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.
Switch by Sterling: The remittance game changer
Subscribers to Switch will enjoy unlimited and seamless access to transfer money from abroad like regular wire transfers.
Although Nigerians in diaspora have always been able to access banking services in Nigeria through digital platforms, the recent introduction of the Switch banking app by Sterling Bank is bound to be a game-changer in the mobile banking space.
This is because Switch, a multi-service banking app, leverages technology to address some inadequacies of cross-border transactions and online money transfer such as Dollar to Naira or other convertible currencies on the front burner.
Regardless of exchange rate volatility, subscribers to Switch will enjoy unlimited and seamless access to transfer money from abroad like regular wire transfers.
Coming on board when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) unveiled a new policy that ensures unhindered remittances for Nigerians in diaspora, Switch has berthed as a product of corporate foresight and a veritable source of foreign exchange earnings for Nigerians.
…Mobile Apps have Come to Stay
The advent of Switch into the mobile banking space in Nigeria has raised the bar of competition in a territory where MoneyGram, Western Union, PayPal, WorldRemit and RiaMoney have held sway over the years.
The app’s user-friendly features have endeared it to Nigerians in diaspora and relegated the competition in every aspect of money transfer from abroad. Essentially, the app is uniquely designed for diverse financial products such as insurance, treasury bills, fixed income securities, payment requests, investments and asset financing, among others.
The money transfer app, which has gained frontline status in its short period of existence, stands out from the competition and serves as a hub for sending money to Nigeria from the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. The easy to use app provides an opportunity for issue resolution using e-mail and social media accounts.
… Coming on Board of Switch
In order to register on Switch, a client is expected to provide aname and contact information while the registration ends with funding of the account. This enables the client to deploy the savings account to transfer money into other Switch users for free and transfers to non-Sterling bank account with fees of N25 or less.
The Switch app can be downloaded from either the Google Play Store or App Store. Subscribers can effortlessly register on the web by a click on the web too. Proving attractive to Nigerians of 18 years and above, its simplicity is fast boosting subscribers’ confidence. Clients will pay zero fee for transfers in the first six months.
…Switch Hedges Subscribers against Fraud
The world of mobile apps is like a game of whack-a-mole. As one fraud is being tackled, fraudsters rear their heads elsewhere with new tactics. Criminals have always exploited the mobile space with fake mobile apps.
However, the ongoing uptick in registration for Sterling Switch is not unconnected with the mobile app’s fraud-protection strategy that runs on advanced machines, specially designed to thwart fraud at both the install and in-app levels. This effectively hedges subscribers of Switch against cyber attacks.
…Switch by Sterling, a win-win
Switch is indeed a game-changer. The much sought-after solution provides better value to customers, builds a stronger brand, unlocks power of better connection for customers and makes account opening easy.
Prospective customers need not download many apps in order to invest in different asset classes. Switch provides opportunities for subscribers to build wealth through investment in various asset classes. It boosts profitability for the custodian.
Subscribers can transfer above N50,000 to other Nigerian banks. In order to enhance its services along the value chain, the solution operates on extended partnership network with PIP iT in the UK, i-invest and Doubble.Ng, among other institutions.
As a top brand, Switch by Sterling identifies its target demography, encourages user engagement, ensures compliance with platform design guidelines, uses frictionless navigating features and is highly responsive.
Switch stands out as the cheapest means for Nigerians in diaspora to transfer money online without risks associated with cross-border transactions. The financial mobile app is fast becoming the benchmark for other mobile apps in the Nigerian banking space.
COVID -19 saving Nigerians millions in wedding and burial costs
As long as the pandemic persists, the ‘new normal’ is for ceremonies to remain subdued.
It was a sunny Saturday in May and like it had been for the better part of 8 weeks, the new normal was in force in Nosa’s household. The lockdown induced COVID-19 meant that all the hustle and bustle of giving attention to side hustles on weekends had all evaporated. Now he spent more time with his kids watching TV and playing video games. Whilst he has had to endure multiple weekends of lost revenue, staying indoors meant that his personal finance was still intact. But things would change dramatically this weekend.
Nosa got a call that he had just lost his aged mother to a brief illness. He had been battling with a terminal illness for years, but things seemed to be under control so her death came as a surprise. Even as he grappled with the thought of losing his mother, Nosa knew that he had to start making preparations for the expenses that are bound to come with burials in an African setting.
Thanks to the pandemic, and rules that came with it, Nosa ended up spending much less than he would have for his mother’s burial with most of the funds going towards mortuary expenses, transport and the direct cost of the actual burial itself.
READ ALSO: Post COVID-19: The Challenges Ahead
“This COVID-19 is bad but it has saved me millions of naira that I would have spent in this burial,” he remarked.
