July 17, 2018, Nairobi. In May this year, Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta Commissioned a Ksh 7billion HotFill fruit juice processing plant at the Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in Nairobi. HortiNews Writer George Achia talked with Daryl Wilson, Managing Director Coca-Cola Beverages Africa – Kenya for insights into the development that impact on the country’s Big Four Agenda which aims to create 1.3 million manufacturing jobs by 2022, expand food production and supply, and provide universal health coverage for all Kenyan homes.
What necessitated the opening of Hot-Fill juice line in Kenya?
This line has the ability to produce beverages that are preservative free and give us the same shelf life as we would expect of other products. It has also made our juices maintain the natural taste of the fruit and enabled us to deliver superior quality products in the market to our consumers
What range of fruit products will be processed at the plant?
The Hotfill line will be used to process a range of products including fruit juices – Mango, Apple, orange and tropical, but only mangoes are sourced locally. We will also process sports drinks, dairy fusions, juices with bits and iced tea on the Hotfill Line.
Where are the fruits sourced locally?
Our mangos are locally grown by farmers across the country, from areas including Murang’a, Meru, and Tana. The mangos are aseptically processed from the farms, and bottled under Hotfill technology at the juice line, to deliver tasty, preservative-free products to our consumers.
The Coca-Cola Company was one of the first companies in Kenya that identified a #SourceAfricaStrategy for key fruit ingredients, which is now translating into #BuyKenyaBuildKenya. In 2017, we processed 1,000MT of mangos into fruit juice that went to the Kenyan market; this is expected to grow by 20% by the year 2020. We have built capacity with our local mango processing partners to meet the highest quality requirements of The Coca-Cola Company. Through this, our partners have processed over 40,000MT over the past 9 years, which has enabled the export of mango puree to Coca-Cola factories in Uganda, Tanzania, DRC, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mauritius
How do you contract farmers who supply the fruits?
We contract farmers through our Supplier – Sunny Processor- in Sagana.
How many farmers are you currently working with to supply the fruits?
The Hotfill line will impact over 5,000 farmers during harvest season. The key impact of this is giving our local farmers ready market for mangos once the crop is harvested. There is capacity to absorb fresh harvest from the farms during the harvest season, process them using aseptic technology and be able to store the puree for long periods of time in its fresh state. The Coca-Cola Company creates reliable demand for the perishable product, thereby enabling our supply chain partners to buy a large amount of fruit in a short period of time.
Through such partnerships, we continue to explore new innovations such as passion fruit and pineapple processing, dairy fusions etc, as we seek to offer our Kenyan consumers a new product experience.