There’s (literally) tonnes of fruit in Rwanda, but only a tiny fraction of it ends up being whizzed up and drunk as smoothies. When it does, it’s usually at Twistiblendz.
I speak with Anitha about the leap she took to start the venture (in partnership with Giles and an organisation named SMGF), her plans for expansion, and the general market for healthy produce in the country
Here are some of the key quotes:
“Customers are mainly expats”
Since the shop opened in 2015 the majority of customers are those from Europe or the United States.
One of the main objectives has been to expand the market to a more Rwandese customer base on efforts such as marketing how it is natural and healthy.
“Superfoods are making an entrance”
Things like kale and chia seeds are becoming popular ingredients as a means of adding extra benefits to the smoothies.
“My motivation is for more Rwandans to have smoothies”
Anitha hopes that it won’t just be expats who have her smoothies. Right now it’s about 90% foreigners who have smoothies.
“People want to relax more”
Twistiblendz recently moved to a bigger shop. Part of the reason for this is so that they can extend their product range (e.g. fruit salads) and also encourage people to stick around, use the WiFi and enjoy themselves.
“Anitha will buy back the business”
The shop was originally bought from a previous owner by both SMGF and Anitha to get the venture set up. The agreement is that Anitha will eventually own the whole business once the enterprise expands.
“I will be proud to give employment to people”
Part of the motivation around starting the business is to give work to people who are looking for a job in the city.
“We also sell cakes”
Zucchini cakes and carrot cakes with chia seeds are a hit. As well as smoothies and juices, there are also other products that are sold in the shop.
Providing packets of superfoods and other product lines are part of the offering. Almost all are made in Rwanda.
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