AIF, Kenchic, SALL, CCBA, Wrigley’s and EABL take top positions in Plant of the Year Awards

KENYA– The food industry in the Eastern and Southern Africa regions is on the upswing, in terms of new investments in new plants and expansions, as evidenced in the just concluded Africa Food Industry Excellence Awards, held on September 14 at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya.

Courtesy of the entries received in the highly prestigious and competitive Awards, the combined new investments in new plants that were submitted for the New Plant of the Year category in the region was well over USD 350 million in the last four years or so.

This is set to go even higher by the time of the next edition of Awards in 2019 with several other projects underway and earmarked for completion by the stated timeline of the Awards.

The leading sub-sectors were the soft beverages and milling, followed by sugar and confectionery, alcoholic beverages, dairy and chilled products with 26%, 25.5%, 22.5%, 13.5%, 11% and 1.4% of the total investments, respectively.

In a category where the installed capacity (against utilized capacity), investment value, uniqueness of plant in terms of design and technology and efficiencies were the major judging factors, the entries revealed that a number of the new investments match world class facilities, debunking the myth that the food industry in Africa is lagging behind.

Other critical aspects assessed were sustainability, food and personnel safety and community and social benefits of the new facilities.

“The entries received at this year’s Awards are a true reflection of what is happening in the food industry in Africa. Investments are increasing, and with it the quality of these investments are going up. The judges were impressed by the way these new investments have adopted the latest technology and their focus on efficient, sustainable and safe operations,” said Francis Juma, the team leader at FoodWorld Media, the organisers of the Awards ceremony.

Soft Beverages Plant of the Year

In this sub-category, Coca Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) emerged the best facility through their new USD 30 million hot-fill juice beverages in Nairobi.

The Plant, located in CCBA Kenya’s Embakasi site, is an ultra-modern establishment with installation of the latest technology. It hasa hot-fill bottling and packaging facility, materials warehouse, full goods warehouse, a processing room for dairy and one for juice, utilities space and raw materials store.

With a commissioned capacity of up to 28,000 bottles per hour, the production facility is capable of hot filling at 85 to 90 degrees with flush pasteurization.

This enables sterilized filling leading to high quality products with long shelf life without need to use any preservatives.

Coming in second was Fairy Bottling Ltd, with their new beverages plant in Lusaka, Zambia.

The USD 50 million facility is set in a 70,000 square meter area and encompasses a state-of-the-art new high-speed technology bottling equipment, two PET lines, one can line, in-house preform and closures production, in-house stretch and shrink film production, in-house carbon dioxide production, fully automated syrup preparation plant and in-house recycling plant for PET and plastic waste material among other features.

Slogging out with these giants was Tropikal Brands from Kenya via their new juice plant coming in at a descent third position.

The new plant meets all the requirements of a food processingfacility. The epoxy floor, the tiled walls, insulated roof with proper ventilation enables themto process good quality products.

The plant can do 5,000 bottles per hour of fruit juice. Material used are all made of stainless steel that is ideal for cleaning. It comprises of an automatic pasteurization and filling units.

Milling Plant of the Year

This category was a close affair between Africa Improved Foods (AIF) Rwanda Ltd and Proctor & Allan, Kenya with AIF claiming the top accolade.

The USD 60 million AIF new milled products plant in Kigali, stood out in its design, technology, safety and community and social benefits.

The plant was designed to produce 45,000 tonnes/annum of Super cereal plus, a fortified, extruded corn soy blend, including sugar and skimmed milk powder.

AIF operates 10 silos with 2,000 tonnes capacity each to store maize and soy. The silo infrastrcuture and cleaning is from Cimbria, Denmark.

Their process infrastructure is from Buhler, Switzerland, and includes 4 cleaning steps for maize (including a color sorter and scourer to reduce aflatoxin in the inputs).

The plant’s adoption of the latest production and quality management technology, food and personnel safety and sustainability credentials gave it high marks with the judges.

The Proctor & Allan plant, commissioned in 2016, produces,Cornflakes, White oats, Quick porridge oats, Oat flakes, Baby porridge, Nutri-rich porridge, cake mix and porridge.

The plant with an investment value of USD 20 million, has an installed capacity of 40 million MT of products per annum.

The fully automatedfacilityensures process parameters are well regulated and hence reduction in processing non- conforming products and waste. That has also reduced the labor costs and product contamination for the Limuru outfit.

The equipment and systems were sourced from Buhler and Bosch.

The plant’s flexibility and capacity to produce a number of products from cereals, beyond the company’s main breakfast cereals were particularly appealing to the judges.

Sugar and Confectionery Plant of the Year

Mars Wrigley (chewing gum) and Glacier Products (chocolate), all from Kenya made the final cut in this category.

Mars Wrigley wriggled out Glacier Products to scoop the top honors with their ultra-modern new factory at Athi River Kenya.

Wrigley’s facility, commissioned in January 2018, sits on a 20-acre space and cost the investors USD 70 million, the highest in investment value across all plants of the year applications.

The factory has been built to United States Green Building’s Council Leadership in Energy and Efficiency Design (LEED) Gold certification status and includes a reception area, canteen, recreation room, meeting rooms, open plan office space and new changing rooms.

The new factory is the only LEED certified factory in East and Central Africa, which enabled the plant to stand above many other plant of the year applications this year.

According to the USGBC, LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. It provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings and its certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.

