Raheem Akingbolu writes on how major players in the nation’s seasoning market are approaching consumers with innovation and cutting-edge marketing tools…
The subtle war in the seasoning market took a new turn recently when Unilever Nigeria introduced two new additions to the Royco family –the new Royco Seasoning Powder for stews, and another for soups. At the launch in Abuja, the company indicated that it was being introduced to give Nigerians women better aroma and taste from their everyday cooking. Two things made the launch strategic: the Abuja venue and the N5 price tag placed on the product. By holding the unveiling ceremony in the nation’s capital, it was believed in some quarters that the handlers were sending signal to whoever cared to listen that they meant to take over the entire market and changed the perception that Royco was only popular in the North.
In recent times, there had been a serious battle among the major players in the seasoning market; especially between Nestlé Nigeria Plc, manufacturers of the popular Maggi brand, and Unilever. Though Daily Need Nigeria Limited and Doyin Group of Companies, manufacturers of Suppy and Doyin cube respectively, are also making impact, the global influence of the two giant players hinders their spread and popularity. For this reason, it is believed that Suppy and Doyin appeal only to the people at the lowest ebb of the market.
Nestlé’s Maggi, which has since assumed a generic status, is a household name, but recent developments in the market have cost it a substantial part of its market share. In the first place, immediately Unilever Nigeria Plc took over the manufacturing and sales of Knorr seasoning from Cadbury Nigeria Plc in December 2005, the company began a series of activation, which tend to create a bond between average families in Nigeria with Knorr. One of such activations was the popular Power of Meal Times campaign project which saw the company organising family picnics every year. Though this was matched by the Nestlé’s Maggi Cook for Mama competition, the involvement of all family members in the Knorr exercise made it more impactful.
Today, it is not only Knorr that is confronting Maggi in the menu recipe of many Nigerian homes but others like Onga and Royco. Though Maggi is still the market leader, observers believe that complacency on the part of its handlers might later turn out to be its albatross. Speaking at the new Royco in Abuja, Marketing Director for Unilever Nigeria, Mr. David Okeme, noted that the company has continued to improve on its brands because of the need to always provide consumers with products that help them get the best out of life.
“With the new Royco Seasoning Powders, women now have brilliant opportunity to enjoy the consistent superior Royco quality, as well as an irresistible aroma from their cooking,” he stated. Also speaking at the event, the Assistant Category Manager, Savory, Aurora Monye, explained that the decision to come to market with the new offering was in response to consumers yearnings for affordable and more improved seasoning for cooking. On what would be the impact of the new product on the fortune of the brand in the market, the Assistant Category Manager added that it would further increase the brand market share in the market and give it a competitive advantage.
Two loyal consumers of the brand; Mrs. Ogozi Egbochukwu and Mrs. Rasheedat AbdulRasaq, also spoke glowingly about the uniqueness of Royco among other seasonings in the market. Egbochukwu, who spoke after the sampling of the product at the event, admitted that it was an innovation that would add value to the lives of consumers, especially women. For AbdulRasaq, what gladdens her heart most is the fact that her husband is always enjoying whatever she cooks with Royco.