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Giving a fresh twist to frozen foods

dynamic-articleThe Dynamic Commodities factory at the Coega Industrial Development Zone near Port Elizabeth.

From small beginnings, Dynamic Commodities has grown in leaps and bounds - winning several international awards along the way - with the help of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

An agro-processing company, it makes frozen food products for export. And it is expanding rapidly, with plans to launch a new sorbet in "the near future", says chief executive Adrian Vardy.

"To develop the product, we will have to get assistance from the IDC, which has been funding the business since 1999."

The IDC is a national development finance institution set up to contribute to the creation of balanced, sustainable economic growth in South Africa and on the rest of the continent.

Established in 1996, Dynamic Commodities is located in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) in Port Elizabeth. The company uses innovative techniques to freeze the juice pods of oranges, lemons and grapefruit to create unique fruity products such as Island Way Sorbet and Bits o Juice, which are exported to countries that include the USA, France, Australia and Japan.

The USA is the main market for the frozen fruit shells filled with flavoured sorbet under the African Growth and Opportunities Act, or AGOA. This act allows selected sub-Saharan African countries like South Africa to export qualifying products duty-free to the USA. Only a small percentage is reserved for the domestic market, according to Vardy.

In 2000, the IDC chipped in to help Dynamic Commodities open exports of ice cream to Japan. At the time, it was located in Markman, also in Port Elizabeth.

"In 2007, the company expanded drastically into producing piquant peppers and moved into new facilities in the IDZ. The same freezing technique is used to freeze piquant peppers."

The newest product, expected to launch in three to six months' time, is Fruity Sushi Sorbet, a concept based on the popular Japanese delicacy, sushi. The product is "an array of delicious fruit sorbets, hand crafted, each finely wrapped in wafer paper and frozen".

"We are currently waiting for the Fruity Sushi Sorbet-making equipment ... The IDC will help us get the equipment and launch the product," says Vardy.

Dynamic Commodities' innovative products have been recognised around the world, with the company scooping global awards such as the IUF Global Food Industry Award for product innovation, the Anuga Award for brand building, and the Sial Award, which recognises nine of the world's most innovative and successful product launches that came to the market after November 2008.

It grows the fruit it uses at several farms in the Eastern Cape. The piquant peppers are grown mainly in Somerset East, creating much-needed employment for the rural community. All the pepper in Somerset East is hand-picked and the sizing of the fruit is done by hand, according to Vardy.

"When the company started we only had 30 workers. Currently, we provide over 1 000 direct jobs to people."

With the launch of the new product, there should be more jobs for the people of the Eastern Cape.

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