KENYA – The battle for control of the breakfast menu has intensified, with a multinational firm in Kenya embarking on an expansion programme.

Proctor & Allan, the only local company that makes breakfast cereals, is recruiting wholesalers across the country with an eye on increasing its footprint.

The market for breakfast cereals has seen several multinationals competing for the consumer’s palate.

Last year, Proctor & Allan moved from its long-time base in Industrial Area, Nairobi, to Limuru Town, Kiambu County, where it set up a $20 million (Sh2 billion) factory.

The new facility is fully automated, unlike the previous one which was partly manual. This new plant has raised the firm’s capacity, thus the need to get more distributors.

“The old plant had its limitations. We needed to introduce a wider range of products. Also, Nairobi traffic jams were not helpful in our bid to reach the market in time,” said Managing Director David Kamau.

He said they opted for Limuru due to its easy access to Rift Valley, Nyanza/Western Kenya and the export markets of Uganda and Rwanda, as well as its proximity to Mount Kenya and Nairobi via road by-passes.

The company sells its products in East and Central Africa.

It’s main competitors in the fast moving consumer goods category include Kellogs of United States, Weetabix of United Kingdom, and Temmys of Egypt.

“We want to double what we are doing through entering the wholesale channel in the next two years. That would mean we sell goods through this new channel worth over $5 million a year,” he said in an interview with the Sunday Nation.

To achieve the ambitious growth programme, the company is looking for wholesalers across the country to stock up its products.

“We have many entrepreneurs in Kenya who are willing to expand or get new business. We want to tap into their skills and create jobs. We are already in key towns and supermarkets. We now want to be felt in village kiosks and dukas,” said Mr Kamau.

In major towns, the company has felt the effect of the downward spiral of two big retailers, Nakumatt and Uchumi supermarkets, which have been facing financial problems and, therefore, are unable to stock various products.

The company, just like the country’s economy, has also suffered from the current political uncertainty.

“High inflation and drought affected our operations. Maize is our largest raw material and we have had challenges getting it over the past few months,” Mr Kamau said, adding that they will be expanding to Tanzania soon.

“We are not affected by the frosty relations between Kenya and Tanzania. We will be expanding from Dar es Salaam, to Arusha, Moshi and other towns like Mwanza,” he said.

The company’s brands include Cornflakes, Crunchy Cornflakes, Wheat Flakes, Rice Crispies, Muesli, White Oats, Quick Porridge Oats, Kiddos Baby Porridge, Kiddos Champs Porridge, Nutri-rich Porridge, Family Porridge, Family Sour Porridge, Cake Mix, Golden Crumbs, Gravy Mix and Unimix.

September 18, 2017: The Nation