Chances that consumer goods group Tiger Brands — a portfolio including Tastic, Koo, All Gold and Enterprise — would come out of the 2018 financial year unscathed were slim to nonexistent. That the company was at the centre of the fatal listeriosis outbreak was always going to hit its 2018 financial results. But the outbreak, which killed more than 200 people, only aggravated what was a difficult trading environment for SA’s biggest food producer and its peers. Even without the deadly outbreak, which cost the company R1.4bn in the year to end-September, Tiger Brands was always up against it, as consumer demand had taken strain from the VAT increase and rising transport costs. Tiger Brands is, however, not alone. Most companies in the food producers’ index are not having the best of times. The index   consistently underperformed in 2018, compared with the JSE's all share index (Alsi). At midday on Monday, the food producers’ index was down 28.28% for 2018, compared with the Alsi’s...

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