By Business Reporter
SALES volumes of Etosha Fishing’s locally caught and canned horse mackerel product, Efuta Maasbanker, have increased nearly fivefold, since its introduction into the local retail market at the beginning of 2014.
Etosha Fishing Managing Director, Pieter Greeff, said that the product sales had doubled every year, since the product was introduced to the market.
“We are absolutely delighted by the uptake of Efuta Maasbanker, since its inception. During the first year of production we sold an estimated 80 000 trays. This more than doubled in 2015, to 180 000 trays, and again in 2016, with an estimated 390 000 trays sold,” he said.
This translates to nearly 4.7 million cans sold in 2016, as a tray holds 12 cans.
Efuta Maasbanker was born out of a joint venture agreement between Etosha Fishing and Erongo Marine Enterprises in November 2013, which resulted in the canning of 200 metric tons of locally caught horse mackerel, as a trial run.
The newly-canned product was officially introduced to the Namibian retail market through Shoprite in December 2013, and is currently distributed by CIC Grundleger to nearly all local retailers.
The venture was a direct response to an ongoing appeal by the Fisheries and Marine Resources Ministry’s for employment creation and value-addition in the horse mackerel sector, which is in line with the government’s Vision 2030 policy framework. The venture also allows for a more sustainable fisheries operation with secure, long-term employment for more Namibians.
“The project was driven by Minister Bernhardt Esau’s vision to put Namibia’s most abundant fish resource in a can; offering the nation an affordable, nutritious meal from the sea, delivered in robust packaging that has a long shelf life. But to can horse mackerel, and think that your product will take a major share of the market, is nothing short of ambitious. We had to ensure that we introduce a quality product,” says Greeff.
He adds that Efuta Maasbanker was the first Namibian canned product to receive the Namibian Standards Institution (NSI) Standard Mark of Conformity endorsement. It is also Halaal certified and carries the Team Namibia product mark.
Since Efuta Maasbanker’s introduction, Etosha Fishing has responded to market research and feedback to optimise sales. The product was initially launched in three flavours, namely tomato sauce, chilli and saltwater, with the latter being discontinued in recent years, due to poor sales.
In 2015, the smaller 155g jitney can was introduced, but was withdrawn shortly afterward, due to poor uptake. Efuta Maasbanker is now only sold in the 400g can size. Plans are on the cards to introduce a curry flavour. The label design has also since been refined, to make it more attractive to consumers.
Despite the short-term success of Efuta Maasbanker, Greeff said it was the company’s vision to hit in excess of two million tray sales per year.
He adds that the price is kept as low as possible, to ensure affordability, which makes effective marketing and market expansion into foreign markets extremely difficult. Focus, therefore, remains on the local market.
“Despite past and current challenges, Etosha Fishing is extremely proud to produce a quality product, such as this, which is caught and canned in the Land of the Brave. Through this endeavour, we have once again committed ourselves to the creation of jobs and value-addition to one of Namibia’s most valuable fish resources,” Greeff adds.
Established in the 1940s, Etosha Fishing Corporation is a leading player in the Namibian fishing industry, and is considered to be one of the major round can production facilities in the world. The company subscribes to the vision of “excellence in food processing”, and operates under Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) compliance and European Union accreditation. All its products comply with the South African National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) and NSI regulations and standards.
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