The sugarcane juice business

The sugarcane juice concept is relatively new in Ghana.  The juice caught my attention when I saw a couple of gentlemen at Peduase, Springfield Junction vending fresh sugarcane juice. My entrepreneurial curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to ask a few questions. I devoted some time to do some research on the sugarcane plant.

The sugarcane plant is actually a kind of grass. The sugarcane ( Saccharum officinarum) is a species of perennial grass of the family of Poaceae. Most of the world’s sugar cane is grown in subtropical and tropical areas. The plant is also grown for biofuel production especially in Brazil, as the canes can be used directly to produce ethyl alcohol (ethanol). The by-product from the sugarcane processing, namely straw and bagasse (cane fibres) can be used to produce cellulosic ethanol, a second – generation biofuel. Other sugarcane products include molasses, rum and I hear it can also be used for brewing ‘Akpateshi’ our local alcohol. The plant itself can be used as thatch and as livestock fodder.

The cultivation of sugarcane in Ghana leaves a lot to be desired. I may be wrong, but the findings of my research show sugarcane is not widely cultivated. I hope with the new trend of fitness and healthy living and the surging demand for juice will help accelerate the cultivation of the plant.

Sugarcane juice is not only like any other sweet juice, but it also has many other nutrients. The juice is extracted from the cane by pressing it through iron rollers. It is nutritious and refreshing. It contains about 15% natural sugar and is rich in organic salts and vitamins. The juice can also be used for sweetening. A little lime juice may be mixed with the juice to improve flavour.

Let’s look at the health benefits of this sweet energy giving liquid:

sugarcane_juice_juicehenekofi

The cane juice gives an instant kick of energy and quenches the thirst. Sugarcane juice is a good source of glucose which, helps to re-hydrate the human body and gives it a boost of energy. So instead of the artificial energy drink, the next time you feel tired or dehydrated, consider sipping a glass of sugarcane juice.

Even though sugarcane juice tastes very sweet and has high sugar content, it is good for diabetic patients. It contains natural sugar which has a low glycemic index that prevents a steep rise in blood glucose levels in diabetics, so it can act as a substitute for aerated drinks for them. However, people with Type-2 diabetes should consume it in moderation and after consultation with their doctors.

Sugarcane juice is considered an alkaline forming food because of the high concentration of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and manganese in it.  Diseases like cancer cannot survive in an alkaline environment and that’s why studies show that it is effective in fighting cancer, especially prostate and breast cancer.

As sugarcane juice boosts protein levels in the body, it helps in maintaining the health of the kidney. Taken in a diluted form, with lime juice and coconut water, sugar cane juice helps in reducing the burning sensation which is commonly associated with urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, kidney stones, and prostatitis.

The antioxidants in sugarcane juice help to fight infections and boost the immune system of the body. It also protects the liver against infections and helps in keeping the bilirubin levels in control. This is one of the reasons that doctors’ advice jaundice patients to drink sugarcane juice, as it is one of the few things that gets easily digested and does not put any pressure on the liver and also helps in reducing the bilirubin levels.

Sugarcane juice also acts as a good digestive aid due to the presence of potassium. It helps in keeping the digestive system in good shape, prevents stomach infections and is considered to be particularly useful in treating the problem of constipation.

Studies show that sugarcane juice protects against tooth decay and bad breath due to its high mineral content. So save yourself the next trip to the dentist and drink a glass of fresh sugarcane juice to get shiny white teeth.

The deficiency of nutrients in the body can easily be noticed by looking at the health and condition of your nails. If you have brittle discoloured nails that have white spots on them, then it’s time to add sugarcane juice to your diet. It contains everything to give you those strong shiny nails that would look pretty even without nail polish.

Sugarcane juice has been discovered to be good for those people who are struggling with febrile disorders. Febrile disorders result in fevers, which can lead to seizures and loss of proteins in the body. It is quite common in infants and children. Sugarcane juice helps in compensating the lost protein and helps in recovery.

When it comes to healthy skin, alpha hydroxy acids are supposed to have a lot of benefits. They fight acne, reduce blemishes, prevent aging and help in keeping the skin hydrated. One of the most effective alpha hydroxy acids is glycolic acid and sugarcane, which is one of its few natural sources. Just apply sugar cane juice to your skin and let it dry or add it to your favourite face mask and scrub. Use it regularly to see the effect.

While the advantages of sugarcane juice are many, it is essential to ensure that it is extracted in a hygienic manner. It’s also important to use and consume the juice as soon as it is extracted because it tends to get oxidized within 15 minutes. Cold storage can help overcome this challenge.

Starting a sugarcane juice bar

The sugarcane juice sale is fairly new in Ghana. I am actively looking to develop a sales concept around it. The only business active in sugarcane juice is currently located in Osu. They were the same outfit I saw at Peduase.

Capital wise the sugarcane juice set up is on the low side. All you need is your sugarcane, sugarcane juicer, and attractive packaging. Talking about packaging; the juice can be served in dome-shaped cups with a lid, a fancy straw, and colourful tissue. You don’t need a lot of space. Make sure your cups stand out by contracting a graphic designer to design for you very colourful labels with your details. For maximum effect, the labels should be printed on a transparent material. Sugarcane juice can be flavoured with fruits like lime, orange or guava.

From my research, I noticed that the Indians have a thing for sugarcane juice. Most of the sugarcane juicers I looked at happen to be manufactured in India.  The juicers range from manual, hand operated ones to mechanical juicers to fully automated ones equipped with a cold compartment to chill the juice.

I also looked into how to set up with restriction to space. Making your operation mobile so you are not tied down to a particular location is the way to go. Renting out space in Osu or other high traffic areas in Ghana can be very expensive. Being mobile increases your exposure and your profitability. Investing in a mobile stall would be the best option to cash in on the numerous events that are held all over the country. To be honest, the sugarcane juice is so new and fresh that any business that invests in proper branding and logistics will cash in massively.

I tracked down a local business that builds mobile structures of this nature. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much when I called in to have a look at some of the handiworks of this extremely talented gentleman. Long story short, I was blown away and extremely impressed. These are the kinds of businesses, juicehenekofi.com seeks to promote. The fresh juice industry stands to benefit immensely from talented businesses like these.

Do you have plans to start a sugarcane juice business? Get in touch let’s talk and get you started on right away. If you have any questions, kindly leave them in the comments section. Start a juice business today!