Stocktake: Dishing up food and wine innovation

On the menu: food and wine innovations served up in the news this week.

Image: Sommeliers, Spencer Fondaumiere and Tinashe Nyamdoka.


Award-winning sommeliers launch expert wine app; international vegan chefs added to the menu for the first online food show; the V&A calls for foodies for its kitchen incubator; and the PRC looks at where consumers spend their grocery budget.

Lockdown innovation from sommeliers

Sommeliers, Spencer Fondaumiere and Tinashe Nyamdoka, used their downtime under lockdown to create an innovative digital platform, Somm on Call, a fully coded reality that leverages the pair’s significant shared experience as wine aficionados and trained sommeliers. “The new site brings the art of being a sommelier into the future: a combination of marketplace and advice portal for South African’s that are curious about less mainstream wines, explained Nyamdoka. “We’re taking the sommelier experience and expanding it beyond the walls of conventional restaurants, straight to consumers’ mobile phones. The pair boast an impressive list of accolades, with Foundaumiere ranking amongst 500 ASI diploma qualified Sommeliers and Nyamdoka holding a ream of accreditations from the Cape Wine Academy, UCT GSB and the European Court of Master Sommeliers, to name a few. They  met during their time working for equally prestigious restaurants at Cape Town’s Old Biscuit Mill, namely The Test Kitchen and Burrata. They are both regular independent wine judges and both hold judging certificates from the Michael Fridjhon Academy.

Foundaumiere says that the wine that Somm on Call offers is a curated selection that is limited and small quantity. “We’ve both tapped into our ‘little black books’, driven to the individual farms to meet with the winemakers and choose the really special stuff.” Wine lovers are encouraged to sign up to Somm on Call to receive fortnightly offers recommended by the Somms. In addition, the pair are available to answer any wine-related questions – from the cerebral, such as understanding tannin in cab to something light. “Somm on Call has come about as a result of the need to elevate the advice and knowledge that we can offer and really awesome products beyond just the restaurant floor, and into a digital space,” says Fondaumiere. “Our aim is to connect curious consumers with interesting wines that stretch far beyond what is more widely available. If you need help on what to pair with the wines you have in your collection, how you should serve your wines, detail on the cultivar you might be sampling or about the region – these are all things we can help with.”

The Avant-Garde Vegan
Gaz Oakley.

One of the world’s most celebrated vegan chefs, Gaz Oakley, is one of the star attractions at the upcoming online Festive Vegan & Plant Powered Show (FVPPS). Oakley, a 28 year-old UK based chef, author and social media sensation, with more than a million subscribers on his YouTube channel, will be one of the line-up of chefs who will be appearing on South Africa’s first online food show on Saturday, November 28. Oakley, who is also known as the Avant-Garde Vegan, will be hosting a special cooking demonstration which, he says, “will provide the South African audience with a beautiful recipe, that doesn’t take long to cook but still really impresses”. Visitors to the online event will also be able to meet and greet Oakley – albeit virtually – and ask him a question or two.

After working long hours in restaurant kitchens for a number of years, Oakley decided to take a sabbatical. He researched the rise of plant based eating and started experimenting, becoming passionate about the whole lifestyle, launching his YouTube channel to teach people who to cook palatable vegan dishes; and since then has launched several vegan cookbooks and is the executive chef at a vegan burger restaurant in London. The online Festive Vegan & Plant Powered Show, which takes place on Saturday, November 28, from 11am to 5pm will include a host of international and local chefs including Gaz Oakley, Chef Cola, Chef Jay Mac from the Kind Kitchen, Chef Chris Erasmus of Foliage, a yet to be revealed finalist from MasterChef Australia 2019 and more still to be confirmed. Also featured in the show will be cooking demos, expert talks and The Great Big Festive Vegan Banquet.

Call for food entrepreneurs for V&A kitchen incubator

The V&A Waterfront has taken the next step in making the Western Cape’s first inclusive kitchen incubator a reality by calling for applications. The kitchen incubator is one part of Makers Landing, a purpose-driven space that will open at the V&A Waterfront later this year and which will support job creation and skills development in the local food industry. Along with the kitchen incubator programme, which will be the cornerstone of Makers Landing, the space will also include a kitchen studio and event space, that showcases and celebrates South African food heritage; as well as a Makers’ Space, market stalls and eateries, which will give valuable insight into end-to-end food production while providing a variety of delicious and authentically local meals and products. The Makers Landing Food Lab incubation programme, in partnership with the National Treasury’s Jobs Fund, is now accepting applications from candidates. Applicants should have an existing food business that is actively selling or operating, and that has been in operation for less than three years. The programme will offer opportunities to qualified business start-ups and existing small food businesses that can show that they will benefit significantly from affordable access to a licensed commercial kitchen space, and technical assistance and training from experts in food industry techniques and general business operations.

This week in numbers:

2.6 million

This is the number of South African consumers who spread their shopping trips between the top retailers to find the best deals. Food and grocery retailers need to focus on consumers who can afford to purchase the brands they stock, says the Publisher Research Council (PRC). In line with its mission of providing the industry with insights to promote better media planning and increased advertising returns, the PRC has developed a presentation on Food & Grocery Retailing drawn from the Publisher Audience Measurement Survey (PAMS) 2019. The report highlights that FMCG retailing is the most ferociously competitive category in the marketplace. Shoppers may have some loyalty to retailiners based on location, but generally shop at multiple chains and stores, as the growth of reward programmes indicate. As a result, retailers must fight to maximise their share of household grocery expenditure. The metric that matters is the biggest slice of households’ monthly grocery expenditure, not the number or frequency of visits to a store. The responses show a large overlap, with purchasers on average, shopping at 2.7 of the chains. Nine out of 10 shoppers patronise the ‘Big 3’: Shoprite (68%) takes pole position, then Pick n Pay (45%), slightly ahead of Spar (43%). Exclusive shopping with these chains mirrors this, with 6.7 million purchasers dedicated to Shoprite, 2.3 million favouring Pick n Pay and 2.1 million Spar. At the other end of the scale, 2.6 million spread their custom between all three chains. Using the SEM prism, the store profiles become clear: Woolworths is heavily skewed towards SEM 9 and 10, whilst Boxer is skewed to SEM 1- 5. Pick n Pay leans towards SEM 7 -10, whilst the Shoprite and Spar profiles are more widely dispersed. The former spans SEM 2-7, whilst the latter does have a slight upper end skew.

QUOTE of the week:

“A win-win operating model could, instead, lie in partnerships between mainstream retailers and township-based businesses, which have in-depth knowledge of both the geography and market dynamics in their areas. And while we have to accept that there’ll occasionally be hiccoughs as these new models are tested and implemented, it’s clear that the benefits to both businesses and customers are immediate and real.,” said Lebo Madiba, managing director of PR Powerhouse in


*Stocktake is a weekly roundup of current FMCG retailing and brand news, curated and edited by Retailing Africa Publisher & Editor, Louise Burgers. Keep the industry updated and send your announcements and news to:


Louise Burgers (previously Marsland) is the Publisher and Editor and Co-Founder of 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.


– Receive the Retailing Africa newsletter every Monday and Thursday • Subscribe here