Canning and preserving fruit and vegetables holds numerous advantages for human beings and food security.
- Food is placed in the airtight container and cooked during the canning process, which safeguards the food from decay. No preservatives are needed.
- The transport and storage of food is easier. Food can be stored for long periods of time without needing refrigeration.
- Products such as peaches, pears and apricots are also available now throughout the year.
- The food is quickly and easily served.
International business environment
Greece, the USA, Spain and China are major role players in processed fruit products in the northern hemisphere. They are joined by Chile, Argentina and South Africa in the south.
- “Europe is the largest market for canned fruit and vegetables in the world, representing more than 42% of total world imports”. Find the study (updated December 2018) on Exporting canned fruit and vegetables to Europe at www.cbi.eu.
- The SADC Secretariat and German Development Corporation’s Profiling of the Regional Agro-Processing Value Chains in the SADC Region (March 2019) includes a look at fruit canning in Southern Africa.
- The Canned Fruits Market – Forecasts from 2018 to 2023 report is available at www.researchandmarkets.com/research/mbj7n3/worldwide_canned.
South Africa: imports and exports
The industry is export orientated. Approximately 85% of the industry’s canned and aseptic deciduous fruit products – namely peaches, apricots, pears, fruit cocktail and pineapples – are destined for export markets in Europe, Far East, North America, South America, Middle East and Africa.
The SA Fruit & Vegetable Canners’ Export Council (SAFVCEC) 2015 presentation to the then Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) looked at trade prospects, exports to India and China in particular.
Read the SAFVCEC page at www.safvca.co.za/safvcec.html.
Local business environment
Find information like tree census summaries, cultivars, fruit grading and a season harvest calendar at http://canningfruit.co.za.
The three main sectors of this industry – covering products which are canned, preserved or otherwise processed from fruit, vegetables and tomatoes and other related products – are:
- Deciduous fruit: based in the Western Cape. Includes products such as canned fruit, fruit in plastic cups, fruit purees, fruit concentrates and jams manufactured from the same raw material base.
- Pineapples: based in the Eastern Cape. Includes products such as canned pineapples, pineapple purees and concentrates.
- Tomatoes and vegetables: based in various parts of the country. Includes products such as canned and bottled vegetables, tomatoes, pulps, purees, pastes, sauces, spreads and condiments.
Raw materials are sourced from around 1 500 farms and about 600 000 tons of fresh fruit, tomatoes and vegetables are processed annually to produce goods with a market value of more than ZAR 5 billion. 1 500 farms and generate sales of nearly R5.0 billion. SAFVCA Members directly employ nearly 12 000 workers and 532 administrative and sales staff (see www.safvca.co.za/our_mission.html)
Approximately 85% of the industry’s canned and aseptic deciduous fruit products – namely peaches, apricots, pears, fruit cocktail and pineapples – are destined for export markets in Europe, Far East, North America, South America, Middle East and Africa.
The industry is labour-intensive and export-driven.
A combination of the drought, a smaller harvest and fruit size and a strong rand has made for tough times recently (CFPA, 2018).
For the newcomer
- Developing new farmers is very difficult, as start-up costs are high and the market highly volatile.
- Canning fruit diversifies market risks, with the canning segment of producers’ farms generating 10% to 50% of income. Most producers are therefore also producing other commodities. At the moment, canning fruit is alleviating the impact of low earnings from other commodities.
- Be sensitive to what is happening in the market and understand that supply and demand is the only thing that affects prices. Moreover, supply the market with good quality products that comply with market standards.
- Globally, there’s a growing concern about food safety and producers need to supply the market with guarantees that their produce is safe to eat.
Source: extracts from “Opportunities in the Canned Fruit industry”, an article in Farmer’s Weekly, August 23 2016.
National strategy and government contact
Processing and value add in agriculture is recognised by government as an important contributor towards job creation and poverty alleviation in South Africa. Accordingly, the sector currently enjoys the support of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) to promote its products in global markets. “Fruits and vegetables” is one of the areas identified by APAP (Agricultural Policy Action Plan) as holding enormous potential in the country’s achieving the goals set out in the National Development Plan (NDP).
The Public Private Partnership Fruit Canning Initiative between SAFVCA and the dtic was intended to “create a sustainable platform for the long-term growth and competitiveness of the industry”. The PPP is aligned with the National Development Plan (NDP 2030), the Industrial Policy Action Plans (IPAPs) and the Integrated National Export Strategy (INES).
- Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) Directorate: Food Safety and Quality Assurance Tel: 012 319 6049 matlous [at] dalrrd.gov.za www.dalrrd.gov.za
- Impumelelo Agribusiness Solutions Tel: 079 162 8103 www.impumeleloagribiz.co.za Appointed by DALRRD to perform inspection services
- Canning Fruit Producers’ Association (CFPA) Tel: 021 872 1401 inmaak [at] cfpa.co.za, http://canningfruit.co.za The CFPA is a voluntary association of canning fruit farmers in the Western- and Eastern Cape regions. The Association aims to serve the apricot, pear and peach growers and act on their behalf. They offer the services of: (i) grading regulations relating to the grading of fresh apricots, clingstone peaches and pears intended for processing in a factory (ii) setting spraying recommendations for maximum residue limits (iii) the handling of samples for residue analysis (iv) plant improvement.
