When Senzekile Mabaso decided to marry her two loves – food and entrepreneurship – her vegetable and atchar business, Hosi’s Food, was born. Now, almost a year later, her business is taking off and her avo atchar has everyone coming back for more.
Hosi’s Food came about at the beginning of the year when Mabasa decided to share her love for avocados with other people. “The avocado season had just begun and I really love avocados, so I decided to start selling avocados to people in Pretoria.”
Mabaso would buy her avos from the Tshwane fresh produce market and sell them to her friends, family and colleagues in Arcadia and surrounding communities. Then she decided to include atchar as a second product in her business.
“I love food and cooking, and I have always wanted to end up in the food industry, so I thought why don’t I introduce something else to go with the avocados? I did a bit of research and I found out that people actually like eating their avocados with atchar, so I decided to make avocado atchar my second product.”Senzekile Mabaso, food entrepreneur
Creating her avocado atchar recipe
Creating an atchar recipe was not that difficult, says Mabaso, because she had acquired atchar-making skills at university.
“When I was studying a Bachelor of Science in physiology at the University of Pretoria, I was working on a project about preserving food that was being wasted at fresh produce markets.
“We would buy fruit and vegetables from the market that was not going to make it for long – they call it pre-waste – and make preserves such as vegetable atchar, sweet chilli sauce, chutney and jams that we would sell.”
Through trial and error Mabaso perfected her avocado atchar recipe. The ingredients used in her atchar are avocados and natural preservatives such as vinegar and spices. Her atchar also has three different flavour options: garlic, mild and hot.
Her business expands
“After people showed a lot of interest in my avocados and atchar, I decided to expand my business and include fresh vegetables too,” she says.
Mabaso sells vegetable hampers that include butternut, carrots, potatoes, white onions, chillies, lemons and peppers. She also wanted to be strategic about it and introduce an element of convenience to her business, so she decided to sell peeled and chopped vegetables as well.
“I sell my vegetables separately, unless someone asks me to mix the vegetables in one pack. The price for the traditional hamper is R80 and a client gets to choose five vegetables from the list that I have, and then for chopped vegetables it is R110.”
Mabaso sells her atchar for R50 per kilogram and plans to start making sweet chilli sauce soon.
She is currently operating online under Hosi’s Foods and delivers to Arcadia, Sunnyside, Hatfield and nearby areas in Pretoria, and to Soweto in Johannesburg.
Mabaso’s business had been thriving and has not been much affected by the pandemic. However, it has been affected by the fuel hike and the inconsistent prices at the fresh produce market.
“Things are not stable at the market. I can go today and find that a bag of potatoes has increased by 50%. As a small business I can’t come back and sell a vegetable hamper for R100 and tomorrow for R70; I need to have a set price and that’s unfortunate.”Senzekile Mabaso, food entrepreneur
She adds that, although she gets attention from clients all over the country online, she is only able to serve people in Gauteng for now.
Mabaso hopes to expand her business to other provinces and to open a big online food shop that supplies food services to stores, weddings and catering companies.
“You know how it is during weddings and events. People have to start cooking from scratch, they have to peel vegetables then cook, so I would like to be their supplier of chopped vegetables to make their lives easier.
“I also want to add to my range by including smoothies and frozen fruit and vegetables.”
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