The growing competition in the retail market in sub Saharan Africa has a lot to do with the appeal of packaging of typical first world products over that of local entrepreneurs.
Several years ago entrepreneurs and community groups selling food products, often use recycled bottles and a simple black and white printed label like those in the photograph below.
photograph by DIGIVU
published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.
I must admit this photo is several years old and was of a community groups product. It is however indicative of products that I saw on supermarket shelves competing with the products of multinationals.
The availability of suitable packaging at an affordable price seemed to limit the choice available to entrepreneurs. Unattractive products made competition with multinationals impossible.But please prove me wrong and show me what has replaced these products, email me at firstname.lastname@example.orgWith this picture in my mind I came across a publication titled “Appropriate Food Packaging Solutions for Developing Countries” I thought that maybe I had found the solution.
click the image to visit the website
The book is an interesting study and gives information on the packaging market internationally and in Africa. It is really aimed at encouraging the development of a packaging industries in those countries of Africa which have not yet established local capacity.
The report identifies the potential of packaging linked to increasing food demand worldwide but a lack of export ready packaging systems and the small local market as discouraging investment in the packaging industry. In a “catch 22″ way this limits the potential to expand imports.
The report recommends that investment should be in the local production of packaging material rather than in equipment manufacture or packaging services.
I would be interested to get feedback from you who know the real situation and maybe have solutions that are closer to the actual packaging needs in the plant! You can email me using this link.