Unilever is a Dutch consumer goods giant. Its products range from personal care and cleaning products to food and beverage goods. The firm owns several leading brands, including Knorr, Ben & Jerry’s and Lipton.
Unilever aims to double its growth in Africa within the next five years from €3bn per year to €6bn. Growth of its business in the food sector will make up a large proportion of this anticipated growth. It has a wide geographic focus in Africa and is not limited to the bigger markets like South Africa and Nigeria, but also trades in more high-risk countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The company is also keen to break into the rural markets of Africa and offer low-cost goods on a massive scale, targeting beyond the middle-class consumer. The company is looking to expand its distribution network and introducing new products as part of its growth strategy. Africa could contribute to 1.5% top-line growth in the future overall.
Main brands in Africa: Flora, Glen, Joko, Knorr, Knorrox, Lipton, Ola, Rajah, Rama, Stork, Mrs Ball’s Chutney, Robertsons, Blue Band, Knorr, Lipton, Royco and Hellmans.
Kraft Foods is an American multinational conglomerate, headquartered in Chicago, dealing in food and drink and confectionery,. It owns some of the world’s leading brands – 12 of its brands alone earn the company more than $1bn and Kraft’s products are sold in more than 270 countries. It employs around 3,800 people across the continent in 10 different centres.
Although the company posted strong sales results in South Africa for the first quarter of 2012, further details of its results in other African countries were unavailable. Nonetheless, the company’s progress across the continent is still clear. It has a presence in almost all sub-regions of the continent, and in several countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia and Botswana. Overall, its revenue generated from Africa has risen by 10% annually since 2009.
Moreover, the firm has been investing heavily in boosting its manufacturing operations in Africa: it has plans to open a sugar-free gum plant in Botswana and has already successfully opened a Bournvita (chocolate drink) plant in Ikeja, near Lagos in Nigeria worth $42m and a chocolate factory in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, which constituted a $91m investment.
Main brands in Africa: Kraft focuses on six brands, Cadbury, Jacobs, Oreo, Oscar Mayer and Philadelphia, Kraft itself and Bournvita. Among numerous other brands are Maxwell House, Milka and TUC, Nabisco and Côte d’Or.
Nestlé is a Swiss company headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland. It owns 8,000 brands, some of which include the world’s top products, such as Maggi, KitKat and Smarties. It is also a health-related consumer goods firm, famous for its condensed milk and formula milk products. Its revenue in 2011 reached €69.6bn and its baseline profit for 2010 was nearly CHF35bn ($35.6bn). The firm employs 328,000 employees worldwide.
Nestlé has invested $850m in Africa over the past five years. It has focused on manufacturing, expanding its distribution network and introducing new products to the market to fuel its growth. A massive aspect of its strategy in Africa has been to target the hard-to-reach customer through a distribution network that reaches small, micro outlets in urban and rural areas using ‘foot soldiers’ or sales agents. As a result sales from smaller stores have risen substantially. Last year they grew by 20% between June and August. Small-scale delivery also represents up to 40% of the company’s distribution in Africa.
Nestlé plans to invest $1.42bn in Africa by 2015. Sales reached $3.5bn in 2010. Moreover, its recent manufacturing projects have included updating its factories in Zimbabwe and Kenya and opening plants in Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Main brands in Africa: KitKat, Aero, Yorkie, Smarties, After Eight, Milkybar, Quality Street, Rowntree, Nescafé, Dolce Gusto, Nesquik, Carnation, Herta & Maggi, Nestlé Pure Life, Nestlé Professional, Milo, Cerelac, Maggi, Nestea, Nido, Moca, Cremora, Maggi, Cheerios, Fibre, Easymelt, Barone, Crunch, Rolo, Klim, Nespray and King Cone.
Tiger Brands is the largest South African food company in operation. It is a packaged consumer goods company and its products range from food to home care to personal care products. It owns a number of well-known brands including Colman’s, All Gold and Black Cat.
Although the company has downgraded its growth forecasts for the first quarter of 2012, its growth forecasts for 2013 – 5.3% for sub-Saharan Africa and 3.6% for South Africa – are healthy. Overall turnover increased by 12.1% between 2011 and 2012, from R10,339m ($1.2bn) to R11,591m ($1.4bn).