- SA Fruit and Vegetable Canners’ Association (SAFVCA) Tel: 021 871 1308/9 www.safvca.co.za, www.safvca.co.uk The association is a voluntary grouping of fruit and vegetable canning/processing industry members. Its focus is the general manufacturing interests of this industry.
- SA Fruit & Vegetable Canners’ Export Council (SAFVCEC) Tel: 021 871 1308/9 www.safvca.co.uk/safvcec.html SAFVCEC operates in association with its sister organisation, the South African Fruit and Vegetable Canners’ Association (SAFVCA). Its focus is export promotion and development.
See also “Fruit juices” and the various fruit pages on Agribook.Digital.
Training and research
- ARC-Infruitec/Nietvoorbij Tel: 021 809 3100/35 www.arc.agric.za Training courses are given in: (i) fruit beverage workshops (including hands-on practical sessions) (ii) post-harvest handling of fresh fruit (iii) any other courses relevant to canning and jam production, provided there is sufficient demand. Evaluation is done on new fruit cultivars for the canning and drying industry.
- Canning companies provide learnerships and do HACCP training for their staff. Companies involved also do research – investigating new products and varieties.
- Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Food Technology Tel: 021 959 6236 www.cput.ac.za
- FoodBev SETA Tel: 011 253 7300 www.foodbev.co.za This is the Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) responsible for facilitating education and training in the food and beverages manufacturing sector.
- Hortgro Science Tel: 021 882 8470 www.hortgro-science.co.za
- SAPO Trust Tel: 021 887 6823 www.saplant.co.za A specialist plant improvement organisation
- Stellenbosch University (SU) Department of Food Science Tel: 021 808 3578 / 81 www.sun.ac.za/foodsci B.Sc. degree in Food Science (4 year course)
- SU Department of Horticultural Science Tel: 021 808 4900
Research for the fresh production of canning fruit is contracted to universities, as well as to the ARC-Infruitec/Nietvoorbij.
- Alfega International Tel: 011 608 1188 www.alfega.co.za/canned-foods
- Ashton Extracts Tel: 023 615 2307 www.ashtonextracts.co.za
- Boland Pulp – see Rhodes Food Group
- Breede Valley Fruit Processors Tel: 021 914 5514
- Deemsters – see Rhodes Food Group
- Del Monte Foods South Africa – see Rhodes Food Group
- Denny Mushrooms Tel: 0800 11 77 60 www.denny.co.za
- Giants Canning Tel: 011 623 2929
- Goudmyn Fruit Tel: 023 615 1474
- Hearshaw and Kinnes Analytical Laboratory (Pty) Ltd Tel: 021 702 4131 www.hkal.co.za
- Isabel’s http://isabels.co.za
- KOO Tel: 0860 100 891 www.koo.co.za
- Langeberg & Ashton Foods Tel: 021 870 5000 (Paarl) http://landaf.co.za, www.tigerbrands.co.za
- Rhodes Food Group Tel: 021 870 4000 www.rhodesfoodgroup.com
- Summerpride Tel: 043 700 6699 www.summerpride.co.za
- Swazican – Part of the Rhodes Food Group
- Tiger Brands Tel: 011 840 4000 www.tigerbrands.com
- Wellington Fruit Processors Tel: 021 873 0606
In addition, there are other vegetable canners and pulp/puree processors whose contact details may be obtained from SAFVCEC.
Websites and publications
Visit the role player websites listed earlier on this page.
- Die Krat is a bi-monthly newsletter which contains practical information regarding the canning fruit industry. Contact the CFPA for more information.
- Find the “Spraying Residue List 2019/2019” at http://canningfruit.co.za/spraying-residue-list/.
- Find the “Canning” article at the Food Advisory Consumer Services (FACS) website, https://foodfacts.org.za/canning.
- Also of interest is the presentation done by the industry to the then Department of Trade and Industry in 2015. It can be read here.
- Van der Walt J. 2021, January 18. “Apricot canning industry recovers after difficult period”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/agri-news/south-africa/apricot-canning-industry-recovers-after-difficult-period/
- Reporter. 2020, March 18. “SA’s Rhodes Foods Group to supply Walmart stores”. Bizcommunity. Available at www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/162/201686.html
- Reporter. 2018, December 6. “Worldwide Canned Fruits Markets to 2023: Leading Players are CHB Group, Del Monte Food, Princes Limited and Rhodes Food Group – ResearchAndMarkets.com”. Business Wire. Available at www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181206005419/en/Worldwide-Canned-Fruits-Markets-2023-Leading-Players
- Kriel, G. 2017, December 11. “Mechanised fruit farming: increase profits and create jobs”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/crops/fruit-nuts/mechanised-fruit-farming-profits-jobs/
- Kriel, G. 2016, August 23. “Opportunities in the Canned Fruit industry”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/agri-business/bottomline/opportunities-in-the-canned-fruit-industry/
- Staff Writer. 2015, June 22. “Rhodes Food Group unveils depot”. South African Food Review. Available at www.foodreview.co.za/constitution-road-wine-growers-ltd-opens-fully-operational-fruit-handling-depot/
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