A social entrepreneur started a 100% juice brand in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape because he wanted to make a healthy and affordable juice option accessible to all, especially residents in his impoverished community.
A former television actor, Lethu Mlonzi was inspired to become an entrepreneur when he struggled to find a nutritious juice to quench his thirst. He also wanted to find a solution for malnourishment that was plaguing his community.
“I was thirsty and wanted something to drink but I didn’t want fizzy drinks or water, I wanted a juice that would be nutritious and filling,” said Mlonzi, the founder and director of Impilo Juice. His frustrations inspired him to start a business to produce fruit juices in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape.
His business produces SABS tested and approved freshly pressed 100% juices that don’t contain any preservatives, added sugar, and artificial colouring. It’s available in pineapple, orange, peach, and watermelon flavours.
Substitute for fizzy and unhealthy drinks
When Lethu started the Impilo Juice brand in 2018, he wanted to come up with healthier options for himself and his community. He noticed there are many children in his community that don’t get a balanced and nutritious meal and spend the little money they have on junk food because there are often no healthy snack options.
Statista reported that the number of undernourished people in South Africa was 3.8 million between 2018 and 2020.
He strongly believes the option to make healthier choices should be accessible to all and a person’s social or financial status should not hinder their access to healthy food choices.
Dieticians recommend drinking fruit juice because you get essential nutrients and stay hydrated. There are loads of benefits to drinking 100% juice; it can boost the immune system, replenish much-needed vitamins and minerals, improve gut health, and promote healthy hair and skin.
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted
He started his business by doing in-depth research online on how to make juice. Before, he had had many failed attempts while trying to make juice at home with a blender. “I eventually saved money and purchased a juicer, and I grew from there until I opened a manufacturing and agro-processing company,” he said.
Even though he is a passionate entrepreneur, he admits that it comes with loads of challenges. Before becoming an entrepreneur, he worked as a television actor, production assistant and assistant director.
Lethu added that receiving a salary from an employer at the end of the month is easier than becoming an entrepreneur because you must continuously find ways to bounce back from business challenges.
His determination to serve his community and create a positive impact is admirable. He is grateful that his community is supportive of his business venture and hopes to continue being the change he wants to see.
Why juice is best
Mzansi, your immune system is constantly active, figuring out which cells are good and belong in your body, and which don’t. A robust immune system fights foreign diseases and reduces the risk of infection. Rome was not built in a day, and a little booster juice can help speed the process of building immunity.
Durban-based registered dietitian, and holistic health and wellness coach, Danielle Oldfield, says when done correctly, drinking juices can be helpful and useful in boosting the immune system.
This is because when you add ingredients such as ginger, for example, it may boost immune health due to its strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
“Try to aim for recipes that use more vegetables and less fruit to keep the sugar content down.”
Oldfield adds that upping your intake of antioxidant-rich foods and vegetables such as ginger or consuming pressed juices that use ginger as a main ingredient, may combat inflammation and keep your immune system healthy.
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