Pasta has become a popular meal found in many homes across the country. The acceptability of this relatively new food item has continued to grow; could it be due to the ease of its preparation in the shortest time or the affordability?
Portions of pasta are made from unleavened dough of durum wheat flour. Spaghetti, a type of pasta, which comes in a long thin cylindrical form, is boiled and served with any of the varieties of meat, tomatoes, and other sauces.
On this week’s edition of Product Review, a weekly article where we feature products contending for kingship in Nigeria’s Red Ocean market, we bring you ‘Spaghetti War’.
The increasing number of pasta brands in the market has caused serious competition among manufacturers. To make a comparative analysis, we pick Dangote Spaghetti, Honeywell Spaghetti, Golden Penny Spaghetti and a foreign brand, Bonita Spaghetti.
However, our pick does not necessarily undermine the role of other brands that have found their way into the market but are not mentioned here.
How different brands are adapting to the market
In the bid to outperform the competitors in the market, manufacturers of spaghetti in the country have adopted an aggressive media campaign, leveraging on television commercials, promos, bus branding which stare at consumers while the bus(es) are on the move – a more varied way of reaching their target audience, especially children. Other strategies employed include billboards, press releases and radio jingles. With these strategies, it has become apparent that consumers have no choice but to fall head over heels for the product.
Flour Mills Nigeria Plc, makers of Golden Penny Spaghetti, is the first operator of a pasta plant in Nigeria. The Golden Penny brand was launched about two decades ago in Apapa, with the Iganmu manufacturing plant commissioned in 2003. Barely a decade after, the second plant became operational in Agbara in 2012.
Golden Penny Spaghetti remains one of the prominent brands in the market. It gets done in 10 minutes and goes perfectly with little sauce or stew.
Other big players in the spaghetti war include Dangote Spaghetti, manufactured by Dangote Group, Honeywell Spaghetti, produced by Honeywell Nigeria Plc, Crown Spaghetti, produced by Crown Flour Mills and last but not least is the Power Spaghetti brand.
These brands are not relenting in their various positions, making price differentials insignificant in the race for top position in the control of market share.
Also, the various packaging sizes across brands and variants is a move that has bridged the affordability gap between the rich and poor consumers. This has further heightened the battle for supremacy in the market.
Is Honeywell Spaghetti lagging behind?
Honeywell Flour Mills, makers of Honeywell Spaghetti and one of the four listed flour milling companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), is struggling to remain in the pasta market.
According to its recent financial reports, profit from the company’s Ikeja factory (The Ikeja plant is concerned with the production of noodles and pasta) fell sharply to N89 million in 2018, as against N780 million in the prior year.
The company attributed this to the rising cost of sales and absence of foreign exchange gains. The spike in the cost of sales was due to an increase in the cost of raw and packaging materials. Many industry watchers believe that the sharp drop in revenue is indicative of the fierce competition in that space.
What consumers are saying
A visit by Nairametrics to some retail outlets show that consumers have diverse opinions on why they have their preferences for different brands. Some of the consumers were of the view that some of the spaghetti brands come out sticky when boiled.
For example, while some brands like Dangote Spaghetti require drops of vegetable oil to keep them from sticking together in the pot, some like Bonita and Golden Penny are slimmer, less starchy and do not require oil.
Have tasted Italian pasta and only goldenpenny is close to that.
— Barclay (@MartinsMorgan) September 5, 2018
Bonita has this unique taste that no other brand has been able to imitate. Golden Penny comes second, while Dangote is the worst spaghetti brand out there, though it enjoys favor from Northerners who like big spaghetti
— LolaGbade (@lolafolagbade) September 5, 2018
A consumer, Mrs. Nneka, revealed that Golden Penny Spaghetti is much sought after by customers as it doesn’t get soggy (over done) when cooked, although other brands are not doing badly in the market.
Also, a housewife, Mrs. Godfrey, who stated that she boils spaghetti for her children’s school lunch, and even for Sunday meals, mentioned her preferred brand. According to her, “Where Dangote Spaghetti is not available I go for Power Spaghetti.”
In addition to the complaints about the Dangote Spaghetti sticking together, some consumers also complained that the brand doesn’t absorb oil and other ingredients well.
According to a respondent, Dangote Spaghetti has a pronounced taste of the durum wheat, and even after parboiling, its starchy taste remains strong.
A visit to a retail outlet in Ikeja shows that all the major brands are getting patronage from customers.
In the Nairametrics’ poll run on our social media platforms, Golden Penny brand got 56%, Dangote brand got 23%, Honeywell brand got 16%, while Bonita got 4%.
For this week’s battle, Golden Penny Spaghetti is the winner, however, the race for the largest market share is very fierce and other brands must also double down by improving on its distribution channel and value proposition.
Additional Information provided by Ibukunoluwa Samuel