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Blue Chip Snacks December 09 www. bus- ex. com 99 changes, the aim for Blue Chip is to be at the forefront of responsible manufacturing and playing its part in ensuring a green future for the next generation. At the heart of changes to the new factory in Cato Ridge is a water recycling plant where all excess water not used in the manufacturing process is used to water the gardens on the property. The importance of recycling water becomes a key element in the presentation to students who visit the site. In addition, the grounds of the new factory have been planted with carefully selected indigenous trees and water- wise plants as part of the water preservation measures. Something the young visitors either love or hate is the compost bin full of worms. A vermiculture system has been installed to process all the potato waste the factory creates. Vermiculture is the most efficient and environmentally friendly form of eliminating organic waste and converting the waste to compost. While not fodder for the worms, the factory also recycles all the cardboard boxes in which materials are received or finished goods despatched. In order to reduce the need for vast electricity consumption during daylight working hours, the new Nak and Maize plant goes green, in that it utilises natural light and ventilation rather than artificial. The electrical system has been installed with power correction units to stabilise the plant's power load, saving both energy and money. Blue Chip Snacks also makes full use of the services provided by Eskom- the state electricity board- which is advising Blue Chip on its energy saving heat exchange process. Although poverty remains a big problem in South Africa, there is no doubt that over the past decade there has been a general improvement in affluence and a growth in disposable income. As such, it's no surprise that the snack food market sector is estimated at being worth over R5 billion and growing continually, with the latest estimate being by 4.6 per cent per year. Of this market, crisps continue to hold the largest share, in both volume and value terms, of the sweet and savoury snacks sector. Crisps also account for over half of the total processed potato products in South Africa. With a waiting list for school parties to visit the Blue Chip Snacks factory, there's no reason to think that crisps won't continue to dominate the market for many years to come. - Editorial research by Matt Syder sourced from the US, UK and Holland. The objective is to provide clients with consistently top quality products that can be sold to the end consumer with absolute confidence. For example, sophisticated weighing and packaging machines provide accurate tolerance levels of just plus or minus one gram. The factory is kitted out with the latest, fully automated technology and a strict routine is in place to keep the stainless steel production line clean and hygienic. Food technologists run routine quality assurance tests, encompassing salt analyses, specific gravity, colour, flavour dosages, weight checks and moisture levels and every product manufactured comes with a validated certificate of analysis. Potatoes are sourced from within KwaZulu Natal to the Limpopo Province in the far north. The business has its own team of agronomists who ensure consistency in supply and quality. Often growing contracts are struck which determine the variety, to provide a high- quality, year- round supply of potatoes. The snack business is one of fads and fashions. In fact, in some countries, it's practically impossible to find a simple bag of plain crisps, since the competition for new taste sensations is so great. Blue Chip Snacks has a development team whose enviable task it is to find the next ' must have' snack; be that because of new flavours, new chip cuts, innovative packaging methods or sleek designs. More recently, the business has branched out into maize milling and pellet production. Blue Chip Milling is a new division manufacturing gelatinised cornstarch and vitamin enriched maize supplements. These can then be extruded into countless shapes and sizes to provide an alternative snack to potato crisps. The new production line should begin to double the present turnover of R625 million from the start of 2010. Building a new factory has given Blue Chip Snacks the opportunity to include a number of structural adaptations to the site which will make the business more environmentally friendly and lead to a more sustainable production of product. Together with some of the structural adaptations, a number of changes have been made in the day- to- day running of the operation, all of which contribute to the overall impact the factory has on the environment. By implementing both big and small " Located at Cato Ridge, between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in KwaZulu Natal, Blue Chip Snacks is one of South Africa's fastest growing crisp manufacturers"

100 www. bus- ex. com December 09 Afeast The challenge over