Famous Brands, which owns some of South Africa’s biggest fast food and casual dining brands like Steers and Wimpy, has committed to getting rid of plastic straws by the end of December 2018.
In reporting its interim results for the six months ended 31 August 2018, the group said that it is responding to increased consumer awareness and campaigning around the environment.
“We support the global campaign against plastic pollution, and are currently withdrawing plastic straws from our restaurants in SA and the UK and replacing them with biodegradable paper straws.”
The programme will be completed by December 2018, it said.
The group also said it would be looking to move away from using cage-laid eggs, and will be working to procure cage-free eggs across all its chains by the end of 2025.
Several groups, including Woolworths, Shoprite and Pick n Pay, have been leading the charge against wasteful plastics in South Africa, as consumers push for more environmentally friendly practices.
Woolworths is in the process of phasing out of unnecessary single-use plastics, and has committed to all its packaging being either reusable or recyclable by 2022. Additionally, it will make use of wooden cutlery and paper straws at its cafes, with the intent to do away with the plastic versions completely.
Similarly, Pick n Pay has started introducing 100% recyclable plastic bags, and has also committed to getting rid of plastic straws in favour of paper.
Most recently, Shoprite and Checkers has launched an initiative where it would start ‘paying’ customers to use their 100% recycled bags, by offering 50 cents off of purchases when they are used. The bags cost R3.
The group has also committed to replacing the plastic packaging on various items, such as fruit and vegetables, to something fully biodegradable and compostable.
Fast food is still huge in SA
Famous Brands reported a solid set of results for the six month period, despite consumer spending under pressure in a tough economy.
Revenue was up 5.4% to R3.58 billion, with Ebitda at R526.4 million (up 4.8%).
Operating profit grew by 9.9% to R222.5 million (2017: R202.5 million), of which leading brands contributed R218.6 million and signature brands the balance.
The group’s brand portfolio, which carries 25 restaurant brands, grew to 2,874 chains, with many of the biggest names maintaining or growing their market share.
Consumer spending was under pressure and customer transaction spend was down, the group said, while visits were also stagnant.
However, brands like Debonairs, Wimpy, Steers, Mugg&Bean and Fishaways continued to expand.