Former Chief Executive Officer at listed media house, Nation Media Group, Linus Gitahi has entered into an agreement with Kenya’s respected agricultural engineering and technology university to commercialise its yoghurt products through his company Tropikal Brands Africa.
In the deal, Tropikal will market the yoghurt that will retail as Maya Yoghurt produced by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) across the country in a move that will see the firm taking the competition for the yoghurt market to the Kenyatta family.
The Kenyattas’ Brookside Dairy – the biggest private sector diary business in Kenya – is the market leader in the yoghurt market controlling 33 percent in 2015, according to Euromonitor, an international market research firm.
The second biggest player in the Kenyan yoghurt market is billionaire Naushad Merali through his Sameer Agriculture and Livestock which operates under the Daima brand name.
Unlike Brookside, whose market has been gained by acquisition of smaller dairies such as Ilara, Buzeki (Tuzo), and Molo Milk, Merali’s 18 percent market share has been gained mainly because of the brand strength of Daima Yoghurt.
Eldoville, a small family owned business, is third with a 12 percent market share.
Although the three dairy businesses are experienced in the industry, it will be interesting to watch the market shares for 2016 will look like with the entry of Gitahi, an accomplished marketer with a leaning on fast moving consumer goods (FMCG).
In a statement sent by his company’s publicists, Gitahi said Maya Yoghurt was a well thought out product.
“Food Science students conducted intensive research on products in the markets before coming up with Maya Yoghurt. They identified a market gap which they have now filled by coming up with a product fit for consumption by people who are lactose intolerant,” he said.
According to Euromonitor, yoghurt production in Kenya is a growth area for investors.
“Together with improvements in distribution, especially via modern grocery retailer outlets, all of this is expected to support a CAGR of 4% in yoghurt and sour milk products value sales at constant 2015 price,” says Euromonitor in a brief to investors.
JKUAT currently gives students opportunities to gain industrial experience in production of various products that are later sold to the public, giving them practical experience on entrepreneurship.
“I am very happy that our graduates are now much sought after by industries and farms keen on driving higher production and product innovation,” said JKUAT council chairman Prof Paul Njuki.
This is the second big announcement by Gitahi after he launched public relations and advertising firm, Oxygène Marketing Communications.
Some of the products Tropikal Afrika markets include air fresheners, insecticides, toilet cleaners, polishes, toothpaste, pampers, baby food and breakfast cereals