Johann Vorster

Clover opens R40m visitors’ centre

Dairy products and juice manufacturer, Clover, has launched a R40-million visitors’ centre at its factory in Clayville, Midrand – a first for the South African dairy industry.

The move is aimed at making the company more appealing and accessible to the broader public and investors.

The state-of-the-art, green facility will open to visitors in February 2017 and it will give insights into the company’s bottling and packaging while also providing a product-tasting experience.

The new facility is worth R40m, but the money spent on the overall project is R170m.

Speaking at the launch, chief executive Johann Vorster (above) said the Centre is the culmination of a two-year process that started with a vision to share the magic of their industry with the public at large.

“We look forward to providing an educational experience to our visitors by bringing the story of dairy and of Clover to life,” he said.

“We didn’t have facilities like this before to bring our guests to. We specifically want to use it to reach out to the younger generation and scholars by introducing them to milk so that they can see how our operations work.

“We also want to have a programme of senior high school children to introduce them to milk and for them to explore possible job opportunities within the company in the future,” he added.

Construction of the facilities started in 2014 and took almost two years to complete.

The Centre allows guests to experience Clover’s milk and beverage bottling and packaging via educational tours to groups of between 20 and 40 people, twice a day, four days a week.

The booking for prospective tourists will be conducted online through the company’s website.

The R170m capex was spent on key projects including the centre itself, cold storage facilities, site infrastructure improvements and new access entrances.

Overall, Clover employs 1,600 people and the complex in Clayville is home to a manufacturing facility, a modern warehouse facility and distribution centre.

The manufacturing facility packs South African fruit mix brand Tropika and Clover fresh milk. Other products include yoghurt-based drink Danao, fresh cream, sour cream and juices, Clover Nectar and Clover Krush.

“Around 60-million litres of Tropika are packaged and 80-million litres of fresh milk are processed here every year, equating to 2 500 tankers of milk a year,” he said.

The Clover visitors’ centre will be run by Professor Elain Vlok who heads up Clover’s corporate services division and champions the company’s corporate social investment programme – the Clover Mama Africa project.

The success of the Clayville Centre could lead to Clover rolling out similar facilities at some of its operations in other parts of the country.

“We would like to see how this one goes, but we have other facilities in Queensburgh, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town – our three other main facilities. So this is a test phase,” said Vorster.