South Africa’s Tiger Brands has invested R300m ($15.8m) in a new peanut-butter manufacturing facility in Johannesburg.

The food group has opened the plant for its Black Cat peanut-butter brand “to meet consumer demand for value and affordability while improving efficiencies”, according to a statement.

It added that packaging line upgrades will introduce “greater in-house flexibility for quicker innovations and new product offerings”. 

Tjaart Kruger, the CEO of Tiger Brands, said: “Consumers are looking for affordable and healthier food options. Peanut butter is an important staple in the South African diet, and we expect strong growth in this category.

“This new facility will introduce flexibility, improved efficiencies and reduce our cost profile, allowing us to retain our prominent position in the market and respond to consumer needs.”

Tiger Brands, owner of Beacon confectionery and Oros drinks brands, said the South African peanut-butter category accounts for 50% or R1.7bn of the total South African spreads market excluding margarine, which is worth R3.4bn.

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Black Cat peanut butter is “one of the biggest in the market” with five million kilogrammes of Black Cat sold per year in retail stores, according to the statement from Friday (12 April).

“This is a significant investment by Tiger Brands which will further strengthen and grow a proudly homegrown brand. As consumers seek value for money, we are well positioned as one of the top players in the market to meet their needs of affordability and nutritional value with the added benefit of superior quality, attributes that Black Cat is known for,” said Dumo Mfini, culinary managing director at Tiger Brands.

Just Food has contacted Tiger Brands for further details.

In February, the South African food company reshuffled its organisational structure into six business units with the aim to “improve profitability”.

The food group has created units for bakeries, grains, culinary, treats and beverages, home and personal care, snacks and baby food, divisions which will all report to the CEO under individual executives.