SOUTH AFRICA – Lotus, Belgium-headquartered biscuit maker, has commenced construction of its third factory in South Africa, tagged at a cost of R170 million (US$11m).

The company opened its first plant in the country in 2019 and the second one followed in 2021 with the third expected to be completed by August 2023.

Since commencing operations in the South African country, Lotus has expanded its production capacity from 1,800 tonnes to about 3,100 tonnes and has created over 520 job opportunities.

According to reports, investment in the third factory brings the total capital injection by Lotus in its production facilities in the country to £55 million (US$60m). 

“The investment by Lotus . . . will positively impact the economy and jobs within Wolseley and the greater Witzenberg region.

“The agricultural value chain creates jobs in rural and peri-urban regions with higher unemployment rates than cities. Investments such as these promise more jobs and prosperity to rural communities,” said Western Cape Agriculture Minister Dr Ivan Meyer.

Lotus is best known for its spiced shortcrust biscuit – Speculoos, marketed abroad as Biscoff. The company also produces healthy snacks in the shape of fruit rolls sold under the Bear’s brand name.

By investing in the South African biscuit market, Lotus is propelling growth of the multi-million-dollar market which registered a positive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.51% during the period 2014 to 2019 with a sales value of R3.5 billion (US$239m) in 2019, an increase of 3.93% over 2018.

According to Market Research, the market achieved its strongest performance in 2015, when it grew by 5.14% over its previous year and its weakest performance in 2019, when it increased by 3.93% over 2018.

Meanwhile in the global arena, the biscuits market was valued at US$106 billion in 2020, and it is projected to reach an estimated CAGR of 4.97% during the forecast period, 2021-2026, highlights Mordor Intelligence.

The market is driven by the rising demand for convenience snacking paired with healthy ingredients among consumers.

Also, since food-on-the-go is the most recent ongoing trend and is one of the fundamental considerations for consumers while purchasing food products, it has become a prominent factor for driving the market.

In addition, frequent launches with new formulations in the basic product such as low fat, gluten-free, low carbo, organic, and high fiber biscuits to attract consumers has further fueled the market growth.

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