SPAZA shops are the mainstay of life for many South Africans, playing a vital role in local food security and making a huge contribution to the economy.
They sell everyday staples like bread and milk and other essentials in small quantities, which is especially important for low-income households.
Yet the informal economy is often overlooked, receiving little support and inclusion in the greater economy.
This was particularly evident during the Covid-19 pandemic. While formal small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) received stimulus packages, government largely ignored the informal economy.
“But it’s not just up to government to solve the problem – there is also a meaningful role to be played by manufacturers and established brands in helping spaza store owners overcome some of their unique challenges in order to grow and thrive,” says Dr Hussein Cassim MD of sweet manufacturing firm Richester Foods.
Spaza shops operate in a highly competitive environment, and if their prices don’t remain low enough, the risk is that buyers will simply walk up the road to another spaza shop or save to shop at a large retailer notes Cassim.
“This places added pressure on margins, limits their market penetration potential, and prevents them from growing and expanding their businesses,” he said.
In response to these challenges, Richester Foods has pioneered a wide-range of affordable, quality sweets with the aim of generating healthy margins and profits for hawkers and spaza store owners.
The Coco Bongo chocolate bar is the sweet manufacturers latest creation and is available for only R2.50 each. Cassim points out that the low price tag gives potential sellers the opportunity to make up to 100% profit on each chocolate bar.
“By producing our products locally and remaining focused on ensuring that our chocolates and sweets are manufactured at attractive prices, we hope to play a meaningful role in driving value for local entrepreneurs and helping our clients to grow their businesses, especially in such difficult times for the country,” said Cassim.