Although the company maintains that it is operating in a challenging environment, its turnover reveals solid growth and its operating income shows positive leverage. Its share of the market has been slightly eroded by cheaper brands. However, its core brands have maintained their leading position in the market. The company is also making steady progress with its acquisition strategy with a view to enlarging its position in the food market; it has recently made minority acquisitions with the Ashton Foods, Langeberg, Simply Cereal and Status brands.
In the rest of Africa, the company has recorded excellent performances in Cameroon, Kenya, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia. Nigeria, in common with the experience of other food companies, remains a challenging environment for Tiger Brands. The company is also making good progress in Central Africa.
Main brands in Africa: All Gold, Black Cat, Colman’s, Fatti’s & Moni’s, Ice Cap, Koo, Spray and Cook, Anytime, Beacon, Fizz Pop, Superfine, Allsorts, Maynards, Smoothies, Sparkles, Ace, Albany, Golden Cloud, Jungle, Morvite,Tastic, Energade, Elizabeth Anne’s, Purity, Telament and Vi-daylin.
Food Corp is the third-largest food company in South Africa and a top manufacturer of branded food products. The firm has a strong emphasis on innovation – in its own words, “our aim is to be the most innovative food company in South Africa”.
The company runs an innovation centre, named the 7th Floor, in Cape Town with the aim of boosting its innovation in the food manufacturing sector. Its well-known brands include Yum Yum peanut butter, Bobtail and Dogmor pet foods and Ouma rusks.
Food Corp reports average year-on-year growth of 10% and revenues of around R6m ($727,000) per annum. It exports not only to the rest of Africa but Western Europe and East Asia.
The company aims to cater to the South African mass consumer market as well as high-end consumers.
Main brands in Africa: There are six sub-divisions : Grocery, Milling, Baking, Beverage, Fishing and Pie Brands, with the brands Bobcat, Bobtail, Catmor, Dogmor, Monati Mabela, Nola, Ouma, Ultra Dog, Yum Yum, Mageu Number 1, Sunbake, Pieman’s, 5 Star, Safari, Super A1, Supreme Flour, Tafelberg, Glenryck and Marpro.
Coca-Cola has been present in Africa since 1928. So far the company has invested $6bn in Africa and has a market share in Africa and the Middle East of nearly 30%. By 2020, its aim is to double this figure to $12bn. It already has a huge impact on the continent, as Africa’s biggest employer: 65,000 Africans work at the firm’s 160 plants. According to some analysts, as Coca-Cola’s sales in the West have been stagnant for some time, the continued growth of the company will rely heavily on its ability to leverage new opportunities in Africa.
The company has particularly zoned in on Tanzania and Kenya recently. It has already committed to investing $187m in Tanzania over the next three years. The investments are aimed at boosting marketing, and strengthening the distribution chain and manufacturing.
Manufacturing in the continent is integral to Coca-Cola’s approach. It already has three bottling partners in Tanzania, and recently built a $15m bottling plant in Somalia. The company is also heavily involved in clean drinking water projects in Africa and in building up local small-scale enterprises as part of its distribution strategy.
Main brands in Africa: Coca-Cola has numerous brands, apart from Coca-Cola itself, including Fanta, Sprite, Tab, Twist, Schweppes, Stoney, Sparletta, Iron Brew, Valpre, Bonaqua, Pump, Powerade, Minute Maid, Just Juice, Nestea, 5 Alive Glaceau, Chaywa, Mazoe, Dasani, Lion and Grapetiser.
Pepsi is currently experiencing its most significant growth in emerging markets, including Africa. In Asia, Middle East and Africa, revenue increased 16% this year, to $2.2bn.
Main brands in Africa: In addition to the production and sales of several worldwide Pepsi-Cola, Quaker Foods, Frito-Lay, Tropicana and Gatorade beverage and food product lines (including Pepsi and Doritos), regional brands include Mirinda, Kurkure and Red Rock Deli, among others. Pepsi has been importing its products such as Pepsi Cola, Pepsi Diet, Mirinda, Seven Up and Evervess soda water into Kenya
Diageo is a British alcoholic beverage firm and a leader in the sector. Africa is central to Diageo’s profits – the continent is home to the largest bloc of countries contributing to net sales in the emerging markets for the company. A quarter of the firm’s workforce, 5,300, is employed in Africa, directly and many more indirectly. Diageo’s current growth on the continent is estimated at 15% per annum and the company has plans to increase this substantially.
