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South Africa goes nuts for Vita Coco® Coconut Water

After launching in South Africa just over a year ago, Vita Coco® Coconut Water has already experienced the highest first year sales performance of any market worldwide, including those of the United Kingdom and United States of America, where the brand originated. Average sales per store have been almost 20% higher than those experienced in other Vita Coco markets during the first year.

Globally, coconut water is the fastest growing sector in all non-alcoholic beverages with it being worth US$1,9bn in measured channels for FY2015 (source: Technavio, 2015). Technavio sees the category size at US$4,19bn by 2019. Vita Coco, with sales of US$420m according to Euromonitor, is helping to lead this category, currently cracking over two million coconuts daily to give consumers the refreshment that they are looking for. The brand aims to double its sales figures in the next five years. 

“The reason for Vita Coco’s success in South Africa is because consumers are looking for healthy, natural alternatives to traditional soft drinks and juices,” Giles Brook, CEO of Vita Coco: Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

“The South African market lends itself perfectly to the consumption of coconut water, particularly in terms of the climate and the health and fitness lifestyle which is ingrained in the country. With the exceptional sales performance we’ve seen so far, we think South Africa is going to be one of the top global markets for Vita Coco,” says Brook.

“Vita Coco is perfect for consumers who are looking for a little bit more enhanced hydration than water but don’t necessarily want the calories and sugars found in juices and smoothies. Further, many of our consumers participate in a healthy, active lifestyle and, where they previously used artificial and synthetic sports and energy drinks, are now switching to coconut water because it is naturally isotonic. We want to give consumers access to making healthier beverage choices,” continues Brook.

The brand launched last year with Woolworths SA, and is now stocked in 280 Woolworths stores nationwide. The product is also carried by a number of independent retailers, lifestyle and fitness centres.

Woolworths have lauded the launch of Vita Coco to be the biggest success story in terms of new drinks product launches, which Brook credits to the approach taken by the brand.

“We pride ourselves on our targeted approach when it comes to new markets, penetrating deep in concentrated areas and ingraining ourselves in the market, rather than having a wide and potentially scattered, and approach. More importantly, having been the brand that has pioneered the packaged coconut water category globally and being the best-selling coconut water globally, Vita Coco’s role is to develop not just the brand but the overall category to its full potential. This is very much reflected by the level of investment Vita Coco puts into new market launches especially around driving educational awareness of the benefits of coconut water to consumers,” says Brook.

Off the back of the local success of the brand, Vita Coco is building a strong brand and marketing team on the ground. Dannon Cook is heading up South Africa for Vita Coco. Dannon has an extensive and successful history within the local beverage industry and has launched a number of premium international beverage brands

Vita Coco has just announced a game-changing distribution partnership with BOS Brands (Pty) Ltd. This strategic partnership aligns with the brand’s goal, supporting and developing the local plans for Vita Coco in South Africa.

“Last year’s partnership with Woolworths has demonstrated the scale of the opportunity for Vita Coco in South Africa and in 2016 we are going to invest heavily in building the category and brand across South Africa, penetrating all key channels. It is our hope that when people get exposed to the brand, category and its virtues, they will adopt Vita Coco as their natural choice. We see South Africa as a market with huge potential and are very excited about extending our reach and bringing the product to more of the country’s consumers,” explains Brook.

Another factor that may enhance the local success of Vita Coco is the proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. Industry experts anticipate that the sale of juices and smoothies will continue to decline due to the ‘war on sugar’ as well as concerns over conditions such diabetes being linked to heavy sugar content drinks. Other drinks categories such as carbonates will also see demand softens as significant tax implications force prices up - unless these companies decide to absorb the taxes and reduce their profits.

However, he warns that there is danger in the way that sugars are being portrayed with all sugars being deemed as bad.

“There is a big difference between intrinsic and extrinsic sugars. Intrinsic sugars, such as those in fruit or coconuts, are naturally occurring and come with nutritional benefits. Extrinsic sugars are those that are added. If we are not careful, we could be telling African consumers and particularly children not to consume natural products because of their sugar content. As an industry, we have a responsibility to make sure that consumers can make an informed choice. Regardless of any legislation, the key things for us are making sure that the nutritional qualities and the ingredients of the product are on the label as well as delivering products that are tasty yet as healthy and natural as possible,” shares Brook.

