13 companies tapping into the health and wellness trend in Africa and beyond

As consumers worldwide adopt healthier lifestyles, demand for health and wellness foods is booming. Here are 13 companies taking advantage of this trend.

1. Entrepreneur wants Uganda to have a bigger slice of the $7bn market for superfood moringa

Teddy Ruge, CEO of Raintree Farms

Teddy Ruge, CEO of Raintree Farms

Uganda based Raintree Farms, established in 2012, specialises in the production and processing of organic moringa, a crop known for its health benefits. The company’s farm and processing facility are located in western Uganda near the town of Masindi. Read the full article.

2. Nigeria: Baby steps to a booming infant food business

Seun Sangoleye, founder of Baby Grubz

Seun Sangoleye, founder of Baby Grubz

Lagos-based Baby Grubz’ range of food items comprises fine dried fruit and vegetables that can be reconstituted and eaten as a porridge or used in mixtures for foods like pancakes and muffins. Read the full article.

3. Kenyan serial entrepreneur now eyeing the camel milk industry

Camels from Nourishing Nomads’ herd.

Early in his career, Kenyan serial entrepreneur Hassan Bashir co-founded Zawaam Insurance Brokers and ICT company Soliton Telmec. Then he built the Islamic insurance firm Takaful Insurance of Africa before leaving in 2016 to focus on his doctoral degree. Bashir has started developing the business plan for Nourishing Nomads, a company which will establish an entire value chain around camel milk in Kenya’s Wajir County, where Bashir grew up. Read the full article.

4. How So Fresh tapped into an opportunity in Nigeria’s healthy food market

A So Fresh outlet

Ten years ago, Olagoke and Abimbola Balogun started So Fresh, a healthy food restaurant and retail chain. At the time, the health and wellness foods industry was almost non-existent in Nigeria. However, it has since picked up steam and is becoming mainstream. Today, So Fresh has grown to 10 of its own branded outlets, evolving from selling fruits and vegetables in the early days to salads, juices and smoothies. Read the full article.

5. A vegan ice cream business: Sinenhlanhla Ndlela’s journey so far

Yococo ice cream

Sinenhlanhla Ndlela is the founder of vegan ice cream brand Yococo. No banana splits here. No chocolate sprinkles. Just vegan, dairy-free ice cream made from nut-based milk and organic fruit and vegetables. Read the full article.

6. Nigerian businessman grows agricultural trading business after securing first client through LinkedIn

AgroEknor employees processing hibiscus flowers.

Nigerian commodity trading company AgroEknor’s key focus is hibiscus, a flower currently in high demand for processing into tea as well as an ingredient in various wellness products in its powdered form. “The demand is high, especially with the renewed focus on healthy living due to Covid-19. We’ve had a lot of health and wellness multinationals approaching us as hibiscus has been proven to be an antioxidant,” says founder Timi Oke. Read the full article.

7. Agribusiness company identifies demand for African-grown superfoods in German market

The ZUVA product line-up.

Healthy superfoods, the rise of the convenient snacking culture, and the adventurous culinary consumer. It is the convergence of these three food trends – currently prevalent in the European market – that led to the launch in late 2020 of ZUVA, an all-natural food brand made from produce grown in Africa. Read the full article.

8. How this entrepreneur went where nobody goes to start dried fruit business in Mozambique

AfriFruta factory in Mozambique
In a remote area with little infrastructure and a dearth of educated workers, Jaco le Roux created a dried fruit business from scratch. AfriFruta currently produces a variety of dried fruit – including mango, pineapple, papaya and banana – as well as several coconut-related products. All the products are organic and the company benefits from growing consumer demand for health foods. The bulk of the dried fruit is exported to Europe – mostly the Netherlands and Germany. Read the full article.

9. Rwandan company making bread and biscuits from sweet potatoes

A loaf of Vita sweet potato bread.

Rwandan company CARL Group processes sweet potatoes to produce bread and biscuits under the Vita brand. “We use orange-fleshed sweet potatoes that have a high vitamin content, particularly vitamin A,” notes founder Umugiraneza Regis. Read the full article.

10. Zimbabwe-based entrepreneur wants to create a global market for baobab products

A woman carries baobab fruits.

Gus Le Breton and his partner established B’Ayoba in 2012, to “specifically try and turn baobab into a resounding commercial success”. Since then, the market has quadrupled or quintupled in size, he says. “We have definitely made a lot of progress but we are not there yet. It has frustrated me that baobab has not had as rapid a market uptake as I would obviously have liked to have seen.” Read the full article.

11. South African soft drink brand taps into global health trend

A selection of Pura Soda flavours.

Three years after launching into its local market, the South African lower-calorie, lower-sugar soft drink, Pura Soda, is already available in 13 countries, including the US. The drinks have flavours such as Seville orange, cucumber and lime, and lemon and elderflower. Founder and CEO Greig Jansen ascribes the company’s growth to hard work, planning and market research, but acknowledges that the startup has been fortunate to ride the global wave of increasing demand for healthier beverages. At 11.6g per 330ml can, Pura Soda contains less than half of the sugar that average soft drinks have. Read the full article.

12. How this Ghanaian entrepreneur returned home from the US to commercialise the moringa tree

Kwami Williams

Kwami Williams is CEO of MoringaConnect, a Ghanaian company which manufactures food and personal care products from the moringa tree. “Through our True Moringa brand, we create health and beauty products powered by nutrient-rich moringa. We’re on a mission to make wellness accessible by bringing underutilised superfood ingredients to underserved people on the continent and beyond,” he explains. Read the full article.

13. ‘An uphill battle’: Entrepreneur explains how she built a dried fruit snacks brand in Nigeria

ReelFruit founder Affiong Williams

In 2012, after moving back to Nigeria from South Africa where she had lived for 12 years, Affiong Williams began gauging the Nigerian market to see if dried fruit snacks would be a viable product. She used fruit brought in from South Africa, packaged it and handed it to prospective customers. At the time, this type of snack was relatively unknown in the country, with no other local producers doing it at scale. After a challenging start, the ReelFruit brand is now available in over 350 stores and a handful of export markets. Read the full article.