Niselo Gluten-free Drinks and Beverages are manufactured by Nutrigo SA under licence from Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) (Pretoria South Africa), where the research was initially done as part of AU-SANBio BioFISA II Innovation Challenge.
A grant of R1million was won by the team led by Prof David Katerere from TUT Department of Pharmaceutical Science and Dr Lems Kwape from the National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) in Botswana. This led to the development of the IP which led to two products, Synmba, and later Niselo for the South African market.
In 2019, Nutrigo SA was incorporated and negotiated for the Niselo licence which it deployed via a toll manufacturing model growing the distribution of the product from a handful of stores in Pretoria West to over 10 places around Tshwane including university campuses. Today Nutrigo has a small manufacturing site where it produces the beverage and contract - manufactures for other small businesses needing our expertise. The South African team is made up of Prof David Katerere, Dr Oluwaseyi (Seyi) Aboyade (production), Dr Callistus Bvenura (operations), Mr Ed Shoko - Lekhuleni (governance) and Mr Godwin Jacob (marketing).
In 2022, Nutrigo took a majority stake in BiaGo, a UK based company which was set up to take earth-friendly African food innovations into the UK and European markets.
At the heart of Nutrigo SA is the desire to provide good, evidence - based natural nutrition. We want to bring our product innovation into wider use across the continent and beyond. Our end goal is to improve nutritional outcomes for all. We pledge to give 5% of our production batches to charitable causes and communities in need, We want to improve nutrition resilience, especially in children under 15.
We therefore partner with Rotary Clubs to distribute Niselo to the causes they support. In doing so, we want to contribute to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals of Good Health and Wellbeing (UN SDG 3) and Zero Hunger(UN SDG 2).
Partner with us and together we can impact communities in need.
Nutri-Go's mission is "Sustainable Nutrition". Our first Gluten Free Dairy Free probiotic drink, NISELO, is developed from sorghum, a highly nutritious cereal plant that is well adapted to climate change and sustainable farming practices.
Sorghum is a grain that is indigenous to Africa and has been in use for centuries. Through a selective process, people domesticated wild grass and over time strains that suited their taste and ecology became dominant. As a versatile and drought-tolerant crop, sorghum is now the fifth most important cereal crop in the world with 30-35% being used for biofuel production. Use in Africa is however still predominantly as a food source for both animals and humans. The whole grain is often ground into a meal and used for preparing porridge; plain or fermented. It is also used alone or in combination with other cereals to produce both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages using legacy recipes passed from generation to generation. Some of these recipes have been commercialised with the beverage being presented in bottles, cans and plasticised cardboard cartons.
Sorghum presents an attractive alternative grain to the traditional grains of wheat, barley, and oats. African sorghum production is difficult to track. Small-holders farmers produce crop for their own consumption tend not to take it to silo. Seed is rarely commercially sourced and is saved for future cultivation and it not uncommon for farmers to share seed. Ad-hoc support from government and academic institutions has sought to standardise and improve de-shelling and storage techniques but this often lacks strategic insight and co-ordination.
Commercial production of a fermented sorghum drink will create a value chain that will invigorate sorghum production leading to consistency and growth in cultivation hectarage. This will in turn develop dedicated logistics and production lines making it easier to retain organic and gluten-free claims. With the U.N. General Assembly recently adopting a resolution supported by more than 70 countries, declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets, the popularity and marketability of sorghum will grow. It is hoped that investment in the supporting infrastructure will increase; helping sorghum take its rightful place as a viable nutritional source that is resilient to climate change.
Founded in 2019, as a spinout company of Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, South Africa; Nutri-Go SA is registered with the CIPC in South Africa (reg. number K2019411547).
Nutri-Go SA has global ambitions and is actively exploring and developing international opportunites and overseas markets. The recent tie-up with the UK based company BiaGo is therefore an exciting development in our strategy to position African food innovations to the global market.