On Shelf
On Shelf

#OnShelf: Getting back to business

by Louise Burgers. Brand activity and launches from Philip Morris South Africa, Nespresso and Shoprite.

by Louise Burgers. While it felt like Christmas on Tuesday for many retailers, brands and the public, as tobacco and alcohol sales were allowed under Level 2 of South Africa’s lockdown; the economic toll is devastating on many who work within these industries which also support the packaging industry; road freight; marketing; promotions companies; and many small suppliers, and so on. Let’s hope we can get business back to some semblance of normal despite a cash-poor consumer.

Philip Morris reopens 24 stores

Tobacco Company Philip Morris South Africa (PMSA) has welcomed the government’s decision to lift the ban on tobacco products and e-cigarettes; but believes that the blanket ban was a missed opportunity to offer consumers scientifically substantiated, better alternatives to cigarettes. PMSA has reopened its 24 IQOS (e-cigarette) retail stores and will resupply its trade partners to meet the needs of its IQOS users and those adult smokers looking for better alternatives to continued smoking. “Many of our IQOS consumers were disappointed at not being able to purchase our products during the lockdown ban. We are working to support them and win back their trust. We have implemented strict safety, social distancing and hygiene measures at our stores to protect our consumers and staff,” said Marcelo Nico, managing director at PMSA. “While the best option is to quit nicotine and tobacco entirely, most smokers don’t. Despite the most extreme measure of banning tobacco products in South Africa, a recent independent study indicated that the vast majority of smokers surveyed continued buying cigarettes. We believe that regulators should increasingly rally around scientific evidence and work for constantly improved regulations that can be leveraged for people who smoke and public health.”

IQOS is a tobacco heating system. It heats specially designed heated tobacco units, branded HEETS, up to 350°C, without combustion, fire, ash, or smoke. IQOS is not risk free and does contain nicotine, which is addictive. PMI’s smoke-free IQOS product portfolio includes heat-not-burn and nicotine-containing vapor products. As of June 30, 2020, PMI estimates that approximately 11.2 million adult smokers around the world have already stopped smoking and switched to PMI’s heat-not-burn product, available for sale in 57 markets in key cities or nationwide under the IQOS brand.

New coffee gives hope to Uganda

Nespresso introduces Amaha awe Uganda, ‘Hope of Uganda’, a new and seasonal coffee from the Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda – made possible through the company’s sustainable Reviving Origins program. Launched in 2019, the Reviving Origins program aims to restore coffee production in regions where it is under threat. Guillaume Le Cunff, CEO of Nespresso said: “Coffee is the lifeblood of entire communities across the globe. In many regions, coffee farming is threatened for reasons such as climate change, conflict and a shifting global economy. Through the Reviving Origins program, Nespresso provides support to struggling coffee farming areas and helps breathe new life into local economies and communities in these regions.” Nespresso’s Reviving Origins program aims to revive coffee agriculture and local coffee economies in regions affected by adversities such as conflict, economic hardship and environmental disasters. The program provides support to rebuild sustainable livelihoods for farmers and their communities while preserving the future of some of the world’s rarest coffees. Nespresso is investing a total of CHF 10 million in the program over a period of five years (2019-2023). The Reviving Origins program is an integral part of the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program, the brand’s sustainable sourcing model in coffee producing countries.

Amaha awe Uganda is a single origin coffee that carries rare sandalwood notes and elegant florals with medium acidity and body. An intensity 8 espresso, AMAHA awe UGANDA grows in a unique terroir, where shade and nutrients provided by banana trees create a true Arabica dreamland. In a Latte Macchiato, the biscuit and discrete fruity notes come alive in a balanced and sweet cup. The coffee brand is available 31 countries. This is alongside Reviving Origins coffee, Tamuka mu Zimbabwe – back for 2020, following its initial launch in South Africa last year. Since its launch in 2019, the Reviving Origins program has already been a significant success in Zimbabwe and Caquetá, Colombia, two regions where coffee production has been under threat in recent years.

What is interesting, is that Nespresso is, for the first time, making its AAA Sustainable Quality  Program data publicly available, using blockchain technology. Introduced for Zimbabwe initially, the new platform traces the AAA coffee from farms in Zimbabwe all the way through to the Nespresso production centre in Switzerland. Users of the blockchain platform will be able to zoom in on specific farms, where they can find a breakdown of the total coffee produced at farm level and the amount of high-quality coffee bought by Nespresso.

Shoprite launches new Money Market account

Shoprite has launched its new Money Market Account, a free transactional account to give customers more ways to save, send or spend their money. The Money Market Account is available on the new Shoprite app or USSD and its main benefits include: no monthly fees, no load fees, no transaction fees; no debit orders – customers are in full control of their money; and no forms, no fees, no FICA – anyone can open an account. With the mobile money market account, customers can now access many of the services available at the in-store Money Market counters, such as paying utility bills, buying airtime, data and Savings Stamps, as well as sending and receiving money. The Money Market Account will also allow customers to transact online, including at Computicket, where they can book bus tickets online or watch  streaming events. They will also soon be able to use their Money Market Account on other websites, making e-commerce more accessible to everyone. Said Jean Olivier, general manager: financial services for the Shoprite Group, “We are extending its services to help our customers to transact securely and to save, as we are acutely aware of the importance of saving at this time.” Businesses of any size can also use the Money Market Account to process bulk payments, including rewards, incentives and grocery vouchers. Recipients only need a cell phone to access their funds. The Money Market Account, which replaces the basic Shoprite Money product launched in May 2018, will grow to have most of the transactional capabilities of a full banking account.

Recent research indicated that mobile money services in sub-Saharan Africa in 2019 had almost 470 million registered users transacting 23.8 billion times at a value of $456.3bn or 66% of the global total. Southern Africa only accounted for 2% of the value, but the adoption of mobile money is growing strongly and has been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused many people to reconsider using cash.


Louise Burgers (previously Marsland) is the Publisher and Editor and Co-Founder of RetailingAfrica.com. She has spent over 20 years writing about the FMCG retailing, marketing, media and advertising industry in South Africa and on the African continent. She has specialised in local and Africa consumer trends and is a passionate Afro-optimist who believes it is Africa’s time to rise again and that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be a global gamechanger in the next decade.

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