Competition authorities in South Africa have approved the acquisition of national honey producer Highveld Honey by South African multi-brand food group Real Foods.

The South African Competition Commission said the acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, was “unlikely to substantially prevent or lessen competition”.

A Real Foods spokesperson told just-food Highveld “is the largest honey supplier in South Africa and provides honey for top South African retailers like Pick ‘n Pay and Spar, as well as to the restaurant industry”.

“Real Foods’ mission is to grow strong natural food brands across both the food and restaurant industries,” the spokesperson said. “Highveld Honey is a natural fit for our group, as honey is a natural, unprocessed food, and Highveld Honey has a strong market position in the South African honey category. We also have similar cultures, so we see Highveld Honey integrating well into the Real Foods group. We also predict strong growth in the honey category, as more and more customers substitute natural sweeteners like honey, for refined sugars.”  

The spokesperson added: “Highveld will continue to operate as a separate business within the Real Foods group and there will be no changes to the structure of either business following the acquisition.”

Real Foods was founded by CEO Dean Kowarski in 2013 and partnered with Johannesburg-based Genesis Capital Partners in 2014. Last August, Kleoss Capital Fund 1, managed by Kleoss Capital, acquired what Kowarski said was “a significant minority shareholding in Real Foods to enable it to pursue exciting new acquisitions in the natural food industry”. Kleoss Capital is a 100% black-owned South African private equity investment manager with a level one broad based black economic empowerment accreditation, investing in South African businesses.

Highveld, established in the 1960s, runs around 5,000 beehives. The firm distributes a range of South African honey products as well as imported honey to wholesale and retail markets, both locally and abroad.