With Africa representing a rapidly growing population of a billion consumers which is increasing at 2¼ times the rate of the rest of the world, plant-based protein distributor, Infinite Foods, believes there is a better way to feed the planet.
Infinite Foods’ mission is to raise awareness of the environmental impact of animal-based protein, decrease South Africa’s dependence on it, and create consumer solutions that replace animal protein with plant protein.
With the belief that adopting a plant-based diet is the single most powerful and positively impactful choice a consumer can make, Infinite Foods has recently appointed Nqabisa Gabriel as its area sales manager for South Africa’s Gauteng region. We discussed the long-term goals of Infinite Foods with Ms. Gabriel and her plans for increasing the demand for plant-based proteins in Africa.
Please introduce Infinite Foods to our readers and describe its mission.
Infinite Foods aims to be the leading distributor, licensor, and manufacturer of the best-in-class plant-based protein products in Sub-Saharan Africa.
We are enabling leading plant-based food brands from around the world, including category-leading brands in meat, milk, eggs, cheese, and fish alternatives to enter the African market. We also make efforts to move toward the ultimate goal of fostering a nutritious and sustainable food supply while ultimately contributing to feeding the world.
Tell us a little about Infinite Foods’ current partner brands.
Infinite Foods has already secured relationships with leading plant-based brands, including the US-based Beyond Meat (burgers and sausage), French Nature Et Moi (cheese), Swedish Oatly (milk), Miyokos (butter) and is in discussions with several other category-leading plant-based brands.
Our company’s experience, track record, and regional/local market expertise are highly impressive and dramatically reduces the risk for companies considering entering Africa.
Please describe how plant-based protein provides one of the critical pillars of global food security.
While introducing higher-tech plant-based foods to Africa may sound counterintuitive, it actually makes perfect sense in a region where people are concerned about the food supply, nutrition, and sustainability.
Africa is unique in that we have an opportunity to help consumers leapfrog from a carbohydrate centric diet, past processed foods, and excessive meat and dairy consumption to healthy, plant-based food. Food security is a major global concern. The consequences are felt most acutely in Africa and other emerging markets.
Africa already has 1 billion consumers and a population growth rate at 2.25 times that of the rest of the world. Africans eat $70 billion worth of milk and meat protein alone – and thus represent a substantial market. With a growing middle class and increased tourism, the African market holds clear promise going forward.
We’re importing plant-based products in the short term, but Infinite Foods is also focused on creating manufacturing capacity of plant-based food in Africa (with Africa-grown input crops) as a key strategic goal.
Our industrialized livestock system simply cannot keep up with demand without killing the planet in the process. Plant-based food is one of the many solutions we need to feed the world. Because we still need Mother Earth!
What do you believe are the key drivers behind the transition and acceptance of plant-based eating in South Africa?
I believe that the key drivers include health, nutrition, and increased concerns about the sustainability of our food supply – and the desire of many consumers to cut down on traditional meat consumption.
South Africans are becoming more health-conscious as we become affected by lifestyle diseases more and more – and we are becoming more aware of what impacts our environment negatively.
Our society at large is also starting to challenge our leaders on their stance towards climate change because the devastating effects of weather and rainfall pattern changes have already made themselves felt to South Africans.
How will Infinite Foods grow its market share?
It all starts with great taste! We aim to be the category leader in each plant-based alternative category on the African continent.
In the first phase of our roll-out, we’ve started by supplying to food services, outlets, and restaurants in Southern Africa. This distribution network has been growing well.
The second phase will involve bringing our incredible brands direct to the consumer, which is when we expect our market share to soar dramatically (we have already initiated negotiations with supermarket chains and other significant players in the FMCG sector).