Distributing Yedent Maisoyforte Tombrown with ‘Koko’ Sellers as Indigenous Partners

Written by Kwame Ntim Pipim, BoP Marketing Expert. 

One of the pillars in any marketing strategy is efficiency in delivering products and services to the end consumer at the right place and time. This means the distribution mechanism needs to be cost-effective and must deliver products to the consumer directly, to reduce travel costs, inconvenience and distance to cover for consumers. Distribution however goes beyond the physical movement of goods and services from manufacturer through the trade chain to the end consumer. If not well thought through, distribution could take a heavy toll on any company’s finances. Well-timed distribution of fast moving consumer goods is essential, especially for perishable products and services. This calls for an innovative approach!

In the Ghanaian low-income food market, making food available to low-income consumers is important to both the producer of the product and the consumers. To improve the availability of nutritious food to low-income food markets means you need to think outside the box, and think of unconventional partnerships that can help you reach this goal.

The ‘Koko’ Partnership

Yedent Agro, a processing company in Ghana and active in the field of fortified cereal blends, faced challenges in diversifying their markets. It sold most of its products through procurement contracts with the Ministry of Health (Ghana Health Service) and realized the need to diversify towards business-to-consumer (B2C) markets. It therefore started producing and serving the open market with its Maisoyforte brand. Through its collaboration with the 2SCALE project, the need to enter the BoP market became obvious. 2SCALE was able to harness and integrate views from stakeholders through its business model canvas workshop. It also engaged Yedent agents on numerous discussions about the possibilities and potential outcomes of several distribution models to the BoP at the very local level. 2SCALE carried out a small-scale market research that resulted in a marketing plan, outlining all the details for the implementation of a new marketing and distribution strategy. 2SCALE then supported the implementation of this strategy through mapping and selection of ‘koko’ retailers, based on several marketing requirements. In addition, the ‘koko’ retailers have been provided with branded umbrellas, cold storage boxes, cups, aprons and point of sale stands to make them more recognizable in the markets and attract more customers.  The collaboration between Yedent Agro and 2SCALE is already showing results in terms of high potential seen by the ‘koko’ retailers in this model and overwhelming increases of demand at the various pilot ‘koko’ points. The joint goal to target BoP consumers in Yedent’s operation areas is becoming a reality. In the future, when the new distribution model is scaled-up, Yedent will be able to cover even more areas and save costs by this innovative partnership.

New Distribution Strategy

The Ghanaian word ‘koko’ refers to porridge made from maize. It is consumed during the morning, afternoon and evenings in virtually every corner of the country. It is however predominant in the slums, markets and busy areas. ‘Koko’ retailers create a clear distribution opportunity for Yedent which 2SCALE brought into practice through a business model workshop with all stakeholders, including ‘koko’ retailers, tea retailers, branding consultants, the Yedent sales team and management.

Yedent Agro is now running pilots with selected ‘koko’ retailers in various parts of Ghana. 2SCALE enabled Yedent Agro and the ‘koko’ retailers to collaborate and the ‘koko’ retailers now have a better understanding of the need for diversity in product offer at their points of sale, which gives consumers more options, and increases incomes for the retailers. In turn, Yedent appreciates the need to include these retailers in their micro-distribution channels and understands the importance of branding and cross-selling their products at points of sale.

The interesting fact about this innovative route-to-market is that it provides more diversity to the ‘koko’ retailers. They now sell both cooked Yedent Maisoyforte Tombrown as well as sachets of Tombrown that people can cook themselves.

“I really look forward to working with Yedent for a long time. The Maisoyforte product is really good and my sales area now appeals more to clients”
– Mama, ‘Koko’ retailer in Techiman.

It is good to know that low-income consumers benefit most from this innovative distribution partnership. They have access to affordable and nutritious food and since ‘koko’ retailers sell in both the morning and evening, consumers can enjoy Yedent’s fortified food all day round!

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