Fausat Sanni-Yusuf runs Royal Siblings, a raw food packaging and/or processing outfit. The firm buys local brown rice (ofada), raw honey, cassava flakes (garri) and yam flour (elubo), removes impurities and puts them in a form that is ready to cook. The target market consists of high net-worth individuals which include professionals such as bankers, lawyers, doctors and so on.
Sanni-Yusuf says, “One of the main challenges has been registration with the organisation that regulates food products. Prior to the emergence of small companies that package these foodstuffs and of course ensure they are free of dusts or other impurities to protect their brands, these foodstuffs were sold in the open markets.”
Speaking further, she says, “There is no criteria yet given by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to the National Agency for Food, Drug, Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on packaging of some foodstuffs such as ‘Ofada rice’. I have approached the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and I was told that NAFDAC has not yet been given the yardstick for certification of ‘Ofada rice’ which is my company’s flagship product. These agencies are still working on standardisations of some packaged foodstuffs in Nigeria, What those companies are then given is the temporary approval. As a result when we take the products to supermarkets, some supermarkets act as though they are doing us a favour, so they under-price and insist on Sales On Return. Sometimes, they delay in paying up even when the products are sold up.”
Royal Siblings food products however have wide acceptance amongst its consumers. Sanni- Yusuf says, “The catchiness of the packs, including the relatively smaller sizes compared to the 50kg or 25kg packs that rice is normally packaged in make them very attractive to high net-worth individuals. I do lots of direct sales, these high net-worth individuals value them so much and do not complain of the prices unlike supermarkets that demand very heavy discounts.”
I intend to export, not just to West African countries but all over the world. I do get orders from outside the country but I often cannot execute them once it is outside West Africa. The last order I got for yam flour was from New Zealand but the courier charges made it unprofitable to execute the order.
Due to the demands of the clientele, Sanni-Yusuf says, “We have also introduced pure natural honey fortified with garlic and ginger, or ginger alone to meet the specific health needs of some clientele. We also have different flavours. These products have been prepared under controlled hygienic conditions.”
Packaged and branded products safeguarding or guaranteeing health needs of consumers usually have wide acceptance and attract premium prices provided the quality is consistent. For the packaging company, whether it produces or not, the essential thing is to ensure that the health needs of the customer is not compromised at the point of production or processing.