Micvac Expands Technology Leadership in Chilled Ready Meal Production to South Africa

Swedish food tech company, Micvac, has revolutionised the ready-meal market. Key to the freshness and quality of Micvac meals are in-pack cooking and pasteurisation as well as Micvac’s patented packaging components: the Micvac tray and the unique Micvac valve. This innovative method for the production of chilled ready meals is currently utilised in almost 20 countries around the world. The South African brand “The Whistling Chef” by Clover was recently added to that list.

Micvac ready meals in South Africa: first taste of African success story
The South African Clover company, initially specialised in dairy products, is a leading branded food and beverages group in South Africa and selected African countries. “The Whistling Chef” range is Clover’s most recent offering for the ready meal market. It includes South African favourites such as Creamy Macaroni & Cheese, Cottage Pie, Creamy Alfredo, Beef Lasagne and Spaghetti Bolognese.

Nationwide social media success for Whistling Chef launch
The brand was launched with the help of local celebrities, Pearl Thusi and Ntokozo Dlamini, who led an intrigued crowd to a “The Whistling Chef” tasting event. This was accompanied by a viral promotion campaign that included reports and hits on TV, radio and different social media channels including YouTube. In the run-up to this event, groups of chefs walked around whistling in various South African cities. Amateur videos posted on social media led to an overwhelming viral success. People tweeted about whistling chefs not knowing about the brand yet. In the middle of this, the big launch event took place, finally revealing the actual product. The event hit the media with reports on a flash mob staged by employees dressed as chefs, and celebrities Thusi and Dlamini sampling “The Whistling Chef” ready meals. During the launch consumers were able to taste the products and test Clover’s promise of delicious convenience food with quality ingredients. Interest for “The Whistling Chef” products is now at an all-time high. Karolina Eldh, Communication Manager, Micvac, is excited: “It’s very nice to see how they have combined social media with fun activities to arouse interest in the meals. This provides great inspiration for the launch of our exceptional products.”

First in Africa to use the Micvac method
The collaboration between Micvac and Clover make “The Whistling Chef” range the first in South Africa to use Micvac’s innovative ready-meal production and packaging method. Clover decided to invest in Micvac’s flexible option with a semi-automatic line using the MSA20 and a smaller tunnel. Its capacity can easily be increased with more tunnel modules and an automatic sealing and filling line. The two companies worked closely together on recipe and tray development. This led to a new tray specifically geared towards Clover’s needs and market requirements. “The Whistling Chef” range is completely halal and was developed by food technologists and specialists. It has been available since 14th of May at select retailers and forecourts throughout South Africa. The product’s fun slogans perfectly sum up its appeal across target markets: ‘Working late again!’, ‘Mum’s night off!’ and ‘Cooking for one made fun!’

“We are very excited that our collaboration with Clover has led to the release of this innovative new range into the South African market,” says Johan Zetterberg, Business Development Director at Micvac. “The Whistling Chef contains real Clover cheese, milk, butter and cream. Only the best and freshest ingredients are used, and the Micvac method guarantees that they keep their delicious flavour.”