While the traditional takeaway fast-food industry in SA is taking considerable strain as the economy languishes, a quiet revolution is taking place in an alternative, healthier “fast-casual” segment. Its growth is driven by millennial consumers focused on health and sustainability, who are willing to pay a slight premium for this.

One such disruptor to the fast-food sector is Real Foods, owner of the Kauai chain, Nü Health Food Café, artisanal bakery Schoon, and honey businesses Highveld Honey and Brother Bee. Current CEO and former corporate financier Dean Kowarski founded the business in 2013. His “light-bulb” moment came while he was working on the New York corporate finance treadmill, eating poorly, and usually from not-so-healthy fast-food outlets. He reasoned that if he couldn’t control his workload, he could at least manage his diet, and so began his passion for “real, healthy food”.

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