RWANDA – Global food ingredients, taste and nutrition solution provider, Kerry Group, has expanded its footprint in Africa with the acquisition of Rwanda-based Afribon.

Launched in 2012, Afribon is specialised in the development, production and marketing of food flavours, comprises five production sites, in Rwanda, Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

The Pan-African food flavour development company provides flavour solutions in beverages, food service, confectionery, baked goods and dairy category, and is consequently a neat fit for Kerry Group. The latter already has a presence in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.

This transaction further enhances Kerry’s focus as a leading business to business ingredient solutions provider for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical markets.

According to a press-statement by African Media Agency, the move is of significant importance as it will enable localisation of Kerry’s products and services, bolstered by Afribon’s local market expertise.

This will be paramount especially in the development of new product ideas to formulation, recipe adjustment and initial production set up, given the diversity of regions and cuisine in Africa.

“Flavour and taste is highly localised, and therefore developing formulas and inputs for food manufacturers keen to take advantage of the regions must be equally specialized.

“We have seen this across the various global markets where we have worked with our customers to develop product innovations,” said Kerry Group Regional Vice President Peter Dillane.

The combination of Kerry and Afribon brings technology leadership and sustainable growth while assisting clients with proprietary consumer insights in a bid to bring the next generation of food products to life through taste, health & wellness and sugar reduction.

To this end, the East African market will leverage on the extensive expertise of Kerry’s personnel, building on the roots that Afribon has already established.

“What we have now is global capability, executed locally by our team backed by the full technical and operational backing of Kerry.

“For our customers, this implies faster product development and delivery, locally stocked ingredients, greater flexibility and reduced lead times to support growing local customers,” said Julien Giuge, Afribon MD.

The move will accentuate the existing deep understanding and local insights of the East African consumer preference, while Kerry’s experience of Retail and Food service channels will enhance Afribon’s ability to partner customers with greater success.

At the side-lines of the AFMASS Food Expo, Afribon Co-Founder Anne Merienne stated, “We have been pleased to work with food manufacturers to develop products in line with the unique demands of the East African market – from both a nutrition and flavour perspective.

“As we join hands with Kerry Group, our customers can have a wider expert pool to respond to consumer needs.”

The challenge facing many food and beverage manufacturers is the demand for greater nutrition in their products.

However, in the process of nutritionally optimising such products manufacturers can typically unbalance their recipe by, for instance, reducing sugar, moving to alternative proteins, adding functional Ingredients, and other changes.

Kerry has the in-house nutritional portfolio expertise that understands taste challenges inherent to such a nutritional upgrade.

“Therefore, when developing solutions, we do not look at taste in isolation but takea holistic approach using our entire range of technologies.

“We help clients create nutritionally optimised products while maintaining the taste and mouthfeel consumers want,” said East Africa Country Manager, Regis Manyange.

Kerry has been angling the African market as earlier in the year, the company partnered with Cormart Nigeria Limited, a leading producer and distributor of chemical and food raw materials, to commence local production in the West African nation.

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