Zebu Investment ventures into conscious consumerism market, acquires SA free range poultry business EFRCH

SOUTH AFRICA – The Africa Food Security LP (AFS LP), the sophomore fund of Zebu Investment Partners GP Limited, has taken full ownership of Elgin Free Range Chickens Holdings (EFRCH), a leading South African vertically integrated free-range poultry operation.

EFRCH is capturing the ever-increasing conscious consumerism market of sustainably sourced products from farm to fork.

The equity buyout represents a new dawn for EFRCH and the opportunity to increase production capacity, geographical footprint, and continued high ethical and animal welfare standards.

The AFS LP’s Technical Assistance Facility (TAF), will also explore funding inclusive projects targeting development of suppliers within the free-range poultry value chain.

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As a way of providing ethically raised chicken, free of antibiotics and growth promoters, founder Jeanne Groenewald initially started supplying chickens to her family and friends in 1996.

Since then, she has meticulously grown and developed the business into a leading supplier of the top retailers, food service companies and restaurants in South Africa.

The independent farming and food processing operation takes pride in meeting rigorous quality and ethical standards and has also successfully launched the Company’s own retail outlets in the Western Cape.

Jeanne Groenewald has been instrumental in entrenching the business as a trusted brand with ethical and humane operating practices in line with international best practice.

Commenting on her decision to exit, Jeanne mentioned, “I often refer to the company as my first born. It has been 25 years in the making and the time has come to release this child to fly to bigger heights. As with any protective mother I was very selective, in choosing the right investor to ensure the company culture, morals and ethics are upheld and continue into the future.

“Zebu ticked all these boxes. They have ESG at the forefront of their investment criteria, are passionate about animal welfare, sustainability, and people upliftment. I wish them well in taking this company to its next level.”

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At 60%, poultry is the most consumed animal protein in South Africa, and with the CAGR for free-range chicken expected to continue in the double digits, there is still abundant scope and opportunity for the company to drive further penetration.

This presents a compelling market opportunity for AFS LP in a lucrative and emerging segment of the poultry industry of South Africa.

“The pandemic came at a time when the global food system was already under strain. In Africa, this exposed numerous vulnerabilities within our food value chain, and influenced more consumers to seek healthier and more sustainable food sources.

“Poultry is the leading animal protein consumed in South Africa, and we want to play an active role in developing the free-range segment of this market, and by doing so, increasing access to all,” said ZIP Senior Managing Partner, Dennis Matangira.

The AFS LP, focuses on food production and processing throughout Africa. The fund is underpinned by the assertion of the positive impact which investing across the agricultural value chain can have for food security, through improved reliability of the supply chain for processors.

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