Brook believes that one of the trends that will be emerging is that consumers will be moving away from products that contain additives and artificial ingredients, opting instead for those that are natural. For this reason, they will take more to coconut water, and more specifically Vita Coco.   

 “We have been cracking nuts and packing coconut water for over 12 years. Unlike the majority of coconut water brands who simply outsource their production, we have been working very closely with our farmers and packing facilities in their respective communities to ensure we have full visibility and control of our supply chain, we have also built up significant technical and quality expertise over this period which allows us to continually monitor and track our products to make sure the information we provide to consumers such as nutritionals and ingredients are as accurate as possible. We also work closely with regulatory bodies in each market to ensure our packaging is compliant with local laws, such as DAFF who we extensively consulted ahead of launching in South Africa last year,” he says.

The Vita Coco brand today is sold in over 30 countries with growing brand loyalty globally. Originally founded in the United States of America in 2004, Vita Coco quickly became the fastest growing beverage in the country and is today the leading coconut water brand in the country with over 40% market share in measured channels.  Vita Coco has expanded to over a dozen countries worldwide, including the UK, China, France, Germany, Spain and the UAE. After launching in the UK, its first overseas market, Vita Coco experienced strong international growth and is currently sold in over 125,000 retailers globally.

DA concerned by Stats of youth unemployment and poverty in the country

The DA in the Western Cape notes with the statistics released by Stats SA on the state of youth unemployment and poverty in the country.

I will write to the Minister of Social Development in the Western Cape, Albert Fritz, to inquire whether the programmes which are focused on the previously disadvantaged communities is facilitating youth employability in the province. We must ensure that the youth in those communities not only have access to quality education, but also have support systems in place that will ensure that they remain in school and obtain skills that will enable to access jobs.

Nationwide, unemployment among the youth between the ages of 15-34 remains worryingly high at 39, 5%. Lack of education and of skills has a major impact on youth unemployment. Although universities boast huge enrolment numbers of youth from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, the reality is that many do not complete their studies and remain unemployed.

A major concern is that unemployed young people may get caught up in criminal activities, such as gangsterism and even become involved in substance abuse.  It is fundamental to ensure that quality education is given to all young people in the country as this is the only way to end poverty and inequality.  The failure of National Government to provide our youth with the quality education, which is their right, is crippling our society as our youths face a bleak future.

Skills development programmes in combination with a quality education play a pivotal role in reducing poverty and crime, and the DA in the Western Cape is committed to ensuring that all youths in the province have access to quality education that will make them employable in the future.  We must provide the best possible environment and opportunities for all youth in the province. 

The DA in the Western Cape understands the important role that educations plays in reducing poverty and unemployment and thus urge the youth to seize opportunities availed to them and remain in school.

Milpark Business School MBA Webinar

Join Milpark Business School for a free MBA information webinar on 20 April 2016 at 18h00, where you will learn more about the Private MBA in South Africa. You can access this online webinar from anywhere in the world, free of charge.

The webinar will focus on Milpark Business School’s two different MBA options (Level 8 and Level 9), the current admission requirements and the new admission requirements. At the end of the presentation, you will have the opportunity to have your individual questions answered.

With two intakes per year (January and July), Milpark Business School’s flexible delivery options are designed to fit today’s modern, time-sensitive lifestyle, with the option to study through contact learning via evening or weekend classes, or distance learning.

Learn more about the Milpark Business School MBA and how to earn an internationally recognised qualification. 

Join the webinar here at 18h00 on Wednesday, 20 April 2016:

The Milpark MBA – relevant, contemporary and mind-shifting

Since 2009, Milpark’s MBA has consistently been rated in the Top 10 of accredited Business Schools in South Africa. has recently completed its survey on Accredited Business Schools offering MBA degrees in South Africa and Milpark Business School (MBS) in Johannesburg is to receive the Silver Arrow Award for the third consecutive year. MBS placed third overall in’s annual (2015) survey, and our MBA offering has been rated the #1 private MBA degree in South Africa for the fifth year running.

