With a degree in mechanical engineering, Matthew Walters started his career at one of South Africa’s leading FMCG companies, where he was responsible for the implementation of a number of high profile projects.
Based in tna’s Johannesburg office, Walters will be responsible to support food manufacturers across the African continent with tna’s portfolio of equipment, such as fryers, conveyors, seasoning equipment, VFFS packaging systems and end of line solutions. At the same time, Walters will be tasked with driving the sales of tna’s confectionery processing solutions, including its range of kitchens, starch moulding and finishing equipment, while helping to further develop tna’s local service and support team.
His experience in managing projects from start to finish, from strategy development and stakeholder engagement all the way through to installation and commissioning, will be instrumental in supporting tna’s customers with the advanced food processing and packaging technology they need to make the most out of South Africa’s flourishing snacks and confectionery sectors.
‘Walters will be an excellent addition to the team here in South Africa,’ commented Jonathan Rankin, CEO at tna. ‘His experience in the food industry, business acumen and positive attitude are a great fit for us. Together with his project engineering skills, he’ll not only be able find the most suitable solution for our customers, but will also ensure a smooth installation and successful project delivery, no matter how complex or challenging.’
Commenting on his new position Walters said, ‘I’m really excited to embark on this new challenge with tna. I’ve come cross tna equipment a few times during my career and have always admired the technology and the people behind it. As an engineer, I was naturally drawn to the company’s reputation as the first company to bring high-speed VFFS technology to the market. However, it’s not just tna’s engineering excellence that I admire. The company really offers the whole package. Whether it’s the portfolio of innovative technology, the genuine commitment to improve factory output or the extensive philanthropic work that tna carries out in Africa, I always recognised tna as a business with extremely high values. Values that I could relate to, both personally and professionally. I feel very honoured to be part of the team and look forward to supporting local food manufacturers with solutions that will make a huge difference to their production processes.’
The South African savoury snacks sector is expected to grow from R15.3 billion (US$1,135.5 million) in 2017 to R21.4 billion (US$1,354.7 million) by 2022, at a CAGR of 7.1%. In volume terms, the sector is expected to grow from 157.8 million kg in 2017 to 184.9 million kg by 2022, registering a CAGR of 3.2% with the potato chips category forecast to grow from 38.1% in 2017 to 40.1% in 2022. At the same time, the sugar confectionery category is expected to reach R9,774.6 million (US$642.5 million) by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 7.4% during 2018–2023. In 2018, gums and jellies is the largest segment in the South African sugar confectionery category.
Commenting on the market, Walters said, ‘The South African population is expected to grow from 57.7 million in 2018 to 62.3 million by 2023. In particular, the middle class is expected to increase its share over the next few years, which will naturally lead to an increase in the consumption of snacks, confectionery and French fries. In addition, the general trend towards smaller packaging sizes means manufacturers need quicker throughput rates, which is exactly what tna specialises in. But it’s not just about speed. I also believe that there is definitively a gap in the market when it comes to companies that take a more holistic view and are able to provide equipment – and more importantly take responsibility – for the entire production line. With tna’s acquisitions over the last years, we are extremely well-suited to accommodate this need.’