O-I Glass targets US, UK glass packaging markets in new US$680m growth investment plans

US – O-I Glass, one of the world’s largest glass packaging manufacturing companies, has announced plans for global investments worth up to US$680 million, as it looks to expand its glass packaging capacity.  The new investment will enable the Perrysburg, Ohio-based company to focus on its expansion of premium products across the US and UK.   O-I also plans to assign a significant portion of the investment into expanding its production capacity. The company plans to add up to 700,000 tons of extra glass packaging capacity through this initiative.  Regionally, O-I revealed that the…

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Rwanda’s agricultural board boosts coffee export capacity with new US$1.15m equipment

RWANDA – The National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB) of Rwanda has officially launched the operations of its newly acquired modern coffee sorting and grading equipment worth US$1.15 million. Through the TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), USAID funded the procurement, delivery, installation, and operationalization of the coffee sorting and grading machines worth US$1.159 million. While the Kingdom of the Netherlands provided funding for coffee sorting tables worth US$ 217,000 under the regional TMEA Safe Trade Emergency Facility. According to the NAEB Chief Financial Officer, Andre Ndikumana, “The equipment will considerably expedite operations.…

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Synlait appoints industry veteran Grant Watson as CEO to steer company towards profitability

NEW ZEALAND – New Zealand milk processor Synlait has appointed dairy industry veteran Grant Watson as its new CEO as it seeks to steer itself back to profitability.   Watson will be joining the business in January 2022, succeeding John Penno, who will then be appointed as chairman when Graeme Milne retires next year.  He will be joined by Robert Stowell, who has been appointed chief financial officer after acting in the role for the last five months.  Watson has worked in the dairy industry since 2010, including in his most recent role as Miraka’s CEO. Prior to that, he held several…

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World Bank accelerates digital transformation, smart agriculture in Cameroon with US$100m financing

CAMEROON – The World Bank has approved a US$100 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) to support Cameroon’s efforts in promoting digital inclusion and the use of digital solutions in the agriculture sector. The project, Acceleration of the Digital Transformation of Cameroon, seeks specifically support the improvement of the strategic, policy, and regulatory environment for the emergence of a vibrant, safe, and inclusive digital economy. Also, it aims to reduce the geographic and societal digital divides affecting primarily rural areas; and facilitate the implementation of data-driven solutions to…

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Kenya’s tea export volumes increase by 19% despite decline in production

KENYA – Kenya’s tea production in the half-year to June 2021 declined by 26 million Kgs compared to the corresponding period last year on the back of unfavourable weather condition. This was revealed by the Tea Directorate, indicating that 274 million Kgs of green leaf were delivered to factories between January and June, 9% down from 300 million Kgs in a similar period of 2020. It attributed the decline in volumes to dry conditions and extremely cold weather that impacted negatively on the crop. However, there was an increase in…

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Burger King SA becomes first African fast-food restaurant to serve plant-based meat

SOUTH AFRICA – In a bid to cater to the growing demand for meat-free food options, Burger King South Africa has introduced an array of plant-based offerings in its menu, all made with 100% plant-based ingredients. Deemed to be the first fast-food chain to offer vegan-certified meat in all of Africa, Burger King created the new delicacies in partnership with Unilever Food Solutions and The Vegetarian Butcher. The new menu items include Whopper, Vegan Royale (a vegan chicken sandwich), and Vegan Nuggets. The quick-service restaurant chain says that vegan, vegetarian…

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South Africa’s alcohol sale inches closer to normalcy following relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions

SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa alcohol industry is elated following the recent move of the country to Level 1 lockdown, permitting sale of alcohol for both offsite and onsite consumption, to resume under normal licence provisions and business operating hours. The decision to ease lockdown regulations comes amid a drop in Covid-19 cases, test positivity rates, and hospitalisations, reports Fin 24. Under the new directive, sale of alcoholic drinks has once again been permitted not only on weekdays but also weekends. However, no alcohol may be sold after 11pm. This…

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Simbisa Brands showcases stellar performance on back of efficiency strategies, eyes more growth

ZIMBABWE – Simbisa Brands, one of Africa’s leading Quick Service Restaurant group, nearly doubled its full year revenue for the period ended June 2021 to ZWL$18.8 billion (US$51.9m) from ZWL$9 billion (US$29.86m) reported in the prior comparative period. The 108% rise in top-line performance was driven by increased sales through delivery channels, growth of customer counts alongside higher average spend rate. This is despite the fast-food chain operator trading at 70% capacity on counter trading hours due to the Covid-19 related mandatory restriction. Furthermore, aggressive cost-saving measures initiated in response…

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Perfect Day set to expand operations after raising US$350 million in Series D funding round

USA – California-based food technology startup Perfect Day has raised US$350 million in series D funding to enable it to expand its business operations.   The funding which will bring the startup’s total to US$750 million will be used to support current operations as well as create an “enterprise biology” arm of the company.  Some of the funds will also go towards Perfect Day’s affiliated CPG company, The Urgent Company which announced a new brand of animal-free dairy brand called Modern Kitchen.  According to the company, Modern Kitchen will initially roll…

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Unilever trials Zero-emission refrigeration on trucks in drive towards carbon-free future

NETHERLANDS –  Unilever has partnered with equipment service provider TIP Trailer Services, green tech experts Maxwell and Spark, and transport company Daily Logistics Group (DLG) to run a pilot in the Netherlands to test battery-powered refrigeration in trucks.  According to a statement for the company, if successful, the trial would provide a new solution for lowering the environmental impact of its range of refrigerated products, including ice cream brands such as Magnum, Wall’s, and Cornetto.  Currently, refrigerated trucks rely on diesel engines to power the cooling systems in refrigerated trucks,…

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