Montagu Dried Fruit and Nuts

Sunshine in a Packet

Montagu Dried Fruit and Nuts

Full Description




The Brand

A proudly South African brand story

CEO Hannes Jansen explains why the Montagu Dried Fruit and Nuts brand resonates so strongly with consumers…

From the small town of Montagu comes the big success story of Montagu Dried Fruit and Nuts – a company known today for its vibrant orange brand and sunshine in a packet. It started with humble beginnings, at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains in the Western Cape. Montagu – known for its hot mineral springs, scenic mountains and agricultural excellence is also known as the dried fruit pantry of South Africa – the perfect setting for our story.

In the early part of 2001 the two sons of a local teacher, De Wet and Hannes van Rooyen, started packaging smaller units of dried fruit, which they purchased from local fruit dryers and sold them through independent fruit and vegetable shops and farm stalls. The brothers’ passion for satisfying customer needs and product innovation soon lead to the expansion of the product range with the addition of nuts and other speciality products. Later, Montagu started packing products for retail house brands, which lead to the acquisition of automated packing machines.

Growth was inevitable and when Hannes Jansen, the current CEO, joined the company in 2011, Montagu’s growth was accelerated. The brand started painting South Africa orange with the introduction of a franchising concept in July of 2011. Since then, 120 outlets have opened its doors, with Montagu Dried Fruit and Nuts fast becoming a household name and its vibrant orange branding flamboyantly adding sunshine to some of South Africa’s leading shopping centres.

Sunshine in a packet

“The brand is successful as a result of the relentless drive to provide quality products at affordable prices, combined with high business ethics,” says Jansen, when questioned about the favour with which the brand has been received by the market.

Jansen and the team at Montagu Dried Fruit and Nuts believes that a brand is a promise kept, and their assurance to customers is that they will never compromise on quality. “We buy our fruit and nuts from farmers who operate within the framework of Best Agricultural Practices, which allows us to offer products of outstanding quality and in keeping prices very competitive. Our customers know that they can rely on this,” says Jansen. The company’s drive for absolute quality is endorsed by the fact that they employ a full-time qualified Food Technician, specialising in food safety and quality. “We bring the quality from Mother Nature’s hands to ours, and then to yours. Our products are selected with care, packed with care and distributed with care. We also deal with our customers with care and they can trust us that we will always deliver top quality products,” says Jansen.

Quality, however doesn’t stop with what’s in the packet. “Our tagline ‘Sunshine in a packet’ sums up the passion of our brand. We want to pack quality products that add the warmth, health, quality and energy of sunshine to the lives of our customers; and we want to live this out in our stores and in everything that we do as a business. We aim to connect with our customers emotionally and want to create the same feeling in them that sunshine has on a person after a cold rainy day. What could be more important than the sun in keeping us alive and healthy, not least when it comes to our core product offering?”

In addition to quality, Montagu also boasts the biggest variety of dried fruit, nuts and seeds. “There is no other outlet like ours. The concept of a dedicated sales outlet specialising in the sale of such a large variety of dried fruit, nuts and seeds products, makes our stores unique,” says Jansen. Montagu stores carry 125 different product lines in different packaging sizes.

Jansen is quick to admit, however, that building a business of Montagu’s stature and reach hasn’t been without its difficulties. “The challenges were numerous, but with each challenge we became more resilient,” he says. “Finding the right locality and matching this with the right ‘bloodline’ franchisee was, and remains, a crucial success factor. Funding our growth has also had its challenges, resulting in Acorn Agri taking up a majority shareholding in our company. We are extremely blessed with a shareholder of this stature, who supports us all the way in our growth path’. The future of the dried fruit, nuts and seeds market are closely assimilated with the general retail environment in South Africa, but we will continue to paint South Africa orange and in the process support a healthier lifestyle.”

Growing the footprint

The decision to franchise was taken to benefit the wider South African economy. “We saw franchising as an opportunity to develop a national footprint and to grow our brand awareness. In addition to this we want to give local entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop their own business, whilst enjoying the benefit of an established brand and solid franchisor support,” says Jansen.

As to what’s next for this thriving dried fruit and nuts empire, Jansen says that SADC countries and Mauritius are currently on their radar screen with major launches planned within the next month or two. Locally they are looking at expanding inland and on the South Coast with at least 150 stores nationwide by 2016.

Jansen is determined that Montagu must at all times be recognised as the leader in the category of the supply of dried fruit, nuts and seeds. With the growing awareness of a healthier lifestyle, the brand wants to partner with the South African consumer in providing the means to achieve this; and for the brand and tagline to become a household name associated with quality products and a healthier lifestyle.

“Our vision for the future is for the brand to become synonymous with dried fruit, nuts and seeds – much as Rooibos has become synonymous with tea.”

From an article first published in Your Business Magazine August/September 2015

Concept

Montagu Dried Fruit & Nuts are speciality retailers of health food and snack products hailing from the picturesque town of Montagu in the Western Cape. On the back of an increased global awareness about health and wellness, Montagu Dried Fruit & Nuts offers an exciting franchise opportunity in the health and snack food retail sector.

With a product range consisting of dried fruits and nuts, jams, chutneys, yoghurt-covered dried fruits, olives, olive oils and Muscadel products, Montagu Dried Fruit & Nuts outlets are exclusive retailers of health food and snack products.
Montagu Dried Fruit & Nuts is a favourite with health conscious individuals trying to avoid the typical on-the-go snack food people habitually succumb to.

Franchise stores are best established in malls, strip malls or large convenience centres in locations that enjoy good visibility. Premises of between 30m² and 60m² will be able to accommodate a Montagu Dried Fruit & Nuts store with ease.

The franchisee would typically employ two sales people. Employees should be service oriented, friendly and self-motivated and prior experience in a sales environment will be advantageous.

Support

The franchisor supports the franchisee during the establishment of the business by providing assistance with the set-up requirements including the initial stock order and stock inventory requirements. The franchisor also advises on the suitability of proposed premises and the number of staff required.

During the extensive training programme conducted over three days, Montagu franchisees receive business management, inventory management and product training and are introduced to Pastel accounting systems. During a visit to the Montagu farm they are exposed to the manufacturing process and quality control measures employed at the manufacturing facility. The visit includes a visit to the olive farm, the jam factory and the chutney factory. A comprehensive Operations Manual forms an important part of the training module.

As part of their national brand building campaign, the franchisor runs editorials in newspapers and trade publications and a website is also established for each franchisee.

Are You Our Next Franchisee?

The ideal Montagu Dried Fruit & Nuts franchisee is a community operator with superior people’s management skills and a people person with an eye for detail. To be successful as a Montagu Dried Fruit & Nuts franchise owner, one must be comfortable in a sales environment.

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