PEPPADEW® is certainly a well-known brand now, but the range of products first started in 1995 when the piquanté pepper ‘mother plant’ was discovered in the Eastern Cape.
The piquanté pepper is believed to have been the first new fruit (chilli peppers are fruits) to be discovered and commercialised since the kiwifruit, and after extensive research in the mid-1990s, it was recognised as a South African cultivar that originated from the Capsicum Baccatum – Piquanté variety, which is indigenous to Central America, which resulted in its registration as an original South African plant variety. Trademarks were registered and the PEPPADEW® brand was born. Piquanté peppers were first commercially grown, bottled and marketed in the subtropical Tzaneen region in Limpopo – the heartland of the PEPPADEW® piquanté pepper.
In 1997, mass production of PEPPADEW® products started and were introduced to an enthusiastic Australian market, and in 1999 into the USA. Today PEPPADEW® products are distributed to countries around the world – Europe, South Korea, UK, New Zealand, Australia, USA, Nordic, and Southern Africa – and are universally renowned for their fresh and crunchy texture, sweet taste, vibrant red colour, excellent quality, and amazing versatility.
Throughout the PEPPADEW® process, sustainability is key – from cultivation to consumption. Tony Wright, Supply Chain Director of PEPPADEW® explains, “In 2018 we partnered with 44 emerging farmers and provide them with the requisite skills, knowledge, best farming practices, and farming manuals on commercial farming, to ensure their successful production of our product. We do this for two reasons – to support community upliftment projects, and also because we know that the long-term sustainability of PEPPADEW® depends on our partnerships with emerging farmers, and with our ongoing support of them. It takes a special type of farmer to grow our piquanté peppers and we carefully choose every one – they are the guardians of the harvest and they reflect our values and quality standards for the product.”
In the factory in Tzaneen, the company’s ethos of ‘making a difference’ continues through the creation of job opportunities in the surrounding previously disadvantaged community. PEPPADEW® provides thousands of jobs to local people through the labour-intensive nature of the product, and employs a team of approximately 1 500 women from the area, 90% of whom work flexitime.
The steadily growing PEPPADEW® range of products includes the flagship mild and hot sweet piquanté pepper products, whole, chopped, and slices, as well as the more recent additions of PEPPADEW® pickled jalapeño variants, mango and vegetable atchars, pickled onions, a selection of pasta sauces, relishes, and hot and mild piquanté pepper Splash-on™ sauces, “with plans on the cards to launch many more innovative products,” adds Kian Macrae, NPD director for PEPPADEW®.
He says, “Quality is always at the heart of PEPPADEW®. As consumers become more discerning, and more concerned about the provenance of the food they eat and how natural and nutritious it is, PEPPADEW® is ensuring that our traceability system can track product batches through all processes, guaranteeing the quality of the product that reaches our consumers. PEPPADEW® has worked hard to ensure the perfectly balanced zesty flavour in every bite.”