Battle for mindshare in Nigeria’s seasoning market

Seasonings were used well before writing was invented, and they were used by people all over the world. The use of seasoning to spice up food was a great gastronomically motivated game-changer in the history of humankind’s culinary culture and invention. Naturally, omnivores tend to try things that look and smell edible.

In Africa, prior to the introduction of modern food seasonings such as Maggi and Knorr in cube, powder and liquid forms, there have been several local seasonings such as Iru, Ogiri, and Dawadawa— all of which locals still relish till now. With aggressive modern branding and marketing, however, all the local seasonings have remained mere commodities.

Brands play a critical role in establishing a company’s visibility and position in international markets. Building coherent international brand architecture is a key component of a company’s overall international marketing strategy, because it provides a structure to leverage strong brands into other markets, assimilate acquired brands, and integrate strategy across markets.

In Nigeria’s contemporary seasoning market, two brands have been slugging it out for decades – Maggi and Knorr. Outstanding leaders in their respective categories, none is a pushover when it comes to brand heritage, reputation and equity. Their consumer loyalty and quality market offerings are also nonpareil.

Maggi is a heritage brand which has acquired a generic status in Nigeria. Founded in 1872, a Swiss entrepreneur called Julius Maggi came with the solution of a protein based vegetable dish, which was quick, easy and inexpensive to prepare.

Maggi has been in Africa since the 1950’s with a logo identification of Maggi Star, characterised by red and yellow colours. According to available information on Nestle website, Central West Africa Region (CWAR) is the largest Maggi cube producing market in the company and sells over 100million cubes in the region daily.

Knorr was founded in 1838 by Carl Heinrich Theodor Knorr. With annual sales topping €3 billion, Knorr is Unilever’s biggest selling brand.

The battle for leadership in the seasoning market recently assumed an interesting dimension, as some of the leading FMCG brands in the country have launched new season products to cash in on the growth opportunity in the segment. Last year, Promasidor dared to challenge market leaders like Knorr and Magi with the launch of Onga cube. TGI Distri Limited a subsidiary of Chi Limited also recently launched a seasoning cube called Terra cube.

Other smaller players in that segment such as 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. These brands are having their own share of the market.

Strong brands help their owners establish an identity in the marketplace and develop a solid customer franchise. They can also provide the basis for line extensions, which will further strengthen the company’s equity and enhance value.

In a bid not to be outdone by new entrants from competitors, Nestle Nigeria has moved to reinforce its leadership in the segment with its entry into the seasoning powder segment, following the launch of Maggi Signature into the country’s market.

Mauricio Alarcon, Managing Director of Nestle Nigeria in his message, said: “The addition of the ‘Maggi Signature’ range to the company’s product portfolio is in line with ‘MAGGI ‘Simply Good’ commitments. This includes a commitment to use familiar and common ingredients, which is another step towards fulfilling our ambitions to help individuals and families live healthier and happier lives.”

The coming months will, however, determine how stiffer the competition in Nigeria’s seasoning market is going to get. But one thing is sure, it has never been the same, and shall never remain the same.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    No comments found.