UGANDA – Lato Milk, a dairy brand in East Africa with both local and overseas markets, is reaffirming its presence in the soft drink space with the launch of Lato VitaZ, a juice packed with essential nutrients to keep consumers energized.
The drink which is Lato’s second soft drink brand has added benefits of Zinc to boost the immune system and promote healthy growth & development.
It closely follows the recent launch of Lato Gluco Power-B, Lato’s first soft drink brand which is fortified with Vitamin B, providing its customers with a more potent energy boost to power.
The two drinks, launched less than a week apart, signal Lato’s foray into the non-carbonated soft drinks market which is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 11.75% per annum to reach US$470.45 million (in retail prices) in 2025.
According to Market Research, one of the most important trends in the non-carbonated soft drinks market in Uganda is the surging demand for healthy and sustainable products.
“In fact, people are increasingly embracing the non-carbonated drinks, but the consumption of drinks with high-sugar content is rather occasionally than regularly, as they are perceived more as an indulgence,” the market research firm noted.
The two soft drink brands are thus expected to position Lato, which is owned by Uganda’s largest dairy Pearl Dairy, to better take advantage of these growth opportunities to grow its bottom line.
Entry into the soft drink sector is not the company’s first diversification away from its core dairy business.
Back in 2020, the Uganda based dairy processor invested more than Ush10 bn (US$2.7m) into the nto commercial honey production.
The move is in a bid to create an additional revenue stream, given the challenges that are facing the country’s milk sector of not accessing most East Africa Community markets.
To further hedge it risks the company recently sought support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to the tune of US$35m credit facility.
About US$ 21 million will be allocated to capital expenditure program which “including the upgrade and capacity increase of the powder milk plant in Uganda, and the acquisition of a packing plant in Kenya.”
While at least US$14m will go to “refinancing of existing Standard Chartered Bank loan in Uganda”, according to IFC.