Multimillion vitamins plant opens in Gauteng

27th June 2002 By: Zonika Botha

One of the world’s leading research-based healthcare groups, Roche of Switzerland, has opened a new multimillion rand plant in Isando, Gauteng.

The plant, which will form part of the company’s South African Vitamins division, will manufacture vitamin premixes for the food industry.

Two Gauteng-based companies, Barrow Construction and Narker Pougnet Kriel (NPK), were responsible for the construction and project management of the new plant respectively.

“Equipped with state-of-the-art production technology, the facility marks a significant advance in our productivity and ability to supply high-quality ingredients to food manufacturers, and it will support projects aimed at improving the delivery of critical vitamins to consumers,” Roche Vitamins South Africa MD John Furniss told Engineering News Online.

The plant is the first part of a larger expansion project undertaken by the South African division. Phase two of the project will involve the construction of an additional facility to manufacture vitamin premixes for use in animal nutrition.

This specific expansion is still in its planning phase, but it is expected that the new facility will be completed within the next three years.

“These investments once again underscore the company’s leadership as a supplier of vitamins to the food, pharmaceutical and feed industries,” said Furniss, adding that the group’s expanded manufacturing base in South Africa also serves to reinforce Roche’s position as an important employer in the country and points to a very strong future of continued success for the vitamins division.

“Studies by independent institutes indicate that one in three children in South Africa has symptoms of vitamin A deficiency, and one way of combating this is to fortify basic foodstuffs with vitamin A, B and minerals, which is recognised by governments and leading food companies,” Furniss explained.

“With the new plant in Isando we are now in a position to supply the necessary vitamin premixes to various food groups, such as infant foods, beverages, margarine, flour and maize meal,” he added. Built in accordance with guidelines set by major food manufacturers, the facility will produce premixes satisfying the latest international standards of food hygiene.

While the bulk of the vitamin premixes produced by Roche South Africa will be used locally, a significant percentage will also be exported to sub-Saharan Africa. “With laws mandating the fortification of staple foods now being enacted in many African countries in cooperation with UNICEF and other organisations, we foresee exports to this region increasing gradually over the next few years,” Furniss concluded.