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Tru-Cape prepares to expand into growing African market [Bizcommunity (South Africa)]
[March 26, 2014]

Tru-Cape prepares to expand into growing African market [Bizcommunity (South Africa)]

(Bizcommunity (South Africa) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing aims to further expand into Africa and Middle Eastern markets to accommodate the 17 million cartons of apples and pears expected by 2018. This is according to newly appointed managing director of Tru-Cape, Roelf Pienaar.

"When Tru-Cape started as the marketing arm for fruit from Two-a-Day in Grabouw and Ceres Fruit Growers, it followed a six-point plan that has succeeded in securing 120 customers worldwide. Our apples and pears are today sold in 68 countries. Our strategy continues to drive revenue back to our grower shareholders which we achieve through our premium brand and managing the value chain effectively," Pienaar says.

"An increasingly affluent Africa will grow to almost a billion people in the next decade and we are excited about what this market will deliver. We will continue as category leader and up our growth from 952,000 to 2.4 million cartons such as we have achieved over the last 36 months. Even without our massive South African business, Africa represents 18% of our total volume sold. This has grown by more than 150%. Our strategic marketing plan needs to cater for this growth."Guidance to growers "Tru-Cape continues to offer guidance on how to reduce costs and increase profitability of the total marketable portion of the crop, to elevate and maintain consistent standards, to boost our international status, to identify and communicate trends and guide growers how to adapt to them. We also implement a dynamic marketing strategy to build the brand, to inspire confidence and to stimulate demand. These all form part of our original six-point plan.

"Looking ahead, Tru-Cape will focus our strategic marketing plan on setting people, processes and systems in place to cater for this growth," says Pienaar. "The difference between efficiency and effectiveness is that effectiveness is about doing the right things while efficiency is doing the right things well - we need to focus on becoming more efficient - we hold this as true.

"We continue to build strong relationships with our trading partners and lead the industry by providing a strong and supportive infrastructure. There is rarely comment about our industry that doesn't also include Tru-Cape's view."Hail damage "Over the decade Tru-Cape has invested more than R120m into creating, maintaining and communicating our brand. We have succeeded in moving 'an apple is an apple' into a brand that induces the consumer to request and pay a premium for our product. In November last year our Ceres growers experienced hail such as they have not been seen in the past 50 years. Of the 27 shareholders of Ceres Fruit Growers just seven have a normal marketable crop in 2014.

"Since arriving in my position I have met Ceres growers who effectively had 100% damage to their crops. Despite the devastation they continue to be positive - a spirit that defines the Tru-Cape grower. For me, this was again a rude awakening that we humans are not in control. It reminded me of the risks the South African growers takes daily to put food on our table," Pienaar says.

"Tru-Cape continues to support our Ceres growers by explaining the impact of the hail to our clients, a primary focus of our recent trip to Berlin and Fruit Logistica. From a Tru-Cape perspective we have pulled out all the stops to support our shareholders during this difficult time. We have made arrangements with our customers to, as far is possible, be more lenient in the specification they accept and are pleased to report that many have been understanding."Ugly is beautiful "Now we need our consumers to also understand that even if fruit appears pock-marked because of the hail damage, it is still as delicious and healthy. We need the media to assist us in communicating 'ugly is the new beautiful' and are using social media and the hashtag #uglyPretty to support this.

"The course ahead for Tru-Cape, and the pome fruit industry as a whole, is a good one and with the systems in place to manage the 17 million cartons that we will market by 2018 of fruit still in the ground, Tru-Cape will continue to deliver quality, branded fruit to our customers and best returns to our growers," he ends.

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