Entrepreneur Wendy Mpendulo will be one of 26 entrepreneurs chosen by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) to exhibit their products in France later this week. Speaking to Vutivi News, the founder of Miante Manufacturing, said that this trip would put her products on the international map. The DTIC announced that the 26 companies would be showcasing their products at the Sial Paris International Food Products Exhibition from 15 to 19 October.
The DTIC has set up a South African national pavilion at the exhibition, and Mpendulo’s company will be one of those showcasing their products. The event is a popular trade show, which according to the department, is regarded as the world’s leading exhibition network. Mpendulo’s company manufactures snacks from various types of nuts including curried nuts, caramelised nuts, macadamia nuts, moringa nuts, almond nuts, and cashew nuts.
The Tshwane-based business, which has been operating since 2016, also manufactures peanut butter. Mpendulo told Vutivi News that although her products have been outside South Africa’s borders, introducing them to the European market is a whole new ball game. “I have been exporting my products on a small scale to eSwatini, so going to France will assist me in exporting my products to the right market,” she said.
“I have learned that Europeans consider snacks as a very important part of their diet, and they have a particular affinity for nuts,” Mpendulo said that she applied for the opportunity to travel to France when she saw an advertisement on the DTIC’s website, calling for businesses to apply to be part of the exhibition. She was very excited when she found out that she was chosen. “I attend a lot of exhibitions and people would enjoy my products, but it is very difficult to get access to the right type of market,” she said.
“We are hoping that this trip will not only change that but will also open doors for us in the future to be able to set up shop in Europe, import our products from South Africa and create jobs for Europeans and South Africans alike.” Debra Ncube, who is the managing director of Cape Town-based company House of Natural Butter, said that she has already set up meetings with three distributors in the build-up to the exhibition.
“Our main objective for travelling to France is to strike deals during or after the exhibition that will enable us to penetrate the European market,” she said. “We are confident that our high-value agro-processing products will attract the attention of the distributors, particularly macademia butter. “South Africa is trending as the hub of highly valued macadamia products and we are hoping to ride on the crest of that wave,” she also said.