A leading Zambian food processor has penetrated the regional markets after successfully exporting its noodles to Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Java Foods Limited are manufacturers of “eeZee noodles” which have been on Zimbabwean shop shelves since November 2020.
In an interview in Lusaka, Zambia, with Lusaka Times, Java Foods founder and chief executive officer Monica Musonda disclosed that sales volumes of its famous ‘eeZee noodles’ brand are already hitting one million packets. She said:
Java Foods business strategy and rollout in Zambia was influenced by a number of factors.
Firstly, Zambia is self-sufficient in wheat, yet locally we use wheat only for bread and confectionery.
So there was an opportunity to introduce new products using wheat.
Secondly, a young (youthful) urban population and changing consumption patterns meant more people were looking for convenience ready-to-eat, affordable meals.
We started off in Zimbabwe in November 2020 and Java Foods signed a distribution agreement with Tulips Distribution Limited.
The product has done very well; consumer demand has grown and we have sold almost a million packets into that market.
The Zimbabwean consumer is quite progressive, willing to try new products.
Noodles have been in that market for some time now but it does seem that they like eeZee Noodles because of its high quality and our greatly localized taste and flavour.
She explained how Java has successfully pushed into regional markets such as Zimbabwe and Malawi. Said Musonda:
Primarily because we cannot create Java Foods in every country around us, you have to really work through partnerships with people who already distribute products in their local market.
And it’s important to work through partnerships because your local partner understands how people buy products, what influences them to buy products, and they have relationships with retailers, wholesalers and so forth.
Musonda said distribution costs are lower and corporate partners can import Java Foods products without paying customs duty. She added:
We are just about to introduce ‘Supa Cereal’ (our fortified instant maize soya porridge) into Zimbabwe. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we do find that our consumers are now looking at nutritious foods to enhance immune systems; eat right to keep healthy.
So Supa Cereal is a product of choice. But we feel that by the end of the year, you will be able to find both products in both countries.