Over the years, food seasoning has formed a very important aspect of cooking. Even before the introduction of modern food seasonings in cube and powder forms, there have been several local seasonings, such as Iru, Ogiri, and Dawadawa— all of which still feature in most Nigerian cooking pots till today.
Food seasoning is important because with the right culinary expertise, especially when the right brand of seasoning that makes people salivate is used, the meal becomes something of an experience which the family relishes.
On this week’s edition of product review, a weekly analysis where Nairametrics features products contending for leadership and prominence in Nigeria’s consumer market, we bring to you the various seasoning brands and how these brands are competing for profitability in the market space.
Brands in the Nigerian market
Nigeria’s seasoning market parades some great brands, and leading the park are Maggi from the stables of Nestle Foods, then Knorr and Royco, produced by Unilever. These brands are leaders in their various market segments and none of them can be pushed aside in terms of brand equity, sales, consumer loyalty, and quality market offerings.
Smaller players include Doyin Group of Companies, manufacturers of Doyin seasoning cubes, and Prime seasoning cubes, and Daily Need Nigeria Limited, makers of Suppy cubes, which come in two brands of beef and chicken. Also, PZ Wilmar, a joint venture between PZ Cussons and Wilmar International, makers of Mamador and Devon King’s Oil, recently launched its Mamador seasoning cubes which comes in three variants: Classic, Beef, and Chicken, while Devon King’s seasoning cubes also come in Classic Tomato, Beef, and Chicken variants.
The battle between Maggi and Knorr
The two major brands in the food seasoning market in Nigeria today are Maggi and Knorr. Even with the introduction of new seasonings into the market, these two brands have continuously battled for the No.1 spot in Nigeria’s food seasoning market.
The Knorr brand was founded by Carl Heinrich Knorr, and in 1912 the first Knorr Bouillon cube was introduced. Since then, Knorr has been enjoyed in virtually most parts of the world. It is one of the world’s largest cooking brands sold in over 78 countries. The Knorr cubes, after being bought over from Cadbury Nigeria by Unilever, has remained a force to be reckoned with in the seasoning market. Over the years, the company has invested in machines and a new savory hall, in its bid to give consumers premium quality cubes.
On the other hand, Maggi is an international brand owned by Nestlé, founded in 1872, by a Swiss entrepreneur called Julius Maggi. According to the company, it sells over 100 million cubes in the Central West African region daily. The brand has occupied a big space in the hearts of consumers and it has become the generic name for seasoning cubes in the country.
The makers of Maggi, in an ongoing effort to constantly improve the brand and make it tastier, healthier, more affordable with better nutritional value, and more appealing to customers, launched a new food seasoning cube, the “Maggi Naija Pot” into the market. It recently released a video ad which shows a young woman switching roles from making presentations in the boardroom to cooking in an ultra-modern kitchen which has sparked divergent opinions among Nigerians.
Onga’s fight for a space in the cube market
With the cube seasoning market growing daily, Promasidor has taken a bold step to dare dominant brands by creating the cube form of its Onga seasoning powder. The race for leadership in recent times has become stiffer among brands and every brand is tightening its belt to avoid a slide in market share with the entry of Onga cube.
Onga is arguably the leading brand in the seasoning powder segment, and it’s entrance into the cube market could disrupt the market share of leading brands. This might see some consumers switching brands to experience the new entrant.
What consumers are saying
Nairametrics spoke with a store owner, Mrs. Rose Njuma, at the Ipodo market in Ikeja who noted that the Knorr cube brand leads the pack presently, despite stiff competition in the market.
According to her:
“We have many brands of seasoning cubes in Nigeria today. As a trader, I discovered that over time, consumers have come to love Knorr cube and it has become their preferred brand.”
Another shop owner at the market, Ms. Joy, noted that Maggi Star and Knorr are the preferred brands of her customers.
“New products dey come out every time, but my customers dey always request for the popular brands.”
She also added that most of the brands are on the same price range but the new brands have promos with which they attract customers.
Mrs. Caroline, a housewife, revealed that she switched over to Knorr from Maggi due to the salty nature of Maggi. She added that Maggi made her miscalculate the amount of salt to add to her cooking.
These different seasoning brands are readily available at supermarkets, open markets and street shops. They are well packaged too, which some respondents say they like.
In a Twitter poll, Knorr got 58%, Maggi got 33%, while Royco got 5%.
— Nairametrics (@Nairametrics) November 5, 2018
The seasoning market is growing daily with new products making entry into the market. Leading brands must double down or they could lose positions to new entrants like the Onga, Mamador and Davon cubes which are poised to gain more market share.