Dar

unexpectedly over time into the foundations upon which to build

es salaam, Morogoro, Tanga, and Rombo - distribution depots in

an empire. The Olomi’s tapped into a long-held family recipe to

Tanzania’s largest commercial centres in the country. The second

brew a traditional Tanzanian banana wine which had been lovingly

is Operations, responsible for covering engineering, processing,

and secretly perfected over the course of generations.

packaging and supplier services, whilst Finance and Administration

Its first and only initial product offering, the Olomi’s capitalised

ensure that the company’s operations are efficient and streamlines.

on surging popular demand for its delicious wine, and the growing reputation of their business and brand, by expanding on their product line – which it supplies to specified distributors across the country - to develop a wider range of banana beer, and, more recently, spirit brands, all of which fall under the Banana

Mindful of the still limited budget of millions of Tanzanians, the Olomi’s have sought to, and succeeded in building a price-conscious

Machine room

Investments umbrella.


96 | Endeavour Magazine

business model for their product lines which are accessible to the

However, we have plans in place to cover the rest of the country,

majority who are more often than not unable to buy the malt beers

as well as the countries bordering us, so that the entire country and

and grape wines which remain out of reach of all but the wealthiest

all of our neighbors can enjoy our delicious banana-based drinks.

consumers. It’s signature Raha brand beer product lines are stocked

We are in the process of recruiting distributors in the areas I

with taste and affordability in mind, and are available in 330ml

have mentioned. Entrepreneurs are welcome to support the efforts

bottles, which are packed in 24 bottles crates.

of the company to enable consumers in Tanzania and neighbouring

Adolf Olomi, Banana Investment’s joint CEO and owner,

countries to enjoy our products.”

said: “Banana Investments is in the business of production and We have recently diversified in the production and sale of low-cost spirits, packed in 50-100ml sachets and bottles of 100ml – smaller offerings that ensure affordability for our customers.” Olomi continued: “We are offering Raha and Raha Poa Banana alcoholic beverages, and various package sizes for our Fiesta Dry Gin. Very soon we are going to come up with non-alcoholic beverages. Our intention is to offer beverage products that fits every taste and every pocket. At present our products are available in the Tanzanian regions of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara, Singida, Shinyanga, Simiyu, Mwanza, Mara, Morogoro, Coast, Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Dodoma.

THE GROWTH OF TANZANIA’S CONSUMER CLASS Banana Investments has, along the rest of the Tanzanian business community across all sectors, been buoyed by a booming Tanzanian economy which has enjoyed consistent levels of yearon-year growth virtually unmatched by any country in the world, barring its regional neighbours and the formidable powerhouse economy of China. Granted, Tanzania is still in the developmental stage of its economic lifecycle; millions at the bottom of the pyramid remain in poverty, but clearly things are moving in the right direction. Quite aside from the fact that the economic empowerment of millions can only be a good thing from a humanitarian perspective,

Motorvehicle workshop

distribution of low-cost, affordable banana alcoholic beverages.

Endeavour Magazine | 97


the growing consumer class which has emerged over the past decade as a by-product of Tanzania’s boom-times shows how many are beginning to reap the benefits that have come with their country’s increasing affluence. The multiplier effect that this has acted as something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, economically speaking; more consumer spending on goods, services, and leisure feeds the business community, which in-turn means more jobs, more opportunity, and better wages, as Tanzania continues to transform itself into an increasingly sophisticated, diverse consumer economy, and wean itself off its reliance on agriculture and commodity exports.

REBRANDING AND A NEW MARKET STRATEGY TO REACH OUT TO A NEW TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC That said, operating such a high-volume, low-cost model in a fast-changing, fast-growing marketplace isn’t without its risks, however. The low per unit margins that come with the business territory can leave companies exposed in the face of a changing regulatory environment, as Banana Investments has discovered of late. “The industry is growing, completion is growing. Some of the challenges facing us include the numerous regulatory institutions in Tanzania that regulate industry, especially the food and drink sector. Also, the recently introduced Excise Duty that has been imposed on our products is a key challenge; when it is factored into the price, it is a concern that our consumers will not be able to afford the product,” Olomi told us. This Excise Duty, he believes, poses a great challenge to the company. It is for this reason that Banana Investments has recently embarked on an ambitious rebranding exercise and strategic marketing campaign, intent on improving the reputation of banana alcoholic beverages. Whilst banana wines and beers are recognised and loved by many East Africans, equally, it is currently viewed as a beverage choice which is less than foreign wheat beers and lagers, and grape wines in the eyes of Tanzania’s more affluent middle class. On this, Adolf said: “We are in the process of changing our logo and product packaging design, and are reaching out to a consumer market with higher disposable incomes to show them that our banana beverages can compete with any foreign exports. At present we are working with a European-based marketing agency which will help us improve the way our product is perceived. I am confident that this rebrand of our products will help take Banana Investments to the next level.”

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OVERCOMING OBSTACLES Whilst this looming tax certainly represents a challenge, perhaps it would be more fitting to view it is an obstacle than a major threat, however. Adolf Olomi is a proud but modest man who has not only built his business, but an entirely new industry in the face of a difficult business climate; bearing in mind how far Banana Investments has come, and the adversity it has overcome it has overcome over its lifetime already, it is difficult to believe that such a pioneering business truly faces an existential crisis. This much loved brand, although facing a period of change and difficulty, will likely continue to lovingly produce traditional East African alcoholic beverages for both its existing loyal customer base and a new, more affluent consumer demographic for more years to come.

Adolf Olomi - MD Banana

Endeavour Food & Agriculture  
Endeavour Food & Agriculture