Milpark Business School pursues best-practice management education through responsive and flexible learning solutions, relevant and quality tuition, service and support excellence, and dynamic partnerships within the industry.

 “We pride ourselves on our MBA graduates. They prove to be exemplary performers in the marketplace, raising the bar and setting an example that commands respect. Milpark Business School graduates are responsible leaders who project concern for humanity and the earth in the context of accountable business practice. Grounded by strong, local business roots, they tackle the marketplace with a global vision and are equipped with a solid foundation and the core competencies required managing a successful business,” says Cobus Oosthuizen (Ph.D.), Dean of Milpark Business School.

Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC) warns to shut its doors

According to South African labour news and Business Times, the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC) warns to shut its doors if companies and unions do not agree to an 18% levy increase.

The council, which services about 300,000 employees and more than 10,000 employers, has not had a levy increase since 2011 and now has a R14m deficit.  

It is unable to pay some service providers and has temporarily halted dispute resolution services due to lack of funds.  The council has been asking for an increase in levies almost every year since 2011, but this has been rejected by employers because of slow economic growth and the contraction in the steel industry.  

The levy collection was also affected by an industry strike in 2014 as well as a four-month delay in the renewal of the levy last year.

MEIBC general secretary Thulani Mthiyane is concerned that should the council close or cut its 150 staff members, the industry would deteriorate into a noncomplying and deregulated one.  

Employers' organisation Seifsa is encouraging employers to look at the big picture.  Irvin Jim of steelworkers union Numsa says the reason the council had not received any increase on levies was that there was a level of hostility from employers who were against collective bargaining. 

The council will meet with employers and unions on 11 May to ask for the 18% increase in the levy.



South African labour news and Business Times

getTOD launches first truly on-demand Uber for home services in Cape Town.

Home owners looking for a quick, safe and reliable way to find repair serviceman, such as plumbers, electricians or locksmiths, can now simply pick up their smart phone, find and book their service using getTOD, a new mobile application-based on-demand service launched by four Cape Town entrepreneurs.

getTOD (get Tasks On Demand) allows users to seamlessly connect with service providers who meet their particular need using location based tracking and supplier availability in real time. Users no longer need to waste time searching the internet or a telephone directory for a supplier to meet their needs, and they no longer need to wait for days to fit into that supplier’s diary.

“The application is the first of its kind and truly on-demand application, which allows its users to cut out the uncertainty and frustration that typically comes with finding a home repair supplier,” says co-founder Shannon Mackrill.

“Our goal was to disrupt an industry that is fraught with irregular pricing, poor service levels and inconsistent quality in a way that sets new benchmarks for service delivery and pricing.”

The getTOD application is free for download and availble for iPhone and Android. The app works much as Uber does: a home owner logs their need on the application, sharing their location and requirements, and a service provider in the area who is ‘available’ on the service will accept the job. The home owner can track the service provider’s progress until they arrive at the job, and will effect payment through the application’s secure payment functionality via a pre-loaded credit card. getTOD works with a strict standardised price per hour per category.

The getTOD team offers an insured service to consumers and provides twenty four hour emergency services seven days a week. Background checks are performed on all service providers who are also screened before they join the application, to ensure they meet getTOD’s high standards. Standardised prices mean that home owners don’t get any unpleasant surprises when the time comes to pay the bill – and they are not charged any additional costs for using the service.

Clients are able to rate the service they receive from the supplier, giving other potential users a quick insight into the experience they can expect from the service provider that accepts their call for help through the application.

getTOD has launched today in the Cape Town Southern Suburbs, Atlantic Seaboard and Cape Town CBD, offering quick and simple access to approved electricians, plumbers and locksmiths that can service these areas. It will soon cover more areas in Cape Town, and will expand to other regions in South Africa during the year. The app has received substantial backing by a notable UK investor.

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