Glacier Products on its part scored highly for being the only local chocolate manufacturing plant, earning it the second slot

The plant is situated in Magana Kikuyu, and registered under Glacier Products Ltd, it is an extension oftheirNairobi based ice cream factory.

The equipment were obtained from Italy from a renowned chocolate making equipment manufacturer, who also installed and commissioned them.

Currently the Plant hasa capacity of producing 150 kgs of chocolates per hour, based on market demand.

Alcoholic BeveragesPlant of the Year

This was really a one-horse race which saw EABL the only firm making the final cut with its new beer canning line in Nairobi, Kenya.

The USD 43 million line was supplied by Krones GmBH of Germany and commissioned in 2014.

The installed state of the art line is capable of producing 550,000 hectoliters per annum at a nominal rated capacity of 36,000 cans per hour.

The canning line is of the latest technology in the industry in the world with great features for safety of operations, quality control and reliability.

Itwas designed to perform at a Mechanical Efficiency of 90% and to be able to run up to 52 weeks per year, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, with scheduled stops for planned maintenance.

The Canning line was commissioned at an Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) of 60% and aMechanical Efficiency of 90%.

OEEs have improved to 80% on some SKUs (especially the Sleek can), with a flight plan to deliver the same efficiencies across all SKUs.

The goal is to achieve overall OEEs across all SKUs to best in class at 85% by the end of this financial year 2018.

Dairy Plant of the Year

In the dairy sector, two facilities made it to the final list of contestants.

These were Sameer Agriculture & Livestock Ltd (SALL)’s new dairy plant in Nakuru, Kenya and New KCC Ltd expanded dairy plant in Eldoret, Kenya.

SALL’s plant emerged winners through their USD 50 million facility that occupies a total plant area of 200,000 square meters with a capacity of 300,000 bottles per hour (500ml).

The robust facilityemploys state of the art aseptic technologywhich is a flash-heating process, thatretains more nutrients and allows the product to remain fresh for a longer period without any refrigeration, given that 65% of lower middle class Kenyan homes have no refrigeration.

This new international technology keeps the product safe, healthy and flavoursome in pre-sterilized PET bottles.It ensures 100 % sterility, as it is a hands free, fully automated process that allows the dairy products to remain tasty and be available anytime and anywhere with no risk of spoiling.

The New KCC plant expanded at a cost of USD 5 million, with a capacity of processing 320,000 liters of milk per day,was aimed at upgradingthe processing capacity to cope with increase in demand for long-life milk and to create market outlet for dairy farmers, job creation, linkages to financial institutions and other services providers through extension services.

The plant has modern packing lines which require less labour and are very efficient with minimal product and package material wastage.

Chilled and Fresh Plant of the Year

This sub-category was dominated by meat processors, where Kenchic Ltd’s chicken processing new plant in Thika, Kenya ranked first followed by Quality Meat Packers (QMP), which entered their new fish and chicken nuggets factory in Nairobi, but equally process beef and lamb.

The Kenchic Thika Processing Plant has the capacity to process 6,000 birds per hour as well as to supply the market with 60 tonnes of further processed products e.g. sausages and cold cuts per week.

The plant has a fully automated evisceration line using the latest technology in poultry pulling, water chilled cooling.

They havealso installed 3,000 birds an hour automated cut up line with an automated bird grading systemand the latest in blast freezing technology to ensure the delivering of quality frozen products at all times.

The plant is completely air cooled to protect the quality and perishability of the bird.

The firm is also installing the latest technology in cooked sausage productionand in compliance with consumer demand separated non- allergen and allergen products.T

he firm invested USD 3.5 million in this ultra-modern facility that scored very highly on bio-safety and stands out as the most advanced poultry processing plant in sub saharan Africa (excluding South Africa),hence elevatingthe Kenyan poultry production to global standards.

TheQMPnew chickenfacilityis equallyset up with international standards to focus on exports.

The facility meets thenorms required in the the international market for export.

It is fitted with Baadan Linco machines that follow the European standards, with capacity of 25,000 birds per shiftwithline speed of 3000 birds per hour.

This strength of slaughter gives QMP a certain edge in the market.Along with the above slaughter facility the plant is supported by the capability to handle 25 metric tonnes of freezing capacity.

Separate to this about 20 metric tonnes of chilled meat can be handled alongside for dispatch.

The whole factory has a temperature controlled environment and uses epoxy flooring to exceed the food safety standards.

About the Awards

The Africa Food Industry Excellence Awards,which are Africa’s most prestigious food industry awards, celebrate some of the most outstanding people, new products and company initiatives in the food, beverage and milling industry in Africa.

Now in its second year, the Awards ceremony attracted the who-is-who in the food manufacturing, retail and foodservice industry in the region, with over 400 people attending the event, which took place from 14.00 hours till late.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives sent its Acting Director of Agroprocessing, Mr. Simon Atebe, who was the Chief Guest, and the Acting Managing Director of the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Mr. Benard Nguyo, also made an appearance as one of the main guests.

Other notable attendees included the Barclays Kenya CEO, Mr. Jeremy Awori, several Managing Directors and CEOs from the industry, government agencies, supplier companies and other stakeholders.

This year’s Awards had a larger and expanded category profile, with new categories (new plants, new products, sustainability and training initiatives) added on top of the individual award categories from the 2017 edition of the Awards.

The next edition of the Africa Food Industry Excellence Awards ceremony will be held on July 12, 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Individuals and companies are encouraged to enter their applications for next year’s Awards process, which open on November 1, 2018.

More information about the Awards can be found on


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