Saikav Foods: The local delight that landed a major retailer partnership
The story behind the brand making home staples convenient to all South Africans.
Dhal is a simple everyday staple in most South African-Indian homes. A staple that formed the foundation of the Saikav Foods Company, owned by the Francis and Naidoo families.
Co-founder Pregasen Francis and his family lived in the UK for a while and were in search of familiar traditional foods. In their search, they were introduced to a product that was pre-boiled yellow split peas available in a can. Pregasen and Keshry Francis introduced this to their visiting South African family, the Naidoos (Marvin Naidoo and Rose Naidoo), and that’s when the idea for the company was born.
In 2010, Saikav Foods was launched with just one product. Rose laid the groundwork for Saikav by adopting a strategy of on-the-ground marketing and distribution through various independent local stores. This network was built by developing relationships with retailers while enhancing our understanding of consumer needs.
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The name Saikav was formed from a combination of Pregasen and Keshry’s daughters’ names, Saiyuri and Kavana. The company originally began in the UK, but as the exchange rate increased, importing became too expensive. So, in 2015, the company moved continents and Saikav Foods started manufacturing from Gauteng. The company currently employs 10 people throughout the country, and they engage with other small- and medium-sized businesses.
The idea was to make home staples more convenient to all. The problem with pulses, beans and legumes is that all of them require soaking and boiling before preparing. What began as just one product, the ready-to-“heat and eat” Split Pea Curry Dhall, has grown to eight: pre-soaked and boiled sugar beans, broad beans, Moong Dhall and lentils, all canned in brine, as well as pre-soaked and boiled Gram Dahll, chickpeas and split peas, all ready to cook.
Saikav products provide convenience to the consumer. With South Africans constantly bearing the brunt of the increasing energy crisis , their pre-soaked and boiled range offers fast, nutritious meals with minimum energy and time.
Co-founder Priyanka Naidoo explains that the company is planning to expand the brand by identifying other products that can be made readily accessible to consumers and they exploring the export market.
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In 2021, after the full range came into effect, the Shoprite Checkers group agreed to stock the Saikav range in 25 stores. Now, the entire Saikav range can be found nationally in all Checkers stores and on the Checkers 60/60 app in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Saikav product range can also be found in some Pick n Pay branches in KwaZulu-Natal. For a full list of retailers, visit the Saivav Foods website, and follow them on Instagram for recipe inspiration.