By Omolabake Fasogbon
The Nigeria fruit juice sub-sector of the economy has not stopped attracting new players ever since the Federal Government placed a ban on the importation of fruit juice into the country.
Thanks also to the government’s initiative of tariff reduction on juice concentrate that saw to incentive boost for local manufacturers, a move that has significantly fueled prospects and opportunities in the sector.
These developments have so far aided growth, competition and quality output in the segment and rubbed off positively on the general economy.
On account of this, GX Foods, an indigenous firm, is driving innovations in the Fruit Juice segment with the launch of ‘Frudi’. However, despite the impressive turnout of investors in this sector, Nigeria is still to meet the annual national demand for fruit juice.
According to the Raw Material and Research Development Council, RMRDC, the annual demand for fruit juice in the country presently stands at 550 million litres, while current supply is estimated at 135 million litres which represents less than 25% of total demand.
The council also disclosed that the ban placed on foreign juice further sparked an increase in consumption level of Nigerians to about 10% per year. While consumption increased to 320 million litres in 2007 from 200 million litres that it was in 2002, it jerked up to 550 million litres in 2017.
Plaguing the sector asides from supply deficit is also the changing interest and purpose of consumers that have graduated from the thirst quenching, refreshing and invigorating values of fruit juice to products that subscribe to consumers’ health and wellness plans.
This is even as guidelines for a healthy balanced diet recommend plenty of fruits and vegetables to supply body’s vitamins and minerals needs, hence medical professionals advice on moderate consumption of 100% fruit juices to make a significant contribution to potassium and some other micronutrients.
These trends thus call for quick innovations to enhance sector attractiveness and more importantly, satisfy the sophisticated cravings of consumers.
The entrance of ‘Frudi’ in the Nigerian Food and Beverage space is a major development that would have consumers enjoy desired values on their money and at the other end, positions Nigeria as the next food and beverage manufacturing hub globally.
Coming at a time when Nigeria is longing for more fruit juice to harmonise with huge consumption demand, Frudi juice variants, from the stable of GX Foods, is not only filling the deficit gap, but equally matches up with innovations required to boost sector growth and performance, to the admiration of global market.
The official launch of the product took place in Lagos and was witnessed by trade partners across the country, top executives of GXFoods, media executives and some members of the public who attested to the unique offerings of the latest.
Frudi Juice comes in four different variants, namely-Gingy Lemon, Zobo Blast, Sensational Guava and Exotic, all of which are made of traditional and tropical ingredients.
Speaking at the launch of the product, Head of Sales and Marketing, GX Foods, Theresa Arome- Sule, stated that the latest has come to satisfy the yearnings of health conscious young adults and mothers who desire beyond ordinary refreshments in fruit juice.
She said, “The innovation in the taste of Frudi is the distinguishing quality that GX Foods have invested in. More so, in our effort to revolutionise the sector, we have ensured that all Frudi variants are all partly made with locally sourced ingredients to further buttress the company’s commitment to the ‘Buy Nigeria to grow Nigeria’ movement.
“Frudi is also aseptically packaged by employing the highest quality standards using Tetra Pak equipment. Our latest is a promise to the consumers for more exciting, refreshing and body nourishing fruit juice.
“Apart from the tropical and traditional ingredients; Frudi leaves the taste buds tingling for more. This distinguishing quality of Frudi is referenced in the Frudi slogan, ‘taste the extra to forget the ordinary,’’ she said. Managing Director of GX Foods, Gbemi Adio Moses, reiterated the essence of the new products to enhance healthy living.
He said: “Now, we are moving from an era of refreshments and just drinking juice, to an era where health and nutrition are strictly considered in whatever that goes into our stomach. This is where the world is headed and we are on that train and direction.”
The company equally shared its innovative plans to drive sales, initiate partnership, incentives and source raw materials locally to create markets for farmers in order boost their income and employment level.
This move by GX Foods is focused on driving a higher stake in the fruit juice segment and, in every case, to rub off positively on the food and beverage industry.