· The homegrown oil is rich in the anti-inflammatory properties of Vitamin E and Omega-6
Rooted in the philosophy of “It takes a village” that resonates in its name, locally produced “Arona” is a different kind of cooking oil.
Not only is it health-conscious, it is also the first homegrown virgin sunflower oil to hit the market in Botswana.
Upon deciding that cooking should be a health-oriented exercise, founder Fannie Gwizi went on to produce cooking oil that is much cleaner. Says marketing executive Tuduetso Nkunyane: “We are a health-conscious team that insists on holistic living.
“With many non-communicable diseases on the rise, we felt that there should be a product in the market that improves the health of Batswana and everybody else in this country. Cooking oil is used daily in our households, hence our push for a healthier choice.”
Naming the virgin sunflower oil “Arona” was an attempt to communicate a sense of ownership of something that Batswana can be proud of. “’Arona,’ which translates to ‘ours,’ is something we wanted all Batswana to be proud of and grow a sense of ownership from,” Nkunyane continues. “The oil is created and packaged in Botswana, and our by-product is sunflower cake that is used as livestock feeds.”
Having launched the product in 2014, Gwizi and his team sought to penetrate a market that is seemingly unaware of the cooking oils it uses, as well as their effects. “Over the years, we have come to realise that Batswana consider price rather than content and quality when it comes to cooking oil,” says Gwisi.
“The cheaper the oil, the more popular it is. What they do not understand is the health implications some of these oils have, which may prove detrimental to consumers in the long term.”
Stressing the benefits of virgin sunflower oil from its immense anti-inflammatory properties of Vitamin E and Omega-6 content, Nkunyane explains that “Arona” is more than just cooking oil but a health priority. “It’s not just about what food; it’s about what you do daily to live a healthy lifestyle,” she says.
She points out the lack of a protected market and transparent vetting process in procurement procedures as some of the hindering obstacles they have encountered in their manufacturing business in Botswana.
“We currently supply some hotels and stores with our oil,” she says. “We want to have partnerships with more companies as well as government, but there is a great need for government to prioritise local products in the tendering process. We need to feel protected as manufacturers.”
Every year the company a wellness event styled “You Are What You Eat” that encourages holistic health and fitness routines that people can adopt in their daily living. “We hope to grow the brand to better serve and engage more with the community,” Nkunyane says.
For more on “Arona,” go to their Facebook page Arona Natural Foods.