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Nando’s: Food innovation in South Africa

Robert Brozin, founder of Nando’s

Robert Brozin, CEO and Founder of Nando’s Chickenland, was born in Middelburg, about 200 kilometers from Johannesburg, South Africa. After a two-year army stint, a bachelor’s degree at University, and working two years at Price Waterhouse, he moved to Teltron, a Johannesburg-based electronics company. Whilst at Teltron, Brozin was introduced to Chickenland and envisioned building a global brand. Today that dream is a major success story. Brozin bought Chickenland with good friend Fernando Duarte, changed it into Nando’s, and today Nando’s is represented in 30 countries around the globe with almost 900 restaurants.

List of Nando’s countries implementations

Provocative ads

Since opening its first restaurant in 1987, Nandos has expanded to over a thousand locations in 30 countries on five continents. Its success secrets may well lie in its marketing: Nando’s’ numerous provocative yet witty commercials, such as an ad featuring a dimwitted busty blonde and another which depicted Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe reflecting on happy moments he enjoyed with fallen dictators such as Colonel Kaddafi and Saddam Hussein have made Nando’s’ flagship flame-grilled Peri-Peri chicken a hit among Africa’s young and hip. Nando’s meals are premised on traditional Mozambiquan-Portuguese dietary patterns and spices such as the ‘Pili Pili’. The company also manufactures a range of sauces which are sold in Nando’s restaurants and in supermarkets.

Portuguese-Mozambican cooking history

The Portuguese settlers to Mozambique were introduced to pili pili chili by the African Mozambicans who had incorporated it in their cuisine. The term ‘pili pili’ is Swahili for ‘pepper pepper’.The settlers began to use piri piri in their own daily cooking. The restaurant has its origins in a mining town in South Africa, where many Mozambicans of Portuguese origins relocated to Johannesburg in search of gold and carried piri piri recipes to South Africa. Industries catering to the mining communities began to grow in Rosettenville, including “Chickenland”. The restaurant began in 1987 when Portuguese-Mozambican Fernando Duarte along with Robert Brozin bought a restaurant called Chickenland in Rosettenville, southern Johannesburg in South Africa.They renamed the restaurant Nando’s, after Duarte.The restaurant incorporated influences from former Portuguese colonists from Mozambique, many of whom had settled on the south-eastern side of Johannesburg, after their homeland’s independence in 1975. The logo is derived from the Rooster of Barcelos.

Nando’s logo

Bug: Brazilian company innovates against Pesticides


Wasps to combat cash crops

Killer wasps! Fear not–this isn’t the movies. These predatory insects are the good guys, programmed to target only their natural enemy (which is not your scrawny behind). Bug Agentes Biológicos mass-produces wasps to combat larvae and stinkbugs that threaten sugarcane and soybean plants, two of Brazil’s largest cash crops. This past year, Bug perfected a way to spray its wasps onto soy fields, just as pesticides are spread via airplane. “We can liberate the insects in the right dose, at the right speed, and with the right protection so they can be effective,” says Francisco Jardim, a Brazilian VC who has invested in Bug and sits on its board. Wasps, for example, need to be protected until their wings grow big enough for flight, or else ants present a threat. (Isn’t nature grand?)

Third-largest agricultural exporter

Bug’s timing feels right. Brazil is the world’s third-largest agricultural exporter (behind the United States and EU); it recently passed the U.S. as the largest consumer of pesticides. Yet the country has begun to phase out the more noxious chemical pesticides Brazilian farmers use despite diminishing effectiveness. Bug has the only alternative approved by Brazilian agricultural, health, and environmental ministries. It’s currently at 100% capacity with plans to double the acreage it covers.

Preventive solution to eliminate pests as eggs

Bug describes its wasps to farmers as a preventative solution that eliminates pests as eggs, forestalling full-blown infestations. It also eschews selling to small organic farmers in favor of Brazil’s agribusiness giants, such as global sugarcane producers Royal Dutch Shell. “Our potential,” says Jardim, “is Brazil’s entire $7 billion pesticide market.”

Chicorée Leroux rewarded for its innovation


The drink Chicorée Leroux was awarded for its innovation in 2013 by OSEO the french public investment financing Bank.

It is a venerable institution of 155 years, the company Chicorée Leroux, which dusts, thanks to the price of industrial innovation in the North / Pas-de-Calais, a region of France, a bit outdated image linked to its flagship product, chicory .

Do not rely on rusty brick buildings where registration Leroux watermark reflects the age of the plant. In a newer wing, in a newly renovated room, sits the pilot machine which won a prize Leroux crowning more than 10 years of research.

Red packet decorated with a Breton and the brand name has been stored a long time ago to make way for 80 references chicory marketed: new packaging for grain, best known product, pods soluble product, flour Industrial chicory proposed to improve the softness of their breads.

16 500 tonnes of chicory per year.

“Some of our products are associated with either relatively difficult periods of history or to older people. These are sections that must be integrated, but we must try to understand the needs of tomorrow’s consumers and users says Olivier Hermand, CEO of Chicorée Leroux.

With his new machine acquired in 2011, a dryer roaster which saves a lot of data, Leroux can identify qualities chicory allowing “have an impact on the final product” bitterness, cultural practice, variety of chicory, says Gregory Volpoet, R & D Engineer One project focuses on ownership rewarded antioxidants. With a time of shortened process, the machine can quickly process 25 kilos of product on which tests are performed.

In normal times, 80,000 tonnes of roots are harvested between September and December by a network of 250 farmers, mainly in the Nord / Pas-de-Calais (and some fields in Picardy, another french region). Dried, they become chips, reduced to a weight of 23,000 tons, which will be roasted and processed in different forms: grains, soluble, liquid, flour … In the end, 16,500 tons are exiting the site Orchies (North): 96% chicory in France.

Innovation: focus of the company since 1858

Research and development, which is dedicated “to the minimum 1.5% of sales annually,” can “dust the historical side,” said Olivier Hermand. Although, note the leader, innovation has “always” been the focus of the company: in 1863, five years after its inception, the company filed the first patent for a packer mechanical Leroux who treated 200 packages per hour.

Main goal: “identify growth opportunities,” by understanding “the fit between the product and the potential consumer. Objective is not to sell a product but to provide a product that is consumed and used” says Olivier Hermand: Leroux seeks to “change your habits,” in other words to encourage the journalist who does not drink coffee to turn to its product.

International competition with Poland & India

Innovation is also necessary to fight against competition. While in France, Leroux has a virtual monopoly (96% of the market for pure chicory), the company is wary of its competitors, especially in Poland and especially in India, which led her to ask for more requirements on labeling.

International company

Chicorée Leroux  is a subsidiary of the holding Finaler, which also owns brands in Belgium (Pacha) and Spain (Molabe). The company recorded a turnover in 2012 of € 36 million, of which 37% is exported (50 different countries). It employs 185 people in Orchies (France), his seat.

The price of industrial innovation is given by OSEO, branch of the future French “Financing” Bank public investment project in partnership with the Ministry of Productive Renewal in France.

Related article

Food is ripe for innovation


The global population is on track to reach 9 billion by 2050. What are all those people going to eat?

We need to find new ways to deliver protein and calories to everyone. Our approach to food hasn’t changed much over the last 100 years. We need to look for new ways to raise nutrition in the poor world while shifting some of our choices in the wealthy world.

Fortunately, there are thousands of plant proteins in the world, and many of them have yet to be explored for use in the production of meat alternatives. Food is ripe for Innovation.