ZAMBIA – Zambia’s leading potato producer, Buya Bamba has vertically expanded its operations with an investment of US$7 million in a new processing factory for production of frozen chips.

The company specializes in supply of superior seeds, growing, harvesting, cleaning, sizing and packaging, as well as, the storage of fresh potatoes to provide the Zambian customers with a dependable source of local produce on a year-round basis.

The new facility located in Lusaka has been under construction for the past three years and is set for commissioning, reports Zambia Business Times.

Being a first of its kind in the country, the plant is aimed to cut importation of frozen chips mostly from South Africa, leading to forex saving in the economy.

It will be able to supply fast food chains such as Hungry Lion that are driving demand of potatoes in the market but require them in ready-to-cook format.

Buya Bamba’s Managing Director Anthony Barker, highlighted that local demand of potatoes has been on the rise over the past few years.

The current national consumption is around 120,000 metric tonnes annually, and with the rapid growth of fast-food businesses, an additional 10,000 metric tonnes of demand is being added annually.

With the recent investment, Buya Bamba joins the fast-growing frozen foods segment which Allied Market Research estimates that the global frozen food market is expected to reach US$404.8 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 4.2% from US$291.8 billion in 2019.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations, nearly one third of the food produced every year amounting to roughly US$680 billion (approximately 1.3 billion tons) gets either wasted, or lost.

The issue of food wastage has given birth to the frozen food market which is experiencing a colossal growth with an increase in disposable income, and accentuated refrigeration technology.

Also, shifting consumer inclination toward ready-to-eat (RTE) and convenience food products is providing a thrust to the market growth.

Due to the busy schedules and hectic lifestyles of the working populace, there is a rising demand for foods that require negligible cooking at home and can be prepared any time with ease.

Furthermore, product manufacturers are using attractive and sustainable packaging solutions with aggressive promotional activities through social media platforms to attract a wider consumer base, which is also contributing to the growth of the market.

Other factors, including rising expenditure capacities of the consumers, along with increase in the number of online food retail platforms, are anticipated to drive the market further.

Kenyan integrated food producer SimpliFine and South Africa-based producer of fresh, frozen and long-life convenience meal solution, RFG Holding are some of the food companies in the region who have recently invested in the segment.

RFG Holding has entered into an agreement with Pioneer Foods Wellingtons, to purchase its frozen foods business as a going concern, while SimpliFine opened its new processing facility in the East African economy.

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