Vasco da Gama Peri Peri

September 9, 2022
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Vasco da Gama Peri Peri recently won a gold award for their mild Peri Peri, and we just had to find out how this started.

We asked the team to tell us about this company:

Please tell us when your company was founded, and some of its history.

Wayne recalls his earliest peri peri soaked memories – buying portions of slap chips (soft French fries) after school at the Portuguese-owned café, in Nelspruit’s town centre. He still remembers the distinct flavour and aroma of the chilli sauce mixed with the amazing smells of salt and vinegar chips, the owner drenched the chips in; a hot, greasy peri peri sauce filling your nose with the smell of warm spices as you walk home.

Many years later, and stranded by the COVID lockdown, Wayne tried to replicate this fond childhood memory by experimenting with his interpretation of the chilli sauce. After many months of development, he finally managed to cook up a batch of peri peri sauce that captured that specific nostalgic memory, filled with a deliciously intoxicating blend of paprika, garlic, ginger, black pepper and chilli - this was so exciting!

Hard-pressed by the lockdown bans enforced due to COVID restrictions, Wayne put his heart and soul into marketing his peri peri products, starting close with friends and family. Soon, he realized that like the slow burn of a good chilli sauce, the fire was spreading, and his products were exceptionally well received, people loved it! I guess you could say, the rest is history...

The Vasco Da Gama Peri Peri brand pays homage to the flavours and aromas of collective Portuguese cuisine, and nods in the direction of the 14th century East African trade route, when herbs and spice became a coveted trade commodity.

Today we have formed a company to be able to supply you with the very same recipe and to ensure the same traditions are carried in the generations to come...

Please tell us about some of the unique features of your company.

Well, there is one thing that is relevant to all aspects of life, what you put in is what you get out. We focus on very high-quality raw products that match our documented specifications and procedures. From there, we follow a strict protocol of food safety methodologies to ensure every small hand-crafted batch is delivered with satisfaction.

We are a very small team, that is integrated with various skills and knowledge. We love to work together in the production facility. Small batch, handcrafted Peri Peri sauce. You can never make it alone and have to choose your team very carefully, teamwork is one of the most important aspects of quality products.


What do you think are some of the unique products you have?

As far as we know, we are also the only company globally that manufactures a plain Peri Peri sauce, this is a Peri Peri fragrant sauce with no chillies, you get the same flavours, and the same consistency but no burn. It took us a long time to get the product to perfection and have seen more sales as we advertise the product. Actually, Children love this Plain Peri Peri sauce!

Soon to launch will be our new fermented Jalapeno sauce! This is going to be another winner in the South African market.

Please tell us what is unique about your manufacturing process, and your manufacturing philosophy.

We keep it simple, small batch and handcrafted. For example, we only manufacture 200 bottles per batch and to dive deeper into that, every chilly is selected by hand, and inspected individually. One requires a lot of focus to be persistent on quality.

Everyone in the team must buy into the quality process to ensure the end product is satisfactory.

We have received another shipment from China this week with new equipment that is going to level up our game in the market and look from an efficiency point of view much better, yet keeping our quality control on the same standard.

What do you think is your distinct advantage or reason for your success?

Develop an incredible product, use feedback to deliver and balance out where you missed it, then put your goals up, see them every day, and believe the best is yet to come.

There are many days when one can easily be discouraged, these are only minor in the timeline compared to the big goals. Remain focused and keep your faith.

What is the consumer demographic of your products, and what feedback are you getting?

We have expanded our consumer circle utilizing introduction with the plain Peri Peri, as there are only so many people who love hot sauce. We offer a Plain, Mild, Hot and soon Jelepeno fermented sauce. This allows more consumers to buy into our range.

The hot sauce market in South Africa is still small and there is enough room for more companies to start up.

How do you see your company or product on the global stage?

Absolutely, this is one of the goals, global expansion. We have plans to move into the global market but first, we want to fully saturate the South African market, then the African continent and then move there step by step. Competing globally is a long, slow process, however, we are definitely going there.

In what countries can your product be found?

As of this moment, only in South Africa, if there is anyone in Namibia to stock our products, please reach out to be the first!

We would love to be in touch with retailers across South Africa to take our product onboard. We have also seen great success with Deli's and Butcheries which are currently stocking our products.

Please tell us if you have any innovations in the pipeline for the future.

So currently we have only one type of spice, sold in a shaker. This is a very well-developed South African spice, super fragrant with notes of sweet honey and a slight taste of Worcester sauce that is complimented by various spices to add the profile of the trade route ingredients.

We have plans to expand to a wide spice range very soon. This all takes time and market research to deliver and superior quality product to the market, something that will stand out.

Contact details:

Contact person: Wayne van Zyl

Email Address:

Contact Number: +27 (0)63 754 0421