Meet MARKETING EDGE 2020 Summit & Awards sponsor – Promasidor Nigeria
African beverage and food products powerhouse, Promasidor, was founded in 1979 by Robert Rose, who left the United Kingdom in 1957 for Zimbabwe to pursue his African dream. As Chairman of Allied Lyons Africa for over 20 years, Rose travelled extensively across Africa and gained a unique and thorough knowledge of the food industry throughout the continent. In particular, he noticed a lack of availability of the one highly nutritious product that the developed world takes for granted – milk.
He realised that with technology in the manufacture of milk powders advancing rapidly, there was an exciting opportunity to provide milk powder in small portions that could be packaged in flexible sachets. It was found that removing the animal fat from the milk and replacing it with vegetable fat allowed for a longer shelf life. This meant that for the first time, milk powder could be distributed across the vast African continent, providing access to affordable milk to everyone in Africa.
A passionate belief in this vision fuelled the pioneering concept of selling filled milk powder in small sachets and Promasidor began selling the Cowbell brand in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire) in 1979. Thereafter, the business moved to other African countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Algeria, and Angola.
Promasidor entered the Nigerian market in March 1993. It began operations in Nigeria under the business name of Wonder Foods Limited. Cowbell milk was the first product introduced to the country and it was initially sold at a size similar to other brands in the market. However, sales generated by the firm’s 400-gram powdered milk were not encouraging. To compete with the other milk brands, the firm imported larger packages of milk which were then sold to wholesalers who then scooped the milk from the larger package into smaller polythene bags for resale. This sales and distribution method did get some traction. Thereafter, Cowbell decided to import smaller sachets of milk to target middle and low-income earners and this selling strategy increased the firm’s revenue. Thereafter, the firm diversified into other sectors such as chocolate drinks, tea and seasonings.
In 2003, the firm changed its business name from Wonder Foods to Promasidor to promote uniformity across the group.
Since the entrance of Promasidor into the Nigerian market, Cowbell milk has remained the flagship product and the main revenue driver for the Promasidor brand. Its success was followed by the launch of Milksi milk powder in 1999. Loya milk was introduced into the market in 2004 and was re-packaged in 2010.
The firm also produces cocoa beverages: Cowbell chocolate milk and Miksi chocolate. Cowbell chocolate was introduced to the market in 2000 and in 2011, it was among the top three cocoa beverage drinks in the country
In 2004, the firm introduced Onga powdered seasoning, produced in four variations of crayfish, chicken, stew and classic. It was the first powdered seasoning produced in Nigeria. In 2010, the firm launched Onga seasoning cubes. In 2018, it introduced Sunvita, Nigeria’s first zip-lock packaged ready-to-eat cereal.
The firm had earlier introduced Top Tea with round tea bags in April 1998 in the tea market.
The foremost diary company has been committed to the growth of Nigeria’s economy through its huge investment and contribution. Recently, Promasidor made a $5 million investment to reactivate the moribund Ikun Dairy Farm in Ekiti State, South-West, Nigeria.
In terms of corporate social responsibility, it has supported and initiated various projects to support many sectors of the economy. For instance, it has supported and bankrolled a mathematics competition tagged Cowbelpedia for Junior and Senior secondary students since its launch in 1998. In 2014, Promasidor emerged one of the winners of the Lagos State Government Support Our Schools Initiative Corporate Social Responsibility Award in recognition of its contribution to education in the state and the country.