Eric Medji is a co-founder and the Managing Director of OTHENTIKS, a family business specialising in producing and marketing fruit juices.

After graduating from a computer engineering school in Software Engineering, Eric worked for several years as an information systems consultant for computer engineering companies, then as a senior consultant for the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. In January 2002, he joined BearingPoint (former Andersen network) as head of customer relationship management. He created his own consulting company in 2006 to support clients with their digital transformation projects, before beginning an agribusiness journey with OTHENTIKS in 2013.

Through the company OTHENTIKS, Eric supports a cutting-edge industry based on new technologies and respect for the environment, bringing together all actors in the industrial ecosystem.

Eric Medji

CEO, Othentiks

Business Location: Cotonou, Benin

Type: Simplified Joint Stock Company
Year of Founding: 2013
Number of Employees: 11 people – 7 women and 4 men
CEO: Eric Medji

Mission: To produce quality, natural fresh fruit juices and to introduce the benefits of African products to the world.

Vision: To develop a social business model, contributing to the development of disadvantaged populations, while becoming the global market leader in fruit juices and healthy drinks from Africa.

Business Model

OTHENTIKS is a family business created by Eric and Ghislaine Medji and Christian Amedji, which adds value to raw materials from Africa, particularly from Benin. Before launching the business, the founders conducted a market study in Benin and carried out research and trials between 2013 and 2016. They identified a demand among consumers in Benin and neighbouring countries for a more diversified supply of healthy and quality products.

To meet this demand, OTHENTIKS marketed its first eight natural juices in 2017. In addition to its exclusive know-how, which guarantees a level of quality of pressed juice like homemade, five of the OTHENTIKS juices were considered as new in the natural fruit juice market.

The success of these juices with consumers has enabled the company to quickly develop its activities. In addition to its operational structure in Benin, OTHENTIKS has a representation in France to promote its products throughout the world.

Since its creation, OTHENTIKS has become a reference brand for authentic and natural fruit juices in Benin. Its juices are available in various African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo), as well as in Ireland and Guadeloupe.

Strong Relationships with Smallholders

OTHENTIKS sources its raw materials from producers practising sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture in Benin, and more widely from West Africa. Its suppliers are local cooperatives and individual producers. For example, OTHENTIKS supplies pineapples from the National Federation of Village Cooperatives of Pineapple Producers of Benin (Fédération Nationale des Coopératives Villageoises des Producteurs d’Ananas du Bénin, FENACOPAB) which comprises 2,865 producers.

Products and Markets

OTHENTIKS juices are produced from seasonal fruits, without preservatives, colouring, artificial flavouring or added water, to preserve all their health benefits. No sugar is added to the pure juices.

OTHENTIKS’ product range currently includes 15 fresh fruit juices, including:
• Pineapple
• Baobab
• Baobab-Pineapple
• Bissap (Hibiscus)
• Soursop-Pineapple
• Ginger-Pineapple
• Mango-Pineapple
• Mango-Passion fruit-Pineapple
• Papaya-Pineapple
• Passion-Pineapple

Ginger-Pineapple is the best-selling juice.

The juices are pasteurised and bottled directly by the company in 25 cl glass bottles, and have a shelf life of 18 months.

OTHENTIKS processes the fruit into juices, packages the juice and partly distributes it (25% direct sales and 75% via intermediaries).

OTHENTIKS’ production process complies with the Hazard Analysis – Critical Control Point (HACCP) system. The company is also in the process of being certified under FSCC 22000 (Food Safety System Certification). The company is working to source organic fruit in order to produce certified organic juices by 2023.

Innovations: Milestones and Expansion Plans

OTHENTIKS is seeking to further develop its current artisanal production activity. Since 2020, the company’s development has been based on three pillars: industrialisation, internationalisation, and corporate social and environmental responsibility. The objective is to preserve the craft know-how of OTHENTIKS while reaching an industrial technical stage.

In order to meet demand for natural and quality juices in regional and international markets, OTHENTIKS is planning to industrialise its activity, thanks to a provisional investment of approximately 1 million euros in the 5 next years, starting from 2022, to reach a production capacity estimated at 1 million litres after 2025.

The company is currently focusing on the African and European markets, and also aims to supply the North American market and, in the medium term, possibly the South American market.

Success Factors and Lessons Learned

OTHENTIKS aims to continuously innovate in order to propose two to three new products each year. Its objective is to renew its range of products so that consumers can discover new flavours. In this context, the company evaluates and analyses its performance in order to adapt to, and even anticipate, trends and changes in consumption patterns.

As a social enterprise, OTHENTIKS supports its partners’ economic and social development, particularly by sharing the value produced by sales of its products in an equitable way in order to improve their income. The company especially values the training and skills development of its staff.
OTHENTIKS contributes to the development of underprivileged populations by supporting the education of children from these communities, and those with disabilities. The company also finances the construction of schools and water points in villages.

OTHENTIKS promotes environmentally friendly production and a circular economy. The company plans to transform 99% of its production waste into biogas to produce electricity and provide energy autonomy. The sludge residues are used as natural fertiliser for crops. OTHENTIKS also favours raw materials from environmentally friendly production methods, such as organic farming and agroecology.

In order to continue its activity and to amplify its positive impacts, OTHENTIKS benefits from several sources of development support. COLEACP is working with the company in its training and certification processes. The organisation Partners for Development (PfD), via the PINEX project, supports OTHENTIKS in promoting its products for export by taking part in trade fairs; through quality certification processes (e.g. HACCP); and by providing training for employees and partners. Finally, the company benefits from support of the Belgian Cooperation, Enabel, via its DEFIA project, to build new infrastructures and install production lines, notably an organic line.

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