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Killing two birds with one stone: Serving the community at a Profit

Kenya’s economy is flourishing, with a steady 6% growth in 2016 according to the African Development Bank. At the same time, many Kenyan, especially at the BoP, do not yet see this growth materialize into having access to a nutritious meal. That’s why 2SCALE is working together with local nutritious food producers to improve their marketing & distribution to the BoP, such as the Kenyan company Stawi Foods and Fruits Limited, an emerging processing company for fortified porridge flour that serves children above 6 months and whole family with the leadership of Eric Muthomi, the CEO of the company.  

Together with 2SCALE, Stawi successfully developed a BoP marketing campaign in the first half of 2017 at Githurai 45 (bordering Kiambu and Nairobi County); over 6,000 packets were sold of 500gms fortified porridge flour. The 500gms was a new unit that was introduced during the pilot to specifically target the base of pyramid market. The marketing and distribution approach was focused around three core activities:

  1. Involving women as advocates (40) where they did door to door campaign.
  2. Word of mouth through chama (informal groups of women/men) meetings.
  3. Market activation during market days and churches.

The market model that we used during the pilot is the ATEAR model(Attention, Trust, Experience, Action and Retention). It helped us in delivering results that went beyond expected Sales targets. The model entailed creating:

Attention (How will you attract the attention of your customers?); the campaign engaged young talented people to draw attention of potential customers in Githurai market and churches. The young people were dressed in Stawi branded clothing  in a branded tent that increased visibility, with public address system that provided entertainment through music and product talk during market days.

Trust (How will you create interest and build trust among your customers?) also was key in the model where community leaders, like church leaders and women leaders, acted as brand ambassadors who introduced the product to their community. Customers were given an opportunity to taste and

They could Experience (How will your customers try out your product or service?) the porridge through dry sampling where sales women went door to door, explaining how to make the porridge as they gave 100gm sachets of porridge flour. Women played a major role in nutrition talk to their peers as they visited them in their houses and did demonstration of preparation of tasty porridge.

Action (How will you get your customer to actually buy your product or service?) to buy the product, which was triggered by using incentives such as giving branded T-shirts to potential consumers. The giveaways were greatly enjoyed by customers, who would often buy 4 packets of 500gms of porridge flour instead of the one packet they would normally buy. This helped with high sales turnover during the time of market activation and thereafter.

Lastly for sustainability of any business Retention of customers is key. This was achieved through retailers shop listing for consistent follow up of ordering the product. The customers that interacted with the product during wet and dry sampling of the product were send messages for feedback of the products. More than 3600 customers gave their feedback during porridge tasting sessions. Customers expressed their appreciation, such as customer Rhoda, who expressed excitement: “ My baby likes the porridge very much, he takes 3 cups in a day, with the additional minerals am assured of a healthy baby.”

During the BoP pilot implementation women were key focus, inspired by the saying “Educate a man and you educate an individual. Educate a woman and you educate a family” . In the distribution channel, women reached out to other women with nutrition message to their peers. In 6 weeks, 40 women engaged as advocates for the product, and they reached 1,300 consumers with products awareness as well as nutrition talk.

The entrepreneur was excited with the sales figures: over 6,000 packets sold at a total value of around  $4,800 in only a short period of time.  As company owner Eric Muthomi expressed: “I am happy to see Stawi porridge flour has high potential with the mass market and they like the taste as well as appreciate the packaging”. More retailers’ shops were enlisted, getting to over 60 shops in the aforementioned regions. The sales have doubled since the market activation happened 5 months ago.  In addition, out of the 40 women engaged during the market activation 17 expressed interest to become micro franchisee of Stawi porridge flour in Githurai. They found the venture profitable and practical as they made sales at their convenient time and within their area of residence. For every packet of porridge flour sold they make 20% as their profit margin which translates to a minimum Ksh. 8,000 ($ 80) per month. Faith, expressed her joy as she explained; “ I am happy to buy good food for my children as I support my husband with paying house rent with the money from selling porridge flour from Stawi”.

This market model worked and Stawi Foods and Fruits Limited has taken the bold step to replicate the model in other regions.

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