Nataïs, the European leader in popcorn, takes hold in South Africa

International expansion continues apace.


The Nataïs Company, the European leader in popcorn, is creating a subsidiary company in South Africa to continue its international development. Nataïs Popcorn South Africa shall also allow the Gers Company to secure its sources of supply so as to provide solutions for its export customers.

Year after year, the “made in Gers” popcorn continues to seduce international customers. Today a European leader, Nataïs intends pursuing its development by taking a leading position in new markets. It is to this end that the company based in Bézéril (32) has just created a subsidiary company in South Africa.

“We already had a long-term relationship with South-African corn farmers, explains Michael Ehmann, founder and president of Nataïs. We have been getting supplies for bulk popcorn from there as a complement to our volumes produced in the South-west of France by our 220 partner farmers for several years now. By creating the Nataïs Popcorn South Africa subsidiary company, through a joint-venture with Jochwe, a renowned actor for the quality of its productions, we are taking a further step forward in our international expansion”.

Nataïs South-African subsidiary company, based in Hopetown, 820 kilometers north of the Cape, shall indeed help Nataïs strengthen its security of supply, a strong requirement from its customers. It will also give Nataïs the opportunity to be able to develop in new markets in Asia and in the Middle East where the quality of its productions seduces many distributers. “By expanding in the Southern hemisphere, in the province of Northern Cape, where the climate and the grounds are ideal for the culture of maize of the popcorn kind, we avoid any climate-related risks which could take place in the Northern hemisphere and weigh on our harvests in term of quantity and quality”, underlines Michael Ehmann.

5% to 10% of the Gers manufacturer’s additional volumes could be assured in the long term via Nataïs Popcorn South Africa. In parallel, Nataïs shall continue its development in the South-west of France. The surface area of farmland dedicated to maize of the popcorn kind shall be increased from 4,500 to 5,000 hectares in 2014 to reach a total generation which shall rise from 25,000 to 30,000 tons. The number of Nataïs partner corn farmers shall increase from today’s 220 to 240. A development strategy in line with the growth the Gers Company is experiencing. It consolidated its position as a European leader for microwavable and bulk popcorn in 2013 with a sales turnover of 38 million Euros, a rise of 25%, and recruited twenty employees on the Bézéril site, bringing the total number of employees to 120.


About Nataïs

Nataïs is the European leader in collection and conditioning of popcorn with 4.500 hectares of farmland and 38 million Euros of sales turnover in 2013. The company has 120 employees and works with 220 producers including 20 organic producers, who are bound by a partnership agreement and who supply Nataïs with corn. The Gers Company has set up a common sustainable development strategy with the farmers while reducing by 20% its water usage and its provision of seeds, while ensuring GMO-free maize. Nataïs popcorn supplies cinemas, industries and popcorn wholesalers. The company also created its own line of microwavable goods made up of a variety of aromas (caramel, salted, salted butter, cheese, etc …).

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