DOB Equity invests in Ten Senses Africa amid growing demand for organic nuts

The impact investor plans to capitalize on the burgeoning fair-trade market by increasing the African producer’s trading volumes, margins and product lines.

Faced with fast growth of the organic market, leading Dutch impact investor DOB Equity has invested in Ten Sense Africa to capitalize on growing global demand for organic and fair-trade-certified macadamia nuts.

DOB Equity said the investment will allow Ten Senses Africa – an organic and fair-trade certified macadamia producer, processor and trader –  to expand its processing capacity to trade larger volumes at higher margins, launch new products and grow its sales across Europe and the US.

Ten Senses sources nuts from more than 3,000 farmers mostly located on Kenya’s coast, while operating processing facilities in Nairobi. It will diversify its product base including with more nuts and dried fruit, using existing sourcing infrastructure and markets.

Outlining three key market trends in the nuts industry, DOB Equity explained that global demand for tree nuts is at an all-time high, for a global supply value of $40 billion. Annual growth is 10 percent on the back of perceived health benefits associated with eating nuts, income growth in developing countries – China and India are increasingly consuming nuts – and the development of new food products that feature nuts such as almond milk, snack bars and cereals. Out of the dozen major tree nuts, five make up over 90 percent of total global production: almonds (30 percent), walnuts (21 percent), cashews (19 percent), pistachios (14 percent) and hazelnuts (12 percent), added DOB Equity.

Secondly, the industry is seeing higher demand for traceability and thirdly there is increased demand for nuts of African origin, specifically from the US market, DOB Equity claimed.

“As one of the largest certified organic producers in Kenya, Ten senses is well positioned to benefit from these trends”, Brigit van Dijk – van de Reijt, CEO of DOB Equity said.

Equally, DOB Equity was attracted by the social and environmental impact on the sector. “Macadamia processing is zero-waste, its shells are used as fuel, the cracked nuts are being sold and those rejected are being used for high-value macadamia oil,” Saskia van der Mast, investment manager of DOB Equity, added.

The fast growth of the organic sector was also highlighted in a report published last week by Valoral Advisors on impact investing in the global food and agricultural investment space. “According to Statista, the 2016 global sales of organic foods reached $90 billion. This industry is expected to continue growing in the near future as consumers are increasingly buying organic because they believe it is better for their health and also for the environment,” the report stated.