By Zablon Oyugi
Unga Group Limited, a prominent Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) listed firm, has unveiled an ambitious plan to satisfy the ever-growing demand among health-conscious consumers for nutritious food options. This initiative is aligned with the company’s comprehensive food strategy, designed to enhance corporate value, and return on investment for its shareholders by diversifying its portfolio with value-added products.
The relaunch is part of a comprehensive Ksh521 million three-year market repositioning initiative, aimed at enhancing the company’s corporate value and delivering increased returns to its shareholders through a diversified range of value-added products.
Seizing the rising demand for nutritious foods
During a re-launch event at the firm’s manufacturing complex in Nairobi, Unga Group managing director, Mr Joseph Choge, emphasised the company’s commitment to seizing the rising demand for nutritious foods, including pulses and wholegrain value-added products, as part of its corporate growth strategy.
“The demand for high-quality, nutritious packaged staple foods, such as pulses, cereals, and related products in the local retail market, is growing at an astounding rate of more than 30 per cent annually due to increased health consciousness. The reintroduction of Amana® with a clear retail go-to-market strategy is one of our top corporate priorities at Unga as we diversify beyond maize, porridge, and wheat flour products, aiming to maximize value for our customers and shareholders,” Mr Choge said.
Phillip Kello Harsama, Principal Secretary of the State Department for Crop Development, indicated that the government would consider classifying white maize exclusively for human consumption and yellow maize for animal feeds. Such classification could alleviate raw material pressures, as both human and animal feeds currently compete for white maize supplies. The government is also encouraging farmers to cultivate alternative animal feed and edible oil crops to address the local production deficit.
Product line expanding to include premium sugar, rice and pasta
As part of its corporate transformation, Unga Group is repositioning itself as a holistic food company through strategic joint ventures and partnerships. The Amana® brand, which has been experiencing rapid growth, featuring products like yellow beans, black beans, rosecoco beans, Nyayo beans, green grams, basmati and pishori rice, is expanding to include premium sugar, long grain rice, and soon pasta.
Pulses have gained popularity among consumers seeking dietary diversity, known for their high levels of dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and complex carbohydrates. Beyond nutrition, pulses contribute to improved digestion, lower blood glucose, reduced inflammation, decreased blood cholesterol, and prevention of chronic health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Mr Choge emphasised Unga’s commitment to delivering top-quality brands that offer excellent value for money and are trusted for consumer satisfaction. The company’s growth plans are aligned with emerging market trends driven by changing dietary needs and increased demand for nutritious foods.
The reintroduction of Amana will also positively impact local farmers, as the company intends to prioritise local sourcing for all its products.
“This launch epitomises the enduring principles that Amana has always stood for, representing excellence in every sense of the word,” he said.
The company has invested in state-of-the-art processing facilities to meet its goals
To cater to the market, Unga Group has recently invested in state-of-the-art processing facilities for consumer-packaged foods, including a certified laboratory, sorting, polishing, and packaging machines. The firm’s operations adhere to ISO 22000:2018 certification standards and employ a HACCP-based Food Safety Management System to ensure product safety and exceed customer expectations.
Unga Group relies on technology-driven distribution capabilities in Kenya to reach customers more efficiently, conveniently, and affordably through strategic partnerships. The company has adopted contemporary sales methods, including an online sales platform, to complement its route-to-market options, including Wholesalers, Supermarkets, and Dukas.
According to global research firm Research and Markets, the global pulses market reached a size of US$ 91.8 Billion last year and is projected to grow to US$ 118.9 Billion by 2028, exhibiting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.41% during 2022-2028.