Globally, there’s been a major shift in the food and beverage industry in response to growing consumer demands for healthier options. For restauranteurs, more than just adding a few healthy dishes to their menus, this has meant that they’ve had to innovate and develop new and existing business models to cater to the market.
South Africa is no exception to this trend.
Recognising the massive opportunity, vida e caffè has acquired the Cape Town based Sweetbeet “chain”.
A major focus of the new partnership will be to expand the healthy food restaurant chain across the country. The deal was concluded by vida e caffè in November 2021, one of the first such brand takeovers in South Africa.
The acquisition will significantly accelerate the growth of the brand in response to the growing consumer demand for healthier options.
“vida e caffè and Sweetbeet share the same passion for understanding customer demand, developing on-trend casual dining experiences and producing freshly made, locally sourced beverage and food products every day.
“What sets Sweetbeet apart from other brands is their commitment to the experience, the warm and inviting environment they create for customers as well as the unique healthy on trend food and drinks” explains Darren Levy, CEO of both vida e caffè and Sweetbeet.
Sweetbeet has opened 4 new stores since the acquisition and now operates from six locations across Cape Town. This is planned to grow to between 16 and 18 locations by Feb 2023. This growth will be greatly facilitated by leveraging off existing vida infrastructure, skills, scale and experience.
“The timing is perfect to leverage and grow the Sweetbeet brand,” says Levy, in reference to the growing worldwide popularity for sustainable, responsible, and healthier food and beverage options.
“We are both excited to grow and deliver on our mission to make healthy food more accessible to as many people as possible.” Says Andrea and Francois Hamman, the founders.
According to the Natural Marketing Institute, 64% of the US population feel more personally responsible for the protection of the environment than they have in the past. The Institute found that 57% make decisions with an understanding of the effect the decisions will have on the health and sustainability of the world, its environment, and people.
“We already see consumers in South Africa following the same kind of decision-making process, and the time is perfect to bring the Sweetbeet brand to consumers across the country,” Levy adds.
Investing in Sweetbeet is more than just about growing the brand in the market. By partnering with its talented founders and management team, with more than 21 years in the industry, vida e caffè hopes to create real value and an exciting new offering for the wider industry and consumer community.
vida e caffè and Sweetbeet will continue to operate under their separate identities. and in some venues might end up operating side-by-side.
Sweetbeet healthy food products will become available for purchase in vida stores in time, as part of the brand’s own move to healthy food. It follows the introduction of various vegan products, non-dairy alternatives for caffes, gluten-free bread alternatives for their iconic Toasties and the introduction in May, of fully plant-based wraps and toasties. vida coffee is now being served in Sweetbeet outlets.
As a fast casual restaurant concept, Sweetbeet will be jointly managed by founders Andrea and Francois Hamman, who will stay on in their current positions alongside vida executive team.
There are more than 220 vida e caffè stores across South Africa, along with locations in Mauritius, Zambia, and West Africa.