IT in Manufacturing

Yapper: pet food goes digital

August 2019 IT in Manufacturing

Over the past decade, there has been an increase of the ‘pet humanisation’ trend, which continues to capture the entire world. Pet owners are caring for and spending on their pets as they would do for a family member. The rising demand for pet care products has proven to be a boon for the pet care industry. The demand for pet care products is not limited to food and drugs alone, pet owners are going as far as signing their pets up for exercise regimes and beauty treatments.

Globally, the pet industry had a market value of $983 billion in 2018, growing at 5,3% during the period 2011-2018. The market is further projected to reach a value of $128,4 billion by 2024, growing at a slightly lower rate of 4,5% from 2019-2024. In South Africa, the annual pet industry market size is R18 billion, where the pet food market alone is worth R5 billion. Furthermore, ‘platform business models ’have become a buzzword (unsurprisingly), as they allow us to harness and create large, scalable networks of users and resources that can be accessed on demand. With different types of platform business models i.e. Twitter, Uber or AirBnB, it becomes apparent that there is nothing yet available for the pet industry in South Africa.

The solution

RCL Foods is a South African market leader and owns approximately 40% of the local pet food market. With knowledge and insights on the pet industry, the business is in a favourable position to disrupt the market, expanding on its current, more traditional, manufacturing operation. A small team has been put together, consisting of the Transformation Management Office and Digital Marketing, to build a pet-centric platform that allows pet owners to be rewarded for taking care of their animals’ health and wellness. The idea is to build an agile pet-centric solution, driven by consumer demand, determined and confirmed through data insights. The Yapper Rewards programme was launched at the beginning of May as a progressive web app (PWA) targeted around consumer insights, agile builds and data-driven decision making.

The result

Since launch, Yapper has partnered with big corporate household brands, including Pick ‘n Pay through its Pet Club programme, Dotsure Pet Insurance, Identipet and even a US-based pet fitness tracker company, FitBark. Data is used to make informed, data-driven decisions to see ongoing, exponential growth. The goal is to turn data into information of value and ultimately into insights to generate actions. This is an ongoing cycle across all channels, which includes the member database, Google Paid Search/CPC, Social Media (Facebook and Instagram) and further sources or mediums of traffic, analysed with Google Analytics.


Technology should be an enabler of not only digitisation, but company re-imagination. Traditional corporate companies should embrace change and continue to look for new markets and possibilities to grow into the future. “The world is now awash in data and we can see consumers a lot clearer.” – Max Levchin, PayPal co-founder.

For more information contact Hilde Volschenk, RCL Foods, +27 31 242 8595,,

Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

SA company launches AI-based risk screening mobile app
October 2020 , IT in Manufacturing
The Instant Vitals app converts a mobile phone into a key vital signs medical device that could save lives when screening for Covid-19 symptoms.

Danfoss debuts Alsense
November 2020, Danfoss , IT in Manufacturing
Danfoss has updated and enhanced its service offering to create a more sustainable, scalable and secure cloud-based portal for managing food retail operations.

Digitalising mineral processing operations
November 2020 , IT in Manufacturing
Mining’s accelerated move toward digital solutions is being supported by FLSmidth’s decades of research and development. The company has over 80 projects underway to improve its mining-related offerings.

Schneider Electric provides digital technologies to the mining industry
November 2020, Schneider Electric South Africa , IT in Manufacturing
“The organisation has invested significantly to develop a specialised competence in mining applications,” explains Marc Ramsay, vice president industry business unit at Schneider Electric South Africa. ...

Smart manufacturing and the new normal
November 2020, Absolute Perspectives , IT in Manufacturing
In manufacturing, it is likely that billions of dollars have been lost in 2020, while a high percentage of manufacturing jobs have been negatively impacted.

Will OT take over MES?
October 2020 , IT in Manufacturing
Industry 4.0 forces the convergence where IT needs to knock on the door of a manufacturing plant and sell OT, not IT or MES.

Get full value from data science
October 2020, Omron Electronics , IT in Manufacturing
As huge amounts of data become available from the factory floor, information must be extracted and presented to the right audience, at the right time, and in the right way.

Predictive analytics for artificial lifts
October 2020, Emerson Automation Solutions , IT in Manufacturing
Machine learning and artificial intelligence applications in artificial lift systems have seen a growth in importance recently and are no longer a nice to have, but essential tools for well optimisation.

How can manufacturers survive under the new normal to 2021 and beyond?
October 2020, RJ Connect , IT in Manufacturing
Thanks to COVID-19, the manufacturing industry is entering the era of unmanned operations. How best can companies adapt to the new normal and maintain efficient operations?

Artificial intelligence in manufacturing
October 2020 , IT in Manufacturing
This article summarises the case studies presented at ARC’s recent virtual European Industry Forum and shows potential usage of AI in today’s smart factories.