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‘Support for indigenous brands critical to economic growth’

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Managing Director, Rite Foods, Seleem Adegunwa

The Managing Director, Rite Foods Limited, Seleem Adegunwa, has called on Nigerians to support indigenous businesses to grow and compete with international brands, create jobs for the citizens and stimulate the country’s socio-economic development.

He said indigenous food and beverage brands, that comply with global standards, were already competing with their foreign counterparts which they compel to localise their products to survive the stiff competition.

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Adegunwa, who spoke during the Rite Food Limited Brand Academy (RBA) training for journalists at Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, said the food and beverage sub-sector remains crucial to the growth of the country’s economy.

According to the World Trade Organisation, the sector accounts 22.5 per cent of the manufacturing value and 4.6 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Adegunwa lamented that Nigerians’ attitude toward local brands and products is disheartening, especially as they discredit them as inferior to imported brands. He said this paved the way for foreigners to dominate the Nigerian markets with their products.

He said to reposition the Nigerian market for indigenous brands to survive, Rite Foods Limited, in 2007, began local production of foods and beverages with global best practices to meet the needs of local consumers across the country.

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According to him, the company is committed to promoting the well-being of consumers by providing high-quality foods and nourishing beverages for the population and the development of its host communities.

He said the company has invested heavily in the value chains of snacks, carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks and water having established itself as a world-class indigenous company with regard for quality, healthy living, and nourishment.

Adegunwa said the company has consistently managed its brands for a sustained local appeal through its promotion of ‘Nigerianess’ strategy.

Also speaking, the Assistant Brand Manager, Rite Foods Limited, Boluwatife Adedugbe, said part of the company’s responsibility towards equipping the local consumers and contributing to the country’s economic growth is its corporate social investment in education, entertainment, talents, and communities across the country.

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She said Rite Foods has supported over 120, 000 children and 18, 000 schools along with several non-governmental organisations and communities and that it has given food relief to 8, 013 families, the Nigerian Police Force, and hospitals in Ogun State.

She said the company also partnered with the Lagos State Government in its COVID-19 emergency food response project to support its efforts in containing the pandemic.

In his presentation, the Chief Consultant, TPT International, Adetokunbo Modupe, lamented that Nigerians do not celebrate and promote indigenous brands as much as foreigners celebrate their own.

“Foreign countries take pride in their brands and products. But Nigerians criticise their products. Products with foreign labels are seen as superior while those with Nigerian labels are seen as substandard.

“The media is also an active tool in disseminating information about our local brands and products to get people to trust them. We must denounce negative information about Nigerian products and support them. If we don’t, we are giving the country a poor reputation, which will affect the way others see us and in turn harm the economy,” he stressed.

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