“I wanted to give my mom a befitting burial but these are hard times and I may have borrowed money just to fund this. But with COVID-19 and social distancing in place I did not have to do any of this,” Nosa informs our reporter.
Nosa’s gains translate to massive losses for a whole chain of service providers in the event management industry. Similar occurrences over the last few months have resulted in the loss of revenue for such businesses.
Events in Nigeria often cost anywhere between half a million naira to over N100 million depending on the financial muscle of those spending. Burials, weddings, naming ceremonies and birthday parties, make a burgeoning industry that spans several sectors of the economy.
From mortuaries to casket makers, event planners, event Halls rentals, professional mourners, caterers, confectionaries, party rentals, photographers, video editors, tailors, newspapers , etc, its an entire value chain of businesses that provide one service or the other for this industry.
Each of these events cost millions of naira to organize hosting as many people as the budget can support. According to a CNN article quoting a report from TNS Global, Nigerians spend as much as $9,460 for a wedding ceremony. The report also indicates the party industry could be worth as high as $17 million based on statistics in 2017.
The math can be easily deducted. Assuming 50,000 ceremonies every weekend at an average cost of N1 million that is a N50 billion per weekend or N2.7 trillion ($6.75 billion) per annum. GDP data from the National Bureau of Statistics indicates sectors that support the ceremonies market in Nigeria, telecoms, transportation, Arts and Entertainment is worth a combined N18.4 trillion.
Chuks, a Partner at a top consulting firm in Nigeria admits were it not for the pandemic his wedding could have cost him about N15 million personally and another N20 million spent by family, friends, colleagues and well-wishers. He is in his forties and his wedding had been much anticipated. He went ahead with his wedding last weekend with less than a dozen people in attendance and over 140 others logging on via Zoom. He claims while he ended up not spending millions on food, drinks, wedding halls and other logistic costs, he still achieved his goal of getting married.
Necessity they say is the mother of invention and has millions stay locked in their homes, they have resorted to apps such as Zoom, Instagram Live, Microsoft Teams to hold virtual events. These days Zoom themed parties now have their own rules and conventions. Friends from all parts of the world log in with each person taking turns to say nice things about the celebrants. Games are conducted to spice up the event and stories told by the celebrant. Music is also played by the Zoom host with participants dancing and having fun.
“It is like watching a live movie and also being part of it as the audience and participant” a wedding planner informed Nairametrics. Whilst one cannot underrate the connection physical socializing brings, virtual meetings are gradually becoming a lifestyle and the longer social distancing continues its cultural significance will only continue to increase.
Aderonke Adebamibola, CEO of Unik Ushering Agency, an Event management firm, confirmed to Nairametrics that business has really slowed down in the last few months. “Even though the NCDC has now given rules to guide weddings and other events, the budget now is way less than it used to be due to the cap on numbers of guests” she explained.
Now, most events are kept within the premises of family residences, depriving hall rentals, the money they could have made from leasing out their halls. Venue decorators also have much less on their hands to do, as they no longer have to decorate big halls.
According to Adebamibola, every single business in the chain has been affected, from caterers to ushers.
“Now, we even have to convince them to use one or two ushers for their events because they believe they don’t need ushers for 20 or 30 guests. Caterers cannot even cook a half bag of rice now because of the number of guests. This means that they are also paid less for their services, even if they expend the same energy and time” she said.
The new normal in this industry means that the things that used to be prioritized are no longer priorities. Hand sanitisers, face masks and hand washing equipment are now compulsories in events, while the hand-shaking, and hugs that would have characterized such weddings.
Due to the nature of the industry, a large percentage of the staff are kept on contract basis, so the reduction has not really translated into lay-offs. However, the industry revenue has been badly hit. A contract staff with NPU Events, who preferred anonymity, noted that in the last three months, she has only been called twice for events.
Since this forms a major part of her income, it has caused a major dip in her resources. COVID-19 has brought unwanted hardship to the Nigerian economy with small businesses and workers in the informal sector suffering the most.
A recent World Bank report indicates the Nigerian economy might contract by as much as 3% in GDP growth rate this year. This informed government’s latest decision to inject about N2.3 trillion into the economy to spur economic growth. The funds will be targeted at small businesses through non-collateralized low-interest loans. Whilst all these initiatives are geared towards stimulating the economy, the spending power of Nigerians will remain pivotal and as long as the pandemic persists, ceremonies will remain subdued.
BHH Podcast: What 2020 holds for SMEs (2) – Ugodre
Business Half Hour (BHH) is a weekly podcast targeted at Startups and Entrepreneurs, who are redefining the Nigerian business scene through innovation.
Business Half Hour (BHH) is a weekly podcast targeted at Startups and Entrepreneurs, who are redefining the Nigerian business scene through innovation.
In this episode of #BHH, Ugodre gave an insight into how business climate would be for SMEs and an overall outlook on the global and national economy. Enjoy!