Growth and development are important for both businesses and individuals. For Jobeco B.V., growth is only a success when achieved together with its partners and consumers. The opposite – growth at the
Sadly exploitation is commonplace in the food industry throughout the continent, due to lenient legislation and high price-sensitivity. By going against this wave of producing and supplying low-quality food products to Africa, Jobeco B.V are saying no to exploitation and yes to growth, by supplying the highest possible quality at the lowest possible cost.
Established in 1981, the Jobeco Group has been supplying FMCG products around the globe for nearly 40 years. However, Jobeco Food, the company’s current focus and ambitious business concept is quite new.
“Travelling in Nigeria last year, we discovered that there was a tremendous price difference between low and high-quality food products,” says Marcel Joosten, Managing Director of Jobeco B.V. “Compared to a difference of around 50% in Europe, in Nigeria this price differential goes up to 300%. Bearing in mind the country is far more price sensitive than Europe, only a very low percentage of people have access to quality products. This is where we saw the chance for a new business model.”
The idea was to establish joint ventures and develop premium-quality products for the West African market at an affordable price. “We gave up some of our profit margin and based our concept on volume production,” explains Mr. Joosten. “We have six brands today, three of which are already active.”
Jobeco has its headquarters in Dubai, a logistics center in the Netherlands and distribution in a number of countries including Nigeria. The entrepreneurs head a team of 44 employees who contribute their expertise to the company’s successful performance.
The entrepreneurs want to make quality food products more accessible and affordable throughout Africa. Jobeco Food are pricing at the low-end of the market while offering a better product hence their slogan ‘Quality Is For Everyone’. Marcel JoostenManaging Director
Production takes place in the framework of different joint ventures, some in Dubai and some in Europe. “Our aim is to establish brands in premium quality, based on intensive market research,” emphasizes Mr. Joosten. “Focusing on the young generation is another important aspect of our distribution strategy. After all, 70% of Nigeria’s population are under 30. We will try to adapt to the needs of young people with modern technology, for example with a QR code you pick up with your mobile for an animation that is both playful and educational.”
The choice of products offered by Jobeco is continuously adapted to market requirements and consumer preferences. “We cooperate closely with our distribution partners,” points out Mr. Joosten. “First we consult market analyses to find out which products are particularly popular. Then we keep adapting them, which may go as far as integrating local spices and developing products specifically for a region or market.”
MJ’s is the company’s most important brand at present and represents a whole range of non-perishable and packaged products, for example mayonnaise, vinegar, crackers, sauces, ketchup, jam, baking powder and many more. Armano covers the delightful world of coffee, cappuccino, coffee mixes, hot chocolate, coffee creamers and cookies, while Chocito’s stands for cereals, chocolate spreads, confectionary and instant cocoa.
Two other brands are being prepared for market entry at present: Jojo for delicious fruit juices and Jovita for vitamins and food supplements. Nigeria remains Jobeco’s main market. “It is Africa’s fastest-growing market and it has the largest population,” says Mr. Joosten. “We have operations in a total of ten African and six Middle Eastern countries today.”
In the face of growing competition, it is Jobeco’s concept of quality at an affordable price that prevails. Many other foodstuffs shipped to Africa are close to the use-by date. Products imported from China tend to contain many chemical additives or preservatives that impair their quality.
Jobeco cooperates with distributors and importers who appreciate its high and dependable quality. At the same time, they need to agree with the company’s concept of reasonable selling prices. “It is important to remember that African markets are different,” adds the Managing Director. “In Nigeria for example, only 20% of all goods are sold in conventional supermarkets, 80% on the open market. We control the cooling chain and regularly check the selling prices.”
Looking ahead, Jobeco is planning to intensify distribution in cooperation with competent partners and spread geographically. “Participation in fairs such as the Food West Africa or the Gulf Food Dubai is an important opportunity to present our successful concept, our premium-quality brands and establish new contacts,” sums up Mr. Joosten. “In 2021 we intend to establish our own filling station for bulk goods, probably in Ghana, to make us more independent from taxes and import duties. In the long run, we are planning to set up our own production facilities in Africa – another step towards securing cost-efficiency, moving more of the value chain to Africa and proving our motto that ‘Quality is for Everyone’.“