19 November 2013
Anglo-Dutch consumer goods firm Unilever is investing about R500-million in an environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art ice cream factory in Midrand, north of Johannesburg, which is expected to start production in 2015.
A breaking-ground ceremony, attended by the deputy director-general of the Department of Trade and Industry, Pumla Ncapayi, was held on the site earlier this month.
“The ice cream market in South Africa is relatively small, but is one that we believe has significant potential,” Unilever South Africa chairman Peter Cowan said in a statement. “South Africans eat only one litre of ice cream a year, when Turks eat nearly 2.5 litres and New Zealanders 15 litres.
“With investments planned across South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Kenya and Zimbabwe, this is just another example of our multi-year, multi-million investment plan to cater for our growth in South Africa.”
The new investment follows the announcement earlier this year of a R1-billion investment in new Home Care facilities in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, and the announcement at the end of 2011 of a R670-million investment in a new savoury products factory in Durban.
The facility will be built using new construction techniques to create a low-energy, low-impact factory. It will use efficient motors, drive mixers, air compressors and technology for the recovery and reuse of water, all of which will substantially reduce energy consumption.
“The manufacturing sector continues to play a pivotal role in ensuring that South Africa achieves higher rates of economic growth that we need,” Ncapayi said at the sod-turning ceremony. “Unilever has been a critical part of the process, and we look forward to it continuing to play a role in ensuring that South Africa becomes an even more globally competitive manufacturing location.”
The new factory will increase the company’s capacity for growth and enable it to meet increasing demand for ice cream brands such as Magnum, Cornetto and Gino Ginelli.
Unilever employs 2 700 people full-time in South Africa, with manufacturing plants in Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg.