SCHWEPPES Zimbabwe Limited has said it will soon resume production of its 88-year-old flagship Mazoe Orange Crush brand, with the product expected on the market within the next month.
This will come as a huge relief to many Zimbabweans who in December reacted with shock after news that the beverages manufacturer had stopped producing its flagship cordial drink.
Schweppes announced on 11 December last year that it had ceased producing Mazoe Orange Crush, after The Coca-Cola Company which supplies critical ingredients of the product, cut off supplies due to an estimated US$10m debt.
Mazoe Orange Crush is manufactured and distributed by Schweppes Zimbabwe under licence from Coca-Cola whose other products bottled by Schweppes are Minute Maid juices, Bonaqua still water, and Schweppes still water.
Schweppes Zimbabwe has not been manufacturing Mazoe Orange Crush for the past severals weeks, with shops running stocks which were considered reserve.
However, all worries are now extinguished after the company secured a steady shipment of raw materials from Turkey, it has emerged.
Though oranges which make the juice are produced locally, the Coca Cola company supplies Schweppes with key raw materials that include concentrates, and these are imported.
Quotig a company source, the Zimbabwe Independent reports that Schweppes Zimbabwe has taken delivery of a sizeable shipment of concentrates from Turkey, following negotiations with suppliers from that country, with the Mazoe Orange Crush juice expected on the market within the next month.
“As Schweppes, we are pleased to announce that following negotiations with suppliers in Turkey. We will be receiving shipments of concentrates which are a key ingredient in the production of Mazoe Orange Crush. The product will be back on the market within the next month,” the source said, highlighting that the company was geared to produce the popular product.
The beverages company was now engaging with local farmers to ensure the consistent production and supply of oranges, which constitute the key raw material of Mazoe Orange Crush.
Schweppes Zimbabwe exports Mazoe Orange Crush to various countries, which include Namibia, Zambia, South Africa and Botswana.In 2018, there was an uproar on the market when Schweppes tweaked its Mazoe orange recipe to reduce sugar levels.
The new recipe did not appeal to consumers, who demanded the company to restore the original manufacturing formula.
Schweppes Zimbabwe then bowed down to pressure from customers and promptly pulled the new product off the shelves while pledging to bring back the original Mazoe Orange Crush taste.
Mazoe Orange Crush has been part of Zimbabwean history since the 1930s, with strong roots in the Mazowe Valley where one Arthur Sturgess, a drink factory owner from Bulawayo, christened the concentrate drink at the peak of colonial settlement in Zimbabwe.
Since then, the brand has over the years become part of the country’s heritage, that is purchased by numerous households nationwide.
- Additional reporting by Zimbabwe Independent