The move is expected to create wider opportunities for smallholder fruit farmers across the country who stand to reap more in terms of supplying raw materials to the firm.
Smallholder orange growers in Beitbridge district, Matabeleland South province, are already enjoying good business relations with Schweppes, which is their major customer.
The company runs Beitbridge Juicing, an orange processing factory based in the border town.
In addition to its traditional Mazoe brand juices, the company has rebranded Jompepe into Fruitade, which comes in different fruit varieties such as Fruitade Orange, Tropical, Lemon and Lime, Guava and Mazoe Mango Crush, among others.
A majority of these brands are already being sold across the country. Schweppes corporate affairs executive, Ms Diana Mubayiwa, said the company has embraced innovation as a growth strategy in pursuit of remaining relevant in the dynamic business environment.
“This is part of our growth strategy to capture new consumer segments and evolving needs. Ultimately, we want to provide more choice for our beverage consumers to enjoy,” said Ms Mubayiwa.
“Our innovations are linked to our current strategy on import substitution and local sourcing aimed to mitigate foreign currency burden in the business by securing juice from the local fruit industry.
“The economy is full of opportunities for new brands in addition to the tried and tested. It is important to understand the unique environment and pursue new brands that resonate with what is pertinent to the needs of the consumer.”
Ms Mubayiwa said Schweppes was utilising existing manufacturing platforms within its factories by capitalising on innovations.
Late last year Schweppes admitted it was struggling to produce its flagship Mazoe Orange Crush brand for a couple of weeks citing inconsistent supply of foreign currency leading to lack of raw materials. However, in December last year they promised that production of the beverage would resume by the following weekend after they completed the acquisition of key raw materials.
The company continues to battle a similar challenge evidenced by the scarcity of the Mazoe original beverage.