Unga Group Re-launches Amana

From Left: Unga Group Chairman Isabella Ochola-Wilson, State Department for Crop Development Principal Secretary Kello Harsama and Unga Group Managing Director Joseph Choge.
From Left: Unga Group Chairman Isabella Ochola-Wilson, State Department for Crop Development Principal Secretary Kello Harsama and Unga Group Managing Director Joseph Choge. [Photo/Courtesy]

Listed food processing firm Unga Group Limited (NSE: UNGA) has announced strategic plans to capture a larger share of the local packaged consumer staple foods market by re-introducing an expanded range of nutritious products under its popular, Amana® brand.

The fast-growing Amana® brand, which currently features pulses including yellow beans, Black Beans, Rosecoco beans, Nyayo beans, Green Grams, Basmati and Pishori rice, will now feature an expanded portfolio including Premium Sugar, long grain rice, and soon pasta; progressively introduced to the local market. 

The re-launch of Amana® products, first introduced in 2014, is part of a Kshs 521 million three-year market repositioning project by the firm pursuing a comprehensive food strategy to boost its corporate value and return on investment for its shareholders with a diversified portfolio of value-added products.

Speaking at a re-launch event at the firm’s manufacturing complex in Nairobi, Unga Group Managing Director Mr Joseph Choge said the firm is banking on the growing demand for nutritious foods, including pulses and wholegrain value-added products in its corporate growth plans.

Mr Choge said Unga is striving to deliver to the market the best quality brands that offer great value for money and are trusted for consumer satisfaction. “As a fully integrated foods business engaged in the manufacturing, processing, and trade of food products, we sought to create value propositions that inspire moments of togetherness,” he said. Choge added that the firm is aligning its growth plans to emerging market trends inspired by changing dietary needs and increased demand for nutritious foods.

“The demand for quality nutritious packaged staple foods including pulses, cereals and related products in the local retail market is growing at a rate of more than 30% annually due to increased health consciousness,” Choge said. He added, “the re-introduction of Amana® with a clear retail go to market strategy is one of our corporate priorities at Unga in our product diversification strategy beyond maize, porridge and wheat flour products, as we seek to maximize value for our customers and shareholders.”

The re-Introduction of Amana®, Choge added, will also positively impact local farmers as the company will prioritize local sourcing for all its products. Mr. Choge said: “This launch epitomizes the enduring principles that Amana has always stood for, representing excellence in every sense of the word. Trust Amana to bring you the best quality, unbeatable value for money, and the satisfaction that comes from a brand that truly cares about your culinary experiences.”

To service the market, Unga Group, Choge said, has recently invested and partnered with various entities with state-of-the-art processing facilities for consumer-packaged foods incorporating a certified laboratory, sorting, polishing, and packaging machines. The firm’s operations are all ISO 22000:2018 certified and employ a HACCP-based Food Safety Management System to ensure products are safe and exceed customer expectations. 

Speaking at the event, State Department for Crop Development Principal Secretary Mr Phillip Kello Harsama said the government will consider a petition to classify white maize exclusively for human consumption and yellow maize for animal feeds.

Such a classification, he noted, will reduce the prevailing raw material pressure for both human and animal feeds as both compete for white maize supplies. The government, he added, is also encouraging farmers to grow alternative animal feed and edible oil crops to bridge the current local production deficit.

As part of the corporate revamp, Unga Group is repositioning itself as a holistic food company through strategic joint ventures and partnerships.

As consumers strive to enrich their dietary diversity, pulses have gained popularity as superfoods naturally loaded with high levels of dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and complex carbohydrates. Besides the nutritional benefits, pulses also assist in improving digestion, reducing blood glucose, minimizing inflammation, lowering blood cholesterol, and preventing chronic health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

In Kenya, Unga Group relies on technology-driven distribution capabilities to reach its customers more efficiently, conveniently, and affordably through relevant partnerships. The firm has adopted contemporary sales capabilities, including an online sales platform to complement its route-to-market options such as Wholesalers, Supermarkets and Dukas.

According to global research firm Research and Markets, the global pulses market size reached US$ 91.8 Billion last year and is expected to reach US$ 118.9 Billion by 2028, exhibiting a Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.41% during 2022-2028.

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