Case study: Mérieux NutriSciences

Valmé Stewart, owner and managing director of Mérieux NutriSciences (formerly Swift Micro Laboratories (Pty) Ltd). Since its inception in 1991 as the first commercial food-testing laboratory of its kind in South Africa, Mérieux NutriSciences has built a brand name synonymous with quality and service.

In South Africa, Mérieux NutriSciences provides a comprehensive product-safety service to the food and beverage, cosmetics, hospitality and related industries throughout the SADC region from its branches in Cape Town, Midrand, Durban, George and Jeffreys Bay. By addressing needs such as microbiological and chemical testing of products, the design, implementation and auditing of quality management systems, staff training (from floor-worker to management level), as well an on-site technical consultancy service, Mérieux NutriSciences builds long-term partnerships with its clients.

The company was originally established in October 1991 but in April 2001, Mrs Stewart, who had joined the company as microbiologist in 1991, acquired ownership during a management buy-out financed by Business Partners. After a decade of ownership by parastatal organisations, privatisation marked the beginning of a new era for Swift. Building on the strong foundation and loyal client base established during the first decade, the company changed its focus to service improvement and meeting industry needs. This necessitated further business expansion in 2004, when Business Partners financed their acquisition of the training and technical consultancy division of one of their competitors. 

The company relocated the entire Cape Town operation to its own custom-renovated premises in Claremont, Cape Town in September 2007. In January 2011 an administrative office was opened in George, servicing southern Cape clients. Swift entered into an exclusive agreement with George Weston Technologies in Sydney, Australia for the provision of nutritional and other chemical analyses to the South African and African markets from 1 April 2011. Our second regional office was opened in Durban in June 2011 bringing Swift closer to our Kwazulu-Natal clients.

In August 2012 Swift Micro Laboratories announced an international joint venture with Silliker, a Mérieux NutriSciences Company. Present in 17 countries, Mérieux NutriSciences employs more than 6 000 people in 80 laboratories worldwide. The joint venture enabled Swift to further grow their brand, gave them access to international expertise, and enabled Swift to rapidly expand its service portfolio with internationally proven methods and services. As of 1 March 2016, Swift officially began trading as Mérieux NutriSciences.

In South Africa, Mérieux NutriSciences’ core business goal remains the continued building of its brand name and reputation, which has become one of the strongest in the industry over the past 28 years. Mrs Stewart believes the phenomenal growth of the company in a very competitive service industry is inextricably linked to the quality of its service, which, in turn, is directly attributable to the quality and dedication of its staff.

The content in this article was provided by Mérieux NutriSciences.

For more information, contact:


Tel: 021 683 8436 (Cape Town) or 011 805 4310 (Midrand)


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