Innscor’s US$127m investment strategy should put many rivals on notice

Innscor expansion: Mafuro Farming's new milking parlour near Kwekwe

The country’s biggest food manufacturer, Innscor Africa, is laying out its two-year US$127 million investment plan, targeting rapid growth in competitive spaces such as cereals and dairy.

Innscor listed on the VFEX stock exchange on Friday, hoping that the move from the ZSE will help it raise more capital from investors to fund expansion in Zimbabwe and support growth offshore. 

Current investment projects include a new US$22 million factory in Bulawayo – which will help Bakers Inn dominate the country’s southern provinces – and US$32 million worth of growth projects at Natfoods, said Innscor CEO Julian Schonken. 

At Natfoods, Innscor is spending US$6 million on a flour mill in Bulawayo, US$13 million on a pasta and biscuit line in Harare, and US$4 million for Natfoods’ new breakfast cereal range, NutriActive.

The cereal brand will fight for shelf space in a market dominated by Nestlé’s Cerevita. 

“This is an extremely exciting time for Natfoods,” Schonken said. 

Innscor chairman Addington Chinake and executives witness the company’s VFEX listing

Dairy plans

Schonken has also detailed the company’s ambitions to grow its dairy business ProDairy, the fastest growing unit in the Innscor group. 

“We’re in the process of executing on an investment programme of around US$20 million for this business,” he says. 

Apart from upgrading the processing side, Innscor is investing on the supply end of dairy. ProDairy gets its raw milk from contract farmers and its Mafuro Farming division. But, in keeping with Innscor strategy of producing its own inputs, the company is investing heavily into raw milk supply.

“Part of our current investment is the creation of a new greenfield mega milking operation in the Midlands under Mafuro. Once complete, this site will be home to 2000 milking animals, and will represent the largest single raw milk operation in Zimbabwe,” says Schonken. 

Innscor’s dairy unit, ProDairy, currently lags behind larger rival Dairibord on raw milk intake. In 2020, Dairibord signed a deal with Tavistock, its largest raw milk supplier, to secure its supplies.

Innscor is taking on the competition elsewhere. Last year, Innscor launched its sorghum beer brand, Nyathi, under an US$11 million investment, to compete with Delta’s dominant Super beer. Nyathi will be driven by “competitive product pricing”, Schonken says.