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Premium and Functional Food and Beverages to South Africa

beverages South-Africa premium food functional food

Jenni Kiilholma

+27 82 9215 818
Enhanced standard of living and the food consumption shifting towards Western oriented diet has contributed to increased obesity and other lifestyle diseases in South Africa. The rising middle class has discovered the preventive healthcare and is interested in healthy lifestyles with more nutritious foods. The pandemic has fostered this development and more consumers now look for healthy ingredients in the food and beverages they consume. This creates business opportunities for Finnish companies offering premium and functional food.

The standard of living has risen in South Africa, where the total population is estimated to have reached 60 million. Around 10% of the South African households belong to the middle or upper class and 26.4% are emerging to the middle class. The growing middle class, in addition to the elite class, means that overall consumption expenditure on food is increasing. European food products are always considered as luxury products in South Africa and the retailers are happy to list these products to attract the wealthy consumers who also buy other groceries. The South African Food and Grocery Retail Market was estimated to be valued at EUR 43 bn in 2020.   

The following food trends are visible on the South African market:

  • Mocktails
  • Superfoods
  • Meat-free meals
  • Dinner for 1
  • Convenient lunch
  • Al fresco – eating in the open air
  • Slow food


Companies and sectors benefitting from this opportunity

  • Finnish food and beverage companies


Solutions or products needed

  • Berry and other health products
  • Plant based proteins
  • Oats, oat-based products and drinks
  • Sweets
  • Dairy products and whey
  • Alcoholic beverages: spirits, RTD and beer
  • Pork meat (once Finland has the export certification)


Team Finland activities available for Finnish companies

Are you interested in getting to know the South African food and beverages market in more detail? Team Finland network in South Africa can help you with contacts, export requirements and relevant market knowledge.

South Africa master class - Food

Food diplomacy

South Africa has been a pilot country for a food diplomacy concept with the target of bringing more Finnish products available at the Embassy events.

Read more about the concept

Business Finland Funding Services

Explorer funding such as Market Explorer for acquiring knowledge for international market entry, Group Explorer for joint SME export opportunities or Exhibition Explorer to participate in a trade fair in South Africa.

Read more about the Business Finland funding

Ruokavirasto advice

Ruokavirasto/the Finnish Food Authority promotes the export of Finnish food chain products to countries outside the EU by securing existing exports and enabling new openings. The Finnish Food Authority also offers advice to companies and control authorities on the official requirements of target countries.

Click to find information about official export requirements to South Africa.


If you're interested in this opportunity and would like to discuss the South African market, please contact Jenni Kiilholma, Agricultural Counsellor at the Embassy of Finland in Pretoria, tel: +27(0)12 343 0275/6, Cell: +27 (0) 82 921 5818,


Additional information

Nowadays, the rising middle class has discovered the preventive healthcare and healthy lifestyles. Demand for health and wellness products is expected to increase as more consumers become aware of how to lead a healthy life with a balanced diet. Increased access to information through media devices such as smartphones is expected to influence growth in volume sales of health and wellness. There is also more interest in fitness.

South Africans are changing their diets towards healthier: they are cutting down sugary products and fat, and eating more naturally healthy, fresh foods. This results to growing market for nutrition, which can be used as preventive care and boosting fitness. The consumers have learned to look for functional food e.g. nutrition additives and gluten-free food. The functional food is sold mainly in drugstore and supermarket channels.

As the first country in the continent, South Africa introduced a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. It is a part of government´s wider plan to reduce excessive sugar intake and to tackle obesity

Due to more and more hectic pace of life, the demand for convenient on-the-go meals is increasing. One of the growing categories in convenience food is cereals and oatmeal which are popular and expected to grow.​

  • Join our South Africa Master Class webinar on June 15th at 10:00-11:30 EEST.