Local food company ventures into mushroom biltong
Harare (New Ziana – A local food processing company, Moheart Organic Foods, has tapped into the growing local mushroom industry by value adding the edible farm produce into ready to eat treats.
Mushroom farming has gained ground in Zimbabwe over the years as more people become health conscious.
Tapping into that consciousness, Michael Mhute, Moheart’s general manager, said the company started producing different flavours of mushroom biltong.
“Currently, we are producing volumes of about 250 x 25g packets per week, but we are working on a massive upscaling of our capacity to produce in the region of 1 000 packs per week,” he told New Ziana in an interview.
“Our target market is hotels, lodges, tourist resorts, restaurants, pubs and bars as well as the general public, who are more concerned about their diet. At the moment, we are just beginning to scratch the surface of the Zimbabwean market.”
The aim was also to fill a gap in the local market, which was dominated by biltong produced from meat only.
“In venturing into mushroom biltong, I have managed to create value addition for the local mushroom farmers that I am in contact with, in and around Harare.
“Although this is a niche product, it attracts several types of customers, including those who are health conscious, since it is actually a super food.”
Mhute said all mushroom types could be processed into biltong, but at the moment they were only utilising one type, the oyster mushroom.
“We use oyster mushrooms but have been experimenting with other types such as button mushrooms.
“In terms of production, we have solar dryers and electric dryers. The rest of the equipment is not specialised, we use pots and pans, to minimise costs. In South Africa they use tools like a mushroom grater, which is quite expensive,” Mhute explained.
In the long run, Mhute expects the company’s products to penetrate regional and international markets, while also generating employment for locals.