Financial help is now available to support new businesses

Opportunities abound for independent and individual bakeries. Many independent and stand-alone bakeries have have entered the market and thrived since the industry was deregulated in 1991.

Opportunities abound for independent and individual bakeries. Many independent and stand-alone bakeries have have entered the market and thrived since the industry was deregulated in 1991.

And help is also now available from supporting and development institutions for viable businesses. The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has a business unit that helps emerging businesses with finance. One of its units is also dedicated to the food and beverage industry.

Proper nutrition is an important part of trying to save people's lives since the outbreak of Aids and bread is an important food that contains these nutrients.

Bread is the second most important supplier of energy in the national diet after maize products. It provides about half of the energy provided by maize products and supplies more than twice as many kilojoules as any other energy source.

Nutritionists agree that bread, as a starchy food, is an essential part of the foundation of a healthy diet because it is a good source of energy, protein and fibre. South African white and brown bread supply eight essential micronuvitamins and minerals as they use fortified flour.

Bread baking was first introduced by Dutch settlers in the 17th century. Before that the main source of carbohydrate for indigenous people was porridge made from millet and other small grains. Maize porridge later dominated the diet and maize became South Africa's most important agricultural crop.

But bread has steadily become a more popular product because it is tasty, nutritious, convenient and ready to eat

About 2,8billion loaves were produced in 2003, 1,5billion loaves of white bread and 1,3billion loaves of brown. The market value was about R12billion.

The big industrial plant bakeries produced 1,4billion loaves, or about half. They are efficient and employ about 8500 people. Each employee, therefore, produces the bread of about 2600 South Africans.

Bread is available in 97percent of food shops and cafes.

No matter how often the price of bread has gone up, it remains one of the most consumed foods in South Africa.

The abolishment of the price regulation and the deregulation of the industry gave small independent bakeries the opportunity to compete against the giant industrial bakeries.

Pricing is one of the strong points of independent bakeries. Low-income South Africans often prefer to buy the products of independent bakeries.

The government's school feeding scheme has also opened opportunities for independent bakeries.

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