How to Start a Hot Sauce Business

Updated on 26 June 2023

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How to Start a Hot Sauce Business

Hot sauces have become a staple in most South African households, serving as a sauce, spice and condiment, and enjoyed with a variety of meals. Capitalising on this growing demand, an increasing number of entrepreneurs are venturing into the hot sauce business.

Starting a hot sauce business in South Africa is relatively simple as long as you have the right recipe, packaging and access to the market.

Follow these six steps to help you get started.

Get the hot sauce recipe right

It’s important to develop a unique hot sauce recipe to increase your chances of success. Some of the factors to consider when creating a hot sauce recipe are the flavour, heat levels and ingredients. Most hot sauces are made with a mixture of chilli peppers, together with additional ingredients such as salt, vinegar, vegetables, fruits, and garlic. However, it’s important to develop a unique recipe in order to stand out.

Develop a clear business plan

Like any business, starting a hot sauce business requires some planning, upfront investment and a lot of hard work.

Some of the key points you should cover in your business plan are an overview of your hot sauce business as well as your unique selling point and target market. The business plan should also outline your marketing approach, including branding and packaging design. Furthermore, also include your planned distribution channels, such as retail stores, online platforms, or direct sales.

Determine costs

The cost of setting up a hot sauce business will vary greatly depending on your ingredients, production size and packaging materials.

Some setup costs to consider include your raw materials, packaging, rent, kitchen equipment and marketing and advertising.

Legal and regulatory considerations

In addition to business registration, certain businesses are required to get a business licence in terms of the Businesses Act, this includes hot sauce manufacturers.

Read: More on licensing and permits for the food and beverage service industry 

Regulations also require a food business to possess a certificate of acceptability. For a certificate of acceptability, you will be required to provide information regarding the nature and type of food being handled on the premises, the nature of the handling (e.g. preparation, packing, processing etc), and certain other information.

Product labelling

Your hot sauce will require labelling for both branding purposes and to meet certain legal requirements. Product labels must contain the following information:

  • Name, trade name or description;
  • Name and complete address of manufacturer/packer, importer, country of origin of the imported food;
  • Net weight, number or volume of contents in metric units;
  • Distinctive batch, lot or code number;
  • Month and year of manufacture and packaging;
  • Month and year by which the product is best consumed;
  • Information about pharmaceutical and industrial products must be in English;
  • If food products have been genetically modified (GM) this must be indicated in the label;
  • Include a warning on all packaging in respect of unusual hazards which may be caused as a result of i.e. allergens, additives or colourants;
  • The consumer must be clear on what the intended purpose of the product is and that harm may ensue should the consumer not use the product for that intended purpose;
  • Before packaging and labelling is released for any product, it should be reviewed in terms of the applicable labelling legislation, regulations and standards.

Read: Product packaging and labelling regulations 

Find customers

One of the biggest challenges for a new hot sauce brand is securing customers. Some of the best avenues to sell your product are retail stores, e-commerce stores, or direct sales. Additionally, reaching out to local Shisanyamas can offer opportunities to supply hot sauce as a complementary condiment for their meat dishes.

Read: A Guide to Launching a Shisanyama Business

It’s also a good idea to tyr get your hot sauce stocked on the shelves of major retailers. However, it’s important to ensure that your product adheres to the retailer’s product, legal and labelling requirements.

Read: A Guide to Getting Your Product into Pick n Pay 


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