Neofresh was established 20 years ago by Tim and Brian Chennels. Since then the company has undergone a few name changes as well as changes in shareholding. From the outset the core business of the company was the production, value-adding and marketing of Papaya.
In 2011 Neofresh merged with one of its competitors, Low’s
Creek, adding 40% to its production area and consolidating retail market share. Before the merger Neofresh hired all its farms but owned the packing facility in Hectorspruit. Its assets were mainly intangible in nature, consisting of Intellectual Property with regards to varieties and trademarks, as well as substantial market share amongst South African retailers. The merger strengthened the balance sheet to enable Neofresh to acquire its flagship farm, Kenworthy Estates. Today Neofresh produces papaya on four farms and litchi on three farms in South Africa. Neofresh has an off-take agreement with a Mozambican company, Carthage Limitada, to exclusively grow and supply papaya under licence. The annual production between the two companies is 16000 tons. Today Neofresh is the biggest supplier of Papaya to the Retail market in South Africa.
In March 2014 Neofresh acquired the shares of the non-operational shareholders. This ended a long and very fruitful relationship with Colors Fruit (Pty) Ltd. The Inge & Mia Schmidt Trust became the only shareholder until 2018, when Norfund acquired a 34% shareholding.