Tag Archives: Food Enterprises

Food Processor’s Reference Manual – Free Online Information

Here is a 288 page , high quality manual covering the steps required to set up a small food processing business.  


click image to visit website  

The table of the contents of the book says it all 

The only downside is that it is written for Canada so many of the contacts are not applicable to local circumstances. However, the quality and depth of the information and the fact that it’s free to download make its retention as a reference worