• Shaun Bateman

Biscoplus: Baking biscuits for South African families since 1992

Local biscuit manufacturer Biscoplus has made great strides over the last few years with their Henro biscuit brand, effectively establishing itself as a retail brand in own right in addition to the private label and housebrand biscuit ranges for retailers that they were previously known for.

Initially releasing the Henro Marie Biscuit range, as well as Lemon, Strawberry, and Chocolate Creams, the company saw early success, due partly to the fact that their products sold at retail stores for approximately 20% less than those of the market leader at the time, and partly because their biscuits, while affordable, are also delicious.

Their ‘quality biscuit at an affordable price’ approach worked, and the company was able to grow their product stable to include the Henro Box range, which consists of the popular Henro My Scotties shortbread biscuits, Henro Chocolate Chip range, Henro Ginger, and Henro My Crunchies biscuits.

Their My Crunchies biscuits, made with whole grain oats and coconut, is totally unique in the market, while the Henro Choc Chip range biscuits, sporting milk drops and oats, and coconut variants, have very few local competitors.

Continuing their approach and commitment to providing an excellent biscuit at an affordable price, the Henro brand biscuits continued to do exceptionally well, and the company was able to add even more products including the Henro Super Creams range, Henro All Day Coffee Time biscuits, Henro Wafers, and a range of savoury crackers.

The company has grown from strength to strength, showing double-digit growth thus far this year, and today boasts wide distribution and longstanding relationships with most of the country’s prominent retailers and FMCG outlets including Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Spar, and Masscash. They also remain one of the leading South African manufacturers of private label and housebrand biscuits.

According to Biscoplus marketing Manager, Adina Smith, the company prides itself on its ability to provide top quality products at a very competitive price point, managing, despite ever-evolving market conditions and the many significant challenges brought on by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, to keep their prices well below those of the local market leader.

“Our focus remains solely on the consumers of our products and their needs,” says Smith. “We are continually innovating and ensuring that we develop and strengthen not only our brand but our ability to maintain our commitment to top quality and affordable prices.”

Many businesses faced huge challenges during lockdown and were forced to close.

Biscoplus was in the fortunate position to be declared an essential service. While most of the management team and support staff took up positions from their homes, the factory, fully adherent to new and relevant regulations and safety protocols, continued operating and manufacturing biscuits, at reduced capacity while South Africans, holed up in their homes during lockdown, discovered a renewed taste for biscuits and other snacks.

“Of course it also helped that our products are perfectly suited for use in baking,” says Smith, admitting that she too had tried her hand at a recipe or ten during this period.

The pandemic has also had as a result that many companies had to expand their product ranges as buying patterns changed significantly. This has seen Biscoplus expand their business into more non-traditional retailers, such as West Pack Lifestyle and Express stores.

Biscoplus, like most other companies, has had to do some restructuring due to the Covid-19 pandemic in order to keep production on track while at the same time ensuring the safety of their customers and staff. “In addition to the standard additional safety protocols we’ve put in place, we also put systems in place to streamline production even further, ensuring optimal efficiency and the continued well-being of production and support staff,” says Smith.

Today the Henro biscuit range consists of more than 15 main products, each with its own flavour variants. According to Smith, the company is keeping its options open in terms of introducing new products into the market.

“There still exists enormous potential in the South African market for a brand like Henro and we remain committed to provide the South African consumer with great tasting, quality biscuits at an affordable price.”