Maggi Morogo

Maggi morogo: Commercialisation of SA’s healthy heritage vegetable

Nestlé South Africa has launched a new line of Maggi noodles containing the green leafy vegetable ‘morogo’, which is being commercialised for the first time ever as a result of a three-year research collaboration with the CSIR and the ARC.

Several types of vegetable rich in vitamins, minerals and protein – cleome, cow pea and amaranthus, all commonly referred to as morogo – were screened to assess their nutrient levels and suitability for cultivation and processing.

Amaranthus was eventually chosen for incorporation within a morogo ‘tastemaker’ (the flavouring sachet) included with the new line of Maggi 2-minute noodles. One pack of noodles equals one serving of morogo.

Nestlé’s ambition is to ensure that emerging farmers may eventually be able to augment their incomes by growing morogo commercially.

This breakthrough announcement was made in early October at the 5th CSIR Conference under the theme “70 years of Ideas that Work” where the CSIR was celebrating its 70th anniversary.

The development of this product is a result of a collaborative research agreement between Nestlé, Department of Science and Technology (DST), CSIR and the ARC, after the partners undertook to research South Africa’s biodiversity to confirm their health benefits and potential nutraceutical and functional food applications.

Addressing delegates at the launch attended by representatives from the DST, CSIR, ARC and Nestlé South Africa, the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor said, “The local knowledge that has been passed on orally from generation to generation is a vital part of a nation’s heritage. In South Africa indigenous knowledge has massive potential for research, development, and innovation. The Department is proud of this key milestone where we successfully translated academic research into an innovative commercial product which will be enjoyed by South African consumers.”

For 70 years, the CSIR has ensured that its technologies and know how have socio-economic impact that will benefit the country at large.

Speaking at the event about their role in the partnership, CSIR Group Executive for Strategic Alliances and Communication, Dr Rachel Chikwamba said, “We provided our expertise in the processing of indigenous products to jointly develop this innovative product with Nestlé that will benefit the people of our country. Working with the ARC, production of the vegetable ingredients will provide an opportunity for small scale farmers and support implementation of the AgriParks model.’’

“Our partnership with Nestlé is a great example of how public and private institutions can work together to address problems that are facing our country such as unemployment. These types of partnerships play a critical role in ensuring that the CSIR and industry support the implementation of the Bio-economy strategy in its objective to have the Bio-economy to contribute to the National GDP by 2030,” said Chikwamba.

Various leafy green vegetables, including Cleome, Cow Pea and Amaranthus (popularly known as Morogo) were screened to assess nutrient bioavailability during digestion.

After conducting thorough research and consumer studies, Amaranthus was ultimately chosen because of its proven health benefits – particularly the presence of Beta Carotene, minerals and protein. Morogo refers to a group of at least three different dark green leafy vegetables found throughout Southern Africa and harvested for human consumption.

This partnership is also a demonstration of Nestlé’s creating shared value business principle which states that for a business to be successful, it must create value for communities in which it operates.

“We believe that through partnerships such as this one where we are able to collaborate with experts in agricultural research and share our deep consumer understanding and product development; we continue to demonstrate our commitment to creating shared value in communities where we have a presence,” said Ravi Pillay, Corporate Affairs Director for Nestlé South Africa.

“The addition of Morogo in our range of MAGGI Noodles is our response to our global ambition of being the leader in nutrition, health and wellness by leveraging global expertise for local preference, concluded Pillay.

This partnership supports the country’s National Development Plan which aims to grow South Africa’s economy through public – private partnerships. It is envisaged that this project will contribute towards much needed rural development and the revitalisation of rural communities through job creation particularly for young emerging farmers.

Source: Nestlé