South African food manufacturers Tiger Brands, Unilever suspend advertising amid unrest

SOUTH AFRICA – Tiger Brands, South Africa’s biggest food manufacturer, has halt its advertising campaigns amid widespread unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

“Out of respect for our consumers, Tiger Brands has made the decision to temporarily suspend consumer marketing activities at a time when many of South Africans are facing difficulties in accessing products due to the closure of retail outlets.

“We are engaging with government and support efforts by law enforcement agencies to restore calm, reopen key distribution routes and create a safe environment for the resumption of normal business activity,” a spokesperson said.

According to reports by Fin24, the company confirmed that it lost more than R150 million (US$10.4m) in stock following looting and vandalism at a number of its sites in KwaZulu-Natal, resulting in damage to its rice, snacks and treats operations.

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“The loss of profit due to business interruption is still being quantified. The situation in KZN remains volatile, presenting a further risk to other Tiger Brands facilities in the area,” the group said.

It said its bakery operations and the distribution of bread have been suspended in KwaZulu-Natal, while deliveries of bread in Gauteng have been affected by challenges in accessing certain areas and the closure of stores.

However, the company was banking on recouping some of the losses, because it has appropriate insurance cover and has notified its insurers accordingly, adding that cover was subject to the terms and limits of the policies.

Earlier this week, the British giant Unilever, one of the world’s biggest consumer companies, also suspended its advertising campaigns in the country amid widespread looting and unrest.

“We can confirm that we have paused all traditional and digital advertising until further notice,” a Unilever spokesperson told Fin24.

Unilever owns brands like Joko, Lipton, Knorr, Robertson’s Spices and Ola ice cream.

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It opened its first South African factory in 1911, and currently operates six production facilities in Durban and Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as Boksburg and Midrand in Gauteng.

While Unilever did not confirm the reason for the suspension of its advertising, hundreds of stores that sell Unilever products have been looted in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. It’s not clear whether its own factories have also been targeted.

Tiger Brands partners with SA Harvest to support food security

Before the riots escalated, Tiger Brands entered into a partnership with SA Harvest, a non-profit organization that seeks to eliminate hunger and food waste in South Africa.

“As part of our commitment to improving food security, Tiger Brands will donate near-dated stock to SA Harvest for distribution through its network and supply monthly food parcels to the SA Harvest in-house feeding scheme.

“The company will also donate fresh produce to SA Harvest from our new food garden, which we will build and launch as one of our 2021 Mandela Day activities,” says Mary-Jane Morifi, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Tiger Brands.

As a strategic partner, SA Harvest takes a pragmatic approach to ending hunger by addressing the systemic causes of poor food security while simultaneously tackling the immediate need by rescuing nutritious food and delivering it where it is needed most.

To date, SA Harvest has delivered the equivalent of 6.2 million meals to over 80 beneficiary organisations around the country, rescuing 1,820 tonnes of food that would otherwise have gone to waste.

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