Retailer’s Citrus Display in South Africa Thrills Customers

In South Africa, this Women’s Month, Pick n Pay has teamed up with fresh produce suppliers, Nu Leaf Brands and Market Demand Fruits, and have turned their usually black premium citrus cartons pink to demonstrate the retailer’s longstanding commitment to women’s rights.

This is as the sale of Karuturi Flower Farm assets in Kenya has kicked off following the ruling by the Supreme Court allowing Stanbic Bank to dispose of the property to recover over Sh1.8B debt.

The receiver-manager has issued a quit notice to more than 3,000 former workers of the once flourishing Naivasha-based flower farm to pave way for the sale of the staff quarters.

Allan Owaro said that they had been issued with a two-month notice as the receiver-manager could not auction the assets while they still occupied the staff quarters. “We have worked for this company for over 28 years and they now want to kick us out like dogs without giving us our dues”, he said.

Following the move, the workers who are still waiting for their dues have called on the government to intervene, noting that close to 2,000 students in the farm’s school would lose out. The students at Sher Moi Primary and Secondary schools have already been registered for the national exams.

At the height of its operations, Karuturi produced over one million stems of roses daily making it the largest producer in the region. According to the workers representative Moses Maina, some of the staff had served the flower farm for close to 30 years before it was closed down.

He added that the workers through their Sacco are owed over Sh22m which they had diligently saved for years. “The receiver-manager is aware of all these debts but he has kept quiet and instead issued us with a two-month vacate notice,” he said. Olkaria MCA Peter Pallang’a said the former workers were going through untold suffering as they awaited their dues.

However, at Pick n Pay Constantia, Cape Town, an unrivalled citrus display was set up in time for Women’s Day on August 9, and similar displays were mounted at Pick n Pay stores across the country where the pink mandarin box is available.

Of the sales price, R5 is donated to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) on every box.

Innovative display
Pick n Pay’s fresh produce division trialled mandarins, with their leaves still attached after being picked, in the display, a decision met by an overwhelming response, says  Pick n Pay food technologist, Rebecca Fifield Cooper-Williams.

“So many stores have phoned asking for more and more fruit with leaves to be sent in. The fruit gets specially picked with leaves still attached and it makes the displays in store just look so fresh and enticing.”

This season Pick n Pay customers are enjoying their citrus, as well as other fruits and vegetables, as much as during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

Head of produce and horticulture at Pick n Pay, Liz van Niekerk, says “we have definitely seen a rise in demand on many fruits during this period, as well as vegetables linked to boosting the immune system, like ginger and garlic.”

The retailer launched locally grown blood oranges this month in their stores.

“This is a first for retailers in South Africa and has been quite the learning curve to get the internal colour to where we want it”, Rebecca says.

“The blood oranges have a deliciously sweet and distinctive flavour along with the crimson-coloured flesh. In addition to the health benefits of citrus fruits, the blood oranges are full of anti-oxidants called anthocyanins that give them their colour.”

She continues: “It is thanks to working with our incredibly energetic and innovative suppliers, Nu Leaf and Market Demand Fruits, that we manage to bring these developments to our customers.”

Continuing, Liz adds, “we are continually reviewing the use of plastic and packaging options. We have an exciting organics launch coming up this summer, where we have spent a lot of time researching the packaging types, in terms of composting ability and recyclability.”


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