Diageo’s history in Africa is traceable back to the early 19th century when it exported Guinness to Sierra Leone. In today’s market it makes and exports a number of leading beers to the continent, including Bell, Senator, Tusker and Serengeti Premium Lager.
In addition, now that the African consumer’s alcoholic preferences are becoming more diverse, demand for the company’s line of whiskies and spirits is increasing: main brands exported to the continent include Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Baileys, Alvaro and Malta Guinness. Most of Diageo’s business is concentrated in Nigeria, East Africa and South Africa. However, the company is also keen on exploring new frontier economies like Angola. Manufacturing is also key to the company’s operation in Africa. It owns 13 breweries, 15 bottling plants, a glass manufacturing centre and a malting facility.
Main brands in Africa: Global brands Crown Royal, Johnnie Walker, J&B, Windsor Premier, Buchanan’s, Bushmills, Smirnoff, Ketal One vodka, Ciroc, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Jose Cuervo, Tanqueray, Guinness and Gordon’s Gin. Local brands include Tusker, Senator, Serengeti Premium Lager and Bell, and non-alcoholic carbonated malt-based drinks including Malta Guinness and Alvaro.
SABMiller is Africa’s biggest brewer and the continent is an important, albeit underdeveloped, market for the company with 13% of its profits coming from sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa). It is currently focused on operating on a larger scale on the continent to offer its brands of affordable beer and will invest $2.5bn in Africa over the next five years.
Its central aim in terms of Africa is to be able to offer lower-cost beer products. Its primary strategy for achieving this is by making the production process cheaper through replacing the use of barley as the staple ingredient for beer making with sorghum and cassava. The ingredient swap will save the company 40% of what it would otherwise spend. The approach makes particular sense in places like Mozambique where the cassava crop is huge. But in order to be able to sell its beer at the low price that will attract the African consumer on a mass scale, the company has also stated that a cut in excise tax would be necessary. Much of its strength is drawn from fast-growing southern and eastern countries – Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania for example.
Main brands in Africa: Brutal Fruit, Carling Black Label, Castle, Hansa, Redd’s Premium Original, Redd’s Dry, Sarita, Skelter’s Straight, St Louis, Fusion, Club, Stone, Maluti Premium Lager, 2M, Barons, Impala, Laurentina, Manica, Raiz, White Bull, Sibebe, Balimi Extra Lager, Kilimanjaro, Ndovu Special Malt, Safari, Chairman’s Extra Strong Beer, Club, Eagle, Nile, Chibuku, Mosi, Rhino Lager, Bohlinger’s Lager, Golden Pilsener, Lion and Zambesi.
Pernod Ricard, the makers of Absolut Vodka, Havana rum and Jacob’s Creek wines, have been keen to take on Diageo in Africa for share of the market for spirits in particular. The company openly admitted last year that it had arrived in Africa late in comparison with its main competitor but was keen to make a mark. The Paris-based company has plans to open four distribution companies. The first, in Kenya, opened in June. Others are planned to open in Angola in August and in Morocco in early September. It is also very interested in the Nigerian market.
However, the company, which has enjoyed impressive success in making itself one of the leading brands in the African spirits market, has modest growth aims and does not expect profits to change much over the next five years, according to an interview with Laurent Lacassagne, Chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard Europe.
Although the company is concentrating significantly on the spirit sector, it also has an interest in expanding its business in the beer sector and is in discussions with major beer companies on the continent to this end.
Main brands in Africa: Global brands include Absolut Vodka, The Glenlivet Single Malt, Chivas Regal, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Beefeater Gin, Martell Cognac, Malibu, Ballantine’s, Kahlúa, Pernod, Ricard, Red Heart Rum, Havana Club Rum, Long Mountain wines, G.H. Mumm Champagne and many more including Belle Epoque, Campo Viejo, Graffigna and, in Angola, Passport.
Subscribe for full access
You've reached the maximum number of free articles for this month.
£8.00 / month
Receive full unlimited access to our articles, opinions, podcasts and more.
£70.00 / year
Receive full unlimited access to our articles, opinions, podcasts and more.