Spanish food manufacturer seeks to grow exports to Africa

Spanish food and beverages manufacturer, Leche Pascaul, is placing a great importance on Africa as an export destination for its products. Dinfin Mulupi caught up with the company’s export manager for Africa, Thomas Levy, at the Food Agro exhibition in Nairobi, Kenya.

Thomas Levy

Thomas Levy

Tell us a little bit more about Leche Pascual

Leche Pascual is a Spanish company involved in the processing and manufacturing of dairy products. We have over 300 brands of yoghurt, juice and soya drinks. We operate 20 factories and export our products to 30 countries in Africa and 17 countries across the other continents. We are currently undertaking all manufacturing in Spain but are planning to also start manufacturing in Venezuela.

What plans do you have for Africa?

We are planning to begin manufacturing in Nigeria in probably four years. The country has a population of over 150 million people and presents significant potential considering that most quality food products in their market come from abroad. In a country like Angola, our products dominate the market – we sell about one container of products every day.

And your plans for East Africa specifically?

We would like to begin distribution in Kenya. We are hoping to meet local distributors who have connections in the market and can distribute our products. We are also taking the time at the exhibition to study local demand. Kenya’s thriving tourism industry is also likely to provide opportunities for us in sales.

How is the company planning on penetrating the Kenyan market considering that other companies have already established operations locally?

Our products are unique in that our yoghurt brand has a longer shelf life and does not need to be stored in refrigerators. This will be appealing for consumers who have no refrigerators or experience frequent power cuts. Our soya products will go down well with consumers who are allergic to lactose. We are going to ride on the good health, high quality nature of our products and the fact that we have many brands to reach diverse consumers. Our strategy also will include marketing, advertisements and promotions.

What are the unique challenges related to exporting across Africa?

The biggest challenge is getting distributors since we do not undertake the distribution of our products ourselves. It might take time before landing good distributors who understand the market to ensure sustainable supply.

What is your advice to other manufacturers looking at exporting to Africa?

It is important to study the market and understand its demands. Companies should also work hand-in-hand with experienced distributors who have connections to penetrate the entire country.