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Jungle Oats centenary

New mill for Jungle Oats on its centenary

JSE-listed Tiger Brands has officially opened its new Oat Mill for its first and oldest product – Jungle Oats – in Maitland, Cape Town.

The original mill in Mooreesburg. Derelict, it was auctioned off in Feb 2017.

Jungle Oats’ history dates back to 1920 when immigrant, Jacob Frankel, opened the original Tiger Oatery in Moorreesburg, Western Cape. The factory, which launched the Tiger Brands Group, produced Tiger Oats, the breakfast and crunchie favourite that is Jungle Oats.

A second mill was opened in Maitland, Cape Town when demand outgrew the Moorreesburg mill’s capacity in 1930. The first mill was abandoned in the late 1980s.

Tiger Brands officially commissioned the new, state-of-the-art Jungle Oats mill at the Maitland site on February 21, 2020, at a capex cost of R208m.

State-of-the-art design

The new Maitland mill is delivering significantly improved output and increased efficiencies, but it has also reduced manufacturing costs and food waste. This is thanks to its advanced technology – both proprietary and off the shelf – and smart design, according to unit manager, Rees De Villiers.

The new, windowless mill features a computerised air management system. In addition, a computerised control system provides information on live yields, allowing staff to drive efficiencies continuously. The facility can also be managed remotely using a mobile app.

De Villiers said that a major accomplishment for the company is the ability of the new mill to mimic the unique century-old process of manufacturing Jungle Oats, but now using new technology and modern equipment to do so.

Approximately 1,5 million 1kg boxes of the original Jungle Oats variant are processed at the Maitland mill every month, in addition to other Jungle products. The launch of the mill secures employment for roughly 180 Jungle Oats employees.

As oat milling is a scarce skill, the increased production capacity at the new facility also led the company to develop its own in-house skills programme.

“We were able to upskill current millers to run the new technology, and the programme enlarged our talent pool of millers because we upskilled and promoted other staff to help run the mill,” said De Villiers.

Other socio-economic benefits of the new facility include investment in local oat farmers. As the company can now source larger quantities of oats, it has invested in 10 black South African farmers through its Smallholder Farmer Programme in the Western Cape. These farmers will plant 100 hectares of oats in 2020.

Brand revamp and refresh

These two milestones are accompanied by a refreshed communication strategy and packaging design for the Jungle brand.

At the launch event, Mandy Du Plessis, MD: Jungle – Tiger Brands, said the brand would be shifting away from its message of being ‘The Energy Champion’ and will now focus on heart health and wellness, given SA’s health challenges.

The new communication programme revolves around ‘Doing Life with Heart’, and will prioritise Jungle Oats as a source of beta-glucen, and communicate the significant health benefits around it.

Jungle Oats packaging will also sport a new, refreshed look and will include more health and nutritional information on pack for consumers.

The making of Jungle Oats

Step 1: Silo storage: Raw oats come in locally or via shipment from international destinations like Finland, Canada or Australia.

The oats are moved into storage in a silo, where they undergo a quality check to check they are clean and up to standard, and are fumigated to ensure they are pest -free. The cleaned oats are then moved to the mill for the next stage of production.

Step 2: Milling: The mill process essentially removes the husk of the oats to expose the grain. The first step of the process is removing the husk and the second is a heat process called kilning, which deactivates enzymes and allows the oats to have a longer shelf life.

Interestingly, the removed husks aren’t wasted, and are used as a filler animal feed for animals, particularly horses, who need a bit of natural roughage in their diet.

Step 3: Flaking: The oats come out of the mill in the form of cut oats, or chips of oats, and are then moved to flaking. ‘Basically we take the hardened oats, moisten them to soften them and then we flake them,’ said De Villiers.

This is all done by machinery and the flake thickness can be adjusted based on what product is being produced, for example traditional oats would be thicker than instant oats, which require less cooking.

Step 4: Packing: The flaked oats are then moved to the packing area, where they are packed in the relevant boxes/packaging and made ready for distribution.

Source:; Tiger Brands

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