Puratos boosts food security in Africa with expanded presence

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Puratos has ramped up its presence in Africa. Pic: GettyImages/Ridofranz
Puratos has ramped up its presence in Africa. Pic: GettyImages/Ridofranz

Related tags Puratos Africa Bakery patisserie Confectionery

The global ingredients specialist has opened subsidiaries in Kenya, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and Nigeria to cement customer relationships and localise production using indigenous raw materials, which will lessen the continent’s reliance on food imports and fight its malnutrition dichotomy.

Africa is the world’s second largest continent and forecast to account for a quarter of the global population by 2050. Although it has 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land, the continent remains a major food importer.

The investment in local factories will reduce Puratos’ ecological footprint, but the specialist also aims to reduce food imports by using indigenous raw materials to develop new products for the local market. These will also improve the livelihood of local communities and contribute towards fighting the continent’s dichotomous malnutrition crisis.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), undernutrition and nutritional deficiencies are major causes of disease and death in Africa, especially among women and children less than five years of age.

On the other side of the scale, the trend towards a more Westernised diet rich in saturated fat, sugar and salt means children in sub-Saharan Africa are overweight but malnourished. They are receiving more than enough calories but not enough necessary nutrients to grow into healthy adults.

Africa has plenty of fertile land, as well as being a land of plenty – rich in indigenous plants like fruit, grains and other superfoods that have the potential of developing more nutritious solutions.

“Puratos is currently taking part in a study with the University of Pretoria in South Africa to investigate the potential of indigenous African crops for African bakery and patisserie applications,” ​said Olivier Tilkens, regional director Africa at Puratos.

“The functionality and nutritional contribution of these new ingredients will be studied, as well as the impact on sensorial sensation and the sustainable cultivation of the plant resources.”

The new operations

Puratos Kenya was formerly opened in January, covering the Kenyan, Tanzanian and Ugandan markets. The business takes over the activities from Puratos’ previous distributor, Papyrus.

Establishing a production facility for the local manufacturing of patisserie and bakery ingredients in Kenya is also in the pipeline, according to Puratos.

Puratos Nigeria – which officially commences operations this month – is a JV between Puratos and the Adegunwa family, who are involved in various food manufacturing and distribution activities in the country.

The production facility is seen as a good avenue to ease the penetration of Puratos’ bakery, patisserie and chocolate range into Africa’s largest market. Puratos Nigeria will also invest in an innovation centre to train customers and develop tailormade products.

Puratos Ivory Coast – which began operations in April – is a JV with the shareholders of Sabimex, which has been Puratos’ distributor for more than six years.

The business locally produces Patisserie and Bakery powders, and – as the country is the world’s largest producer of cocoa beans – will also house a chocolate production facility.

Puratos Ethiopia was officially incorporated in December 2019, covering the Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and Eritrea markets. The business is a JV with Dachi Manufacturing, which has manufactured and distributed bakery and patisserie ingredients in Ethiopia for the past two years.

“We are excited about opening new subsidiaries in Africa. These joint ventures will enable us to meet customers’ growing demands for high-quality products,”​ said Tilkens.

“We are proud to deepen our presence across the continent and to continue to invest in existing collaborations that have been so welcoming to us for more than two decades.”

Puratos at work in Africa

Working side by side with local communities, Puratos plans to support and educate in order to build sustainable and profitable agricultural systems for all parties involved.

For example, through Cacao-Trace – the company’s sustainable cocoa sourcing programme – cocoa farmers receive a premium price. They also receive a unique Chocolate Bonus of €0.10 for every kilo of chocolate sold, which often adds up to the equivalent of an extra month’s salary.

The Bakery School Foundation – established in 2016 by founding members of the Puratos Group – has to-date opened four Bakery Schools: in India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. The object is to provide young people with the skills they need to work in the bakery, patisserie and chocolate sectors.

By 2030, the company aspires to continuously enable 1,000 underprivileged kids from developing countries to live their passion in one of its bakery schools. It is also planning to open the programme to more African countries.

“Puratos is proud to support the Bakery School Foundation. Not only does it help bring more qualified labour to the bakery sector, it also increases the product quality for consumers,”​ said Daniel Malcorps, CEO of Puratos.

Future investments

Puratos plans to continue bolstering its presence on the African continent beyond the four new subsidiaries, along with the increase of production capacity and the opening of new subsidiaries.

“We believe that we will become a true and complete business development partner for the African bakers, chocolatiers & pâtissiers,”​ said Peter Deriemaeker, market director EMEA at Puratos.

“In the upcoming years, we will continue investing in strong local presence and excellent services, to offer a wider product range to our customers.”

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