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NASCON: Supporting Nigeria’s food security agenda with new products

GlobaliSation and its impact on food security has become a dominant factor in Nigeria due to its effects on public health, agriculture, trade and investment, poverty, hunger and tourism.

[FILE] Chairperson, NASCON Allied Industries Plc, Mrs Yemisi Ayeni (left), Managing Director: Paul Farrer, and Executive Director, Commercial: Fatima Aliko-Dangote, at the 2017 yearly general meeting of NASCON Allied Industries Plc, in Lagos.

GlobaliSation and its impact on food security has become a dominant factor in Nigeria due to its effects on public health, agriculture, trade and investment, poverty, hunger and tourism.

In Nigeria, the food supply chain is undergoing considerable transformation as Government intensifies its efforts to provide conducive environment by reviewing and updating key policies to encourage investment in the food and beverages sector.

Consequently, food industries are investing in different types of products to assist the Federal Government in meeting food security in Nigeria.

Certainly, made-in-Nigeria goods will boost the nation’s manufacturing sector and by extension create more jobs. It is through this that indigenous firms can take advantage of bigger markets at regional, continental and global levels.For example, NASCON Allied Industries Plc, a subsidiary of Dangote Industries Limited has over the years invested heavily in the production of salt and different brands of seasoning in the country.

The company is passionate about backward integration projects as a strategy to diversify and add more value to both its shareholders and the Nigerian economy.Indeed, the recent launch of the company’s cooking seasonings, which include Classic Seasoning cube, curry powder and stew mix, clearly shows its commitment in ensuring quality and affordable food products in Nigeria.

The company’s Dan-Q Seasoning, which according to the firm, has been highly accepted by consumers around the country, is presently available in chicken and beef flavour variants and there are plans by the company to expand its flavour offerings in line with consumer needs and the demand for flavour variation.

Speaking at the launch of the new product recently in Kano, Executive Director, Commercial NASCON Allied Plc, Fatima Dangote said, the classic seasoning cubes and stew mix were created with a special blend of herbs and spices to give meals unique taste and aroma.

She pledged the company’s commitment towards a healthy living to the people by producing products that meet the physical and mental needs of the people.

The new product which the NASCON boss described as a product of thorough and painstaking research into the preference of the people in the seasoning sub sector of the food industry, came in the wake of a similar launch recently, of new Curry Powder and Stew Mix from the stable of NASCON.

Fatima Dangote said she had no doubt in her mind that the new product would be an instant hit given its unique taste, flavor and aroma, noting that the new classic seasoning cubes and stew mix were created with a special blend of herbs and spices to give meals that unique taste and great aroma.

She described the new classic seasoning as a new innovation birthed after years of consumer led research and development, and urged distributors, marketers, eateries and consumers to immediately key into it.

Buttressing her remarks with the Hausa local dialect, while explaining the strengths of the product, she described the seasoning as ‘Karshen Magana’ meaning the ‘Real Deal’ and that it is second to none in the market throughout the country.According to her, the management of NASCON decided to go into the research for the new product bearing in mind that wellbeing of the consumers.

Good nutrition, she stated, maintained immune system and delays the effect of aging because it reduces the risk of chronic disease while poor diet reduces physical and mental health.She therefore urged women to try the new seasoning cubes, stew mix and curry powder, as they would ensure meal moments are great moments.

Fatima Dangote assured that the products would be launched in other parts of the country very soon, adding that despite the high innovative quality, they are affordable and available with various promotional items to be given out to the distributors and consumers.

In his remarks, the Group Managing Director of NASCON Allied Plc, Paul Farrer assured that the new product is a high margin product that would help ensure distributors and customers remain profitable, describing the new product as premium but affordable to the consumers.He pledges the company is committed to rigorous industry and regulatory standards that ensure quality products for Nigeria’s ever-increasing consumer and developing industrial markets.

“Our products have Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) certifications,” he added.Speaking on the company’s future plans, Farrer said that NASCON will remain strongly focused on growth, and would be leveraging on a range of opportunities within the business to build scale across the company’s brands.”

“We intend to deliver on our promises made to all stakeholders.“We will continue to leverage synergies and enhance efficiencies across the business operations to curtail costs. Product innovation and improvement in our seasoning business aimed at delivering savory taste experiences will remain a priority. At NASCON, we maintain a value chain pricing model that recommends the prices of our retail packs, whilst ensuring our products are available in convenience stores across the country.”

Attesting to the quality of the product, NASCON key distributor, Alhaji Hamisu Rabiu of Hamis Investment in Kano, described NASCON products as fast moving and of good quality.He urged other distributors and retailers across the country to immediately key into the new classic cube, Dangote stew mix and Dangote curry powder.

Head of Marketing of NASCON Allied Industries Plc, Olusegun Ajala expressed optimism that the “innovative brand will up the company’s market share exponentially because of its unique taste and aroma.Besides the seasonings, NASCON is engaged in the refining and marketing of salt of different grades; kitchen, table and industrial. The company is the leading salt manufacturer in Nigeria considering it controls more than 60 per cent of the market and provides employment for over 600 employees.

NASCON’s Dangote Salt, which comes in 250g, 500g and 1kg poly bags (sachets), is extra refined to give a purer and finer textured product, thus guaranteeing superior quality. Dangote refined salt is Iodized (using iodide) to promote good health by reducing the chances/risks of iodine deficiency. Dangote salt is refined from the finest quality sea-salts.

According to Fatima Dangote, “for us salt is more than just the mineral that enhances the flavour in food. As an essential element in our diet, we fortify it with iodine under UNICEF guidelines and Nigerian regulations to combat iodine deficiency disorders.

Speaking on the company’s salt business, Fatima said: “We are expanding, we are investing on new refinery for our salt, and we are also looking at innovations; we are bringing other products that are looking forward to introducing new products. So, hopefully, 2019 will be a better year for the company and also importantly for the shareholders.

“We place shareholders interest so high because they have actually trusted us, they have invested in our business and as you can see, regardless of our challenges, we are still able to push really hard and declare profits. We have to take our shareholders very seriously so that they can keep trusting in us, and by so doing, more people will keep buying our shares and hold us in high regard.”

Despite challenges in the country’s industrial sector, the company has continued to deliver good return to shareholders.Through intense focus and operational discipline, the company delivered unprecedented returns in its salt segment and also increased sales in the highly competitive seasoning market.

For the financial year ended 31st December 2017, the company recorded an impressive turnover of ₦27.06 billion, representing a 48 per cent improvement on ₦18.29 billion in the previous year.Also, profit after tax increased by 121 per cent from ₦2.42 billion in 2016 to ₦5.34 billion, and earnings per share grew by 122 per cent from ₦0.91 to ₦2.02. In addition, the company maintained its financial stability with ₦9.4 billion in cash reserves.

Chairman of the company, Yemisi Ayeni, expressed optimism about the year ahead, saying, “as we remain strongly committed to executing our sustainable growth strategy, thereby growing consumer trust and shareholder confidence is our priority.”