CAPE TOWN, South Africa, 1 November 2022, /African Media Agency/- PepsiCo is finalizing an investment proposal of approximately USD 40 million (2 billion Birr)to expand its Senselet snacks business in Ethiopia, and is considering the possibility of further investments in the country to expand the company’s portfolio beyond snacks.
Senselet is a wholly owned PepsiCo subsidiary that produces chips under the brand name SUN Chips. The company was established in 2015, the potato processing site was constructed in 2017 and commercial production started later that same year.
Chris Wijnterp, General Manager of PepsiCo’s Foods unit in Ethiopia explains that “The investment is further proof of the confidence that PepsiCo has in the potential of the country for economic growth.”
“This cash injection will allow us to increase our production capacity for snacks tenfold” adds Wijnterp and clarifies, “This also allows us to further leverage PepsiCo’s expertise to help accelerate the growth of Senselet in Ethiopia by boosting its potato sourcing programs, as well as its manufacturing and go-to-market capabilities”.
The investment will fund the creation of another potato chip as well as another snacks line within the existing production facility. Today, Senselet produces and sells Natural (salty), Habesha (locally spiced), Tomato and Paprika flavored potato crisps in 3 different pack sizes. SUN Chips are sold across approximately 10,000 outlets in Ethiopia which are predominantly Souks (small market shops).
PepsiCo’s strong knowledge of potato cultivation will also enable Senselet to take the next steps in contributing to the development of the potato value chain and agriculture sector in Ethiopia. “This forms part of our efforts under the PepsiCo Positive strategy to help build a more sustainable food system in Ethiopia – one that can meet human needs and continue to drive global economic and social development, within the planet’s natural boundaries”.
The company aims to contribute to food security in Ethiopia by developing the production of potatoes locally, increasing farmers’ income and building a more stable potato value chain. The company has established strong business partnerships with local farmers as well as commercial partners over the past 6 years and is expected to establish further agriculture partnerships to ensure quality and availability of ingredients. These efforts will contribute to the PepsiCo Positive agenda, a strategic end-to-end transformation with sustainability at the center of how the company will create growth and value by inspiring positive change for the planet and people.
The establishment of the company in Ethiopia in 2017 resulted in the creation of more than 300 jobs as well as the establishment of initial exports to two neighboring countries. “In addition, it allowed for the procurement of potatoes from several thousands of smallholder farmers, which subsequently doubled their respective income via improved yields and prices” explains Wijnterp.
The new investment will create over 500 additional jobs, while also a strong CSR roadmap is defined to further strengthen our role and contribution in local communities. “As an example, we have been donating potatoes to IDP’s in the Amhara region, while under our PepsiCo Foundation umbrella we have donated meals to the elderly during the pandemic”, Wijnterp indicates.
“PepsiCo’s decision to further invest in Ethiopia will result in an acceleration of this impact, with a specific focus to increase our exports revenues, to become net hard currency positive while increasing our agricultural demand and footprint both in potatoes as well as additional crops”.
Welcoming the announcement from PepsiCo regarding this investment, the Ethiopian Investment Commissioner, Lelise Neme said: “This announcement is testament to the work the Ethiopian government has done in creating conducive investment environment for foreign companies. The Ethiopia Investment reform process has also improved the opportunities for investment and widened the range of sector and economic activities open to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)” and added “We look forward to witnessing the growth of PepsiCo in Ethiopia and the subsequent benefit to our economy, communities and agricultural sector”.