Weetabix goes for local wheat to meet demand

April 2, 2014
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Weetabix EA MD Ahsan Manji (L) and Chef Ali/COURTESY
Weetabix EA MD Ahsan Manji (L) and Chef Ali/COURTESY
NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 2 – Cereal manufacturer, Weetabix East Africa Limited plans to double its investment in the region through use of local wheat.

This initiative will help cut down the company’s rate of wheat importation for production as it identifies small scale farmers in the country who give the right quality of wheat.

Speaking at the launch of the company’s new marketing campaign, Managing Director Ahsan Manji said in addition to the small scale farmers, they have already identified three commercial farmers in Narok and Nakuru who will grow wheat specifically for Weetabix.

“We are working with commercial farmers and the reason for that is to understand whether certain regions in the country such as Narok can give us the right quality of wheat,” he said.

“We want to take that module and we want to use small scale local farmers. We will then have 10 to 20 small scale farmers that we would acquire our wheat from.”

He said the demand for cereals has increased tremendously to 8.5 million kilograms from 1.5m kilograms per day in which the company is set to increase its reliance on local wheat from 60 percent to 100 percent come end of this year.

“Weetabix primarily has used imported wheat for a number of years. Early last year we made a big approach into using local wheat because we believe that the local farmers give us the right quality of wheat.

“From using practically no local wheat, last year we used upwards of 60 percent of local wheat in our process, this year we have very similar intentions,” he added.

“Our thinking is that we want to move towards 100 percent by next year.”

Weetabix has also launched a new campaign to push its nutrition agenda furthering the company’s long-standing commitment to good nutrition.

Marketing Manager Catherine Mudachi said the campaign is set to give a new momentum to the need for good nutrition in the morning, which is important in giving the body the energy it needs to ‘keep you going’ until the next meal.

“Breakfast, the most important meal of the day, has increasingly been taken for granted as the most important meal in the day from a nutritional and energy perspective,” says Mudachi.

“But research has indicated that consumer trends are shifting from a sit-down healthy breakfast due to family time pressures driven by our changing lifestyles.”

“However, nutritionists and health officials have declared that studies have shown skipping a healthy nutritious breakfast can lead to a number of problems when it comes to staying healthy.”

Mudachi also noted that the company is gearing itself to meet demands by its consumer base, by diversifying its product portfolio and promoting its affordable economy packs.

“Weetabix is for everyone therefore affordability is key for us to ensure that everyone can access a healthy nutritious breakfast,” she said.

“Today with only Sh25 you can enjoy Weetabix. We also have a variety of packs available to suit consumer requirements.”

The campaign which was launched at the company’s headquarters and production plant in Industrial area, Nairobi, is aimed at taking the nutrition high fibre education message across the country and increasing Weetabix’s market penetration.

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