Boldly going where few South African specialists in grains and cereal have gone, would, this week, be Pioneer Foods, with the acquisition of UK outfit Steamfoods, for £7.5million, or a depressing number of rands. Steamfoods makes something called fruit shapes; also fruit flakes, yogurt fruit flakes, yogurt raisins, and school bars, which in our day were illegal. What? Ah yes. Not that sort of bar. It sells all of this through the usual supermarkets in the UK, but also through an online retailer by the name of Ocado. This is not as big a deal as might be imagined: “It’s just another dried-fruit business, basically, which is branded to grow operations in the UK,” says Standard Bank analyst Sumil Seeraj, on tones which may be described as blasé.
Comment: Still, with Pioneer’s expertise in the category, and their newly-upgraded manufacturing capacity, the acquisition increases the business’ exposure in an attractive market, at a time when things are not that rosy back home for anyone.