A confectionery importing business imports sweets from a foreign market and sells them in the local market.
South Africa has a very poor selection of sweets and chocolates often the large brands opt to only make and sell the sweets and chocolates that are the simplest to manufacture in SA and will heavily market them so people buy them. Leaving us with very little variety.
Besides this there are two more popular markets, the one is old, and that is importing foods from a certain country often targeted to be sold to expats in the local market. But this market has deteriorated in recent years as the (often European) target market driving demand has gone back home. I don’t know if there is an opportunity for importing sweets and chocolates for the immigration from Africa, Asia and South Asia. Maybe food but not luxuries at least not to the guys from Africa. I think they probably have less variety in their countries.
And then there is the current “hot” demand that is driven by social media “influencers“, trying sweets from all over the world and also the mukbang movement. But tread very carefully in this industry as it might just be a passing fad.
In this business, the company imports the sweets and sells them retail, usually at a premium. But still overall cheaper than what it will cost for the person to import the item individually. The company doing the importing will often use a cheap shipping method like sea freight in a container something that is not possible with a few bags. To give you an example $20 worth of Flamin Hot Cheetos can cost up to $100 to ship to SA if you using air freight. That is why you have people paying R100 a packet of Cheetos in SA because they saw a cute Japanese girl eating it on social media and they want to try it.
The subscription box model
To just buy and sell foreign sweets can be a modest business, but there are ways to make it profitable, and that is the subscription box model. Every month you sell a different box of sweets from overseas but the contents are a surprise. So let’s say the box cost R250, now in that box, you can make a higher margin than selling individually because not only is there an element of surprise but you can mix an expensive brand with cheaper brands. Like for example Wasabi Kit Kat from Japan and maybe some Japanese DIY candy.