After teaching philosophy for more than ten years in high schools in Dakar, Senegal, Marie-Andrée Tall obtained an MBA from the African Center for Advanced Studies in Management (Centre Africain d’Etudes Supérieures en Gestion, CESAG) and held executive positions in two industrial companies in the fishing sector.

Marie-Andrée is a committed entrepreneur, who founded the Africa Agro Export Association (AAFEX). AAFEX brings together African entrepreneurs to capitalize on their efforts and so enable companies to be more competitive and export successfully. Marie-Andrée has been its chairman from 2002 to 2014, as well as a member of the Scientific Council of FARM (Foundation for World Agriculture and Rural Life).

In 2010, Marie-Andrée was the first recipient of the African Women Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) initiated by Hillary Clinton. She also received the title of Knight of the French Order of Agricultural Merit in December 2012.

Marie-Andrée Tall

CEO, Fruitales

Business Location: Dakar, Senegal

Type: Limited Liability Company
Year of Founding: 2005
Number of Employees: 20 full-time, 80% of whom are women
CEO: Marie-Andrée Tall

Mission: To add value through processing to Senegalese fruit and vegetables


Fruitales was created as a “citizen company” with a high social impact based on the belief that economic and social goals are not, and should not, be incompatible. Thus, the company aims at meeting social and business objectives, and is dedicated to contribute to improving the lives of its rural partners, including its employees and their families. Fruitales has continued to expand and to positively impact local communities by producing according to the growing demand for locally produced food products in Senegal.

The company prides itself to source all their intrants from Senegal as all fruit and vegetables, labels and packaging (except for glass) originate from Senegal. Fruitales is the first Senegalese company that developed a whole product range based on a variety of peppers.

Relationship with Smallholders

Fruitales purchases their raw materials at a fair price exclusively from producers in Senegal, giving preference to products harvested and produced by women. The company strives for a win-win partnership with its producers, and has established a network of loyal suppliers through contract based agreements, thus guaranteeing a consistent supply of high quality raw materials in every season.

Another positive relationship that Fruitales maintains is that of with their employees. The company hires people from its immediate vicinity, with a special emphasis on recruiting women from disadvantaged backgrounds, who lack professional experience. Through training, these employees acquire skills and are supported in their professional development.

Products Covered and Markets

Fruitales produces a varied range of processed products, including purees and sauces, jams, syrups, herbal teas and spices.

Fruitales operates on local, regional and international markets. In Senegal, their products can be found via supermarket networks, convenience stores and shops in gas stations, hotels and restaurants, as well as on e-commerce websites. The company’s regional market extends to Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Mauritania and Guinea-Bissau through wholesalers supplying supermarkets.
Internationally, Fruitales’ products are sold in France and Belgium through distributors targeting the African diaspora in Europe.

Innovations: Milestones and Expansion Plans

Fruitales strives to increase its purchasing power for raw materials and to boost production, as well as increase storage capacity. The company plans to construct a new, fully equipped production and storage unit in the industrial area of Diamniadion, Senegal, as to modernise its operations. Over the next 5 years, the company plans to multiply its production by 5 or 6 times.
This increased capacity is envisioned to drive higher sales in their local, regional and international markets. Currently, Fruitales’ products can be found in supermarkets but not smaller, more traditional boutiques. They are looking to improve this, while also working to expand their market into other regions and ensuring the products meet the tastes of African consumers. As for European markets, Fruitales is working to lever niche markets.

In line with company expansion, Fruitales aims to create 37 direct jobs, 80% for women, and to support the professional development of 20 young people. The company is optimistic about this growth due to its capacity to train its staff.

With these plans for ramping up, the company is looking for financing – which is where the difficulties and barriers to growth currently lie.

Success Factors and Lessons Learned

Since its creation, the company has witnessed several success stories from the support it provides to its staff, where their employees are able to improve their income, having a positive impact on not only their livelihoods, but the livelihood development of their children.

By supplying only fruit and vegetables from Senegal, Fruitales strengthens agricultural value chains, notably the chili value chain. Its strong partnerships with its fresh food suppliers trickle down to the company’s success with their consumers, who have access to a range of products that offer traceability, transparency and quality.
Customer testimonies have been a major factor to the growth and success of the company. Fruitales has developed new products to enrich its range and meet growing demand. The company desires to continue to surprise their consumers with new products, and to enhance the product range through innovation in the transformation of fruits and vegetables. Its commitment to improving product quality and the attractiveness of packaging are also key factor of its success.

Owing to its success, in October 2022, Fruitales exhibited at The SIAL Food and Beverage trade show (Salon International de l’Agroalimentaire), the largest food trade show in the world.

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