AMERICAN conglomerate PepsiCo is looking at Zimbabwe among three other countries in the region to set up a snack plant.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
Speaking to NewsDay after the launch of the Pepsi plant under Varun Beverages Zimbabwe Private Limited in Harare on Wednesday, PepsiCo sub-Sahara African GM vice-president Sarah-Anne Orphanides said the market was attractive.
“We are looking at how we now take the success we have had in South Africa into other markets. Certainly, with the success we have seen here with the support from Varun, it is a market that we are looking to make sure that we can actually bring those products (chips and snacks) here,” she said.
“I cannot commit at this stage and say that we are going to put up a plant. We are looking at the whole region so we are looking at Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana together and the investment in a snack plant is significant so we are looking at the region.”
Orphanides said her company was attracted to Zimbabwe by the “incredible depth of talent in this market” and “we will want to make sure we are creating employment in Zimbabwe and creating opportunities for people”.
She said setting up shop would also be dependent on their ability to export.
The potential snack plant would fall under Simba South Africa, a subsidiary of PepsiCo.
Globally PepsiCo has three subsidiaries — Frito-Lay subsidiary, which handles the snacks, Pepsi Beverage and Quaker Foods.
The potato chips space has an estimated demand of 250 tonnes per month which translates to over 2 million packets of chips.
Already, PepsiCo is selling its potato crisps, most notably Lay’s and Simba chips, through local distributor, the Cold Chain Group, which is supplying about 140 tonnes or over 1,16 million packets of chips into the market.
Currently, Lay’s enjoys the lion share of potato chips market.
It is estimated that setting up the plant would cost $100 million.
Orphanides said setting up shop would also be good for potato farmers as they would be able to buy from them if the products met their standards.
“Let me use the South African market as an example. First of all, we have a relationship with the potato seed farmers. There is a community of farmers that actually grow the seed for us and they play an important role in terms of actually growing seed. We then have a group of farmers who are the potato farmers who actually grow the potatoes for us and we have long standing relationships with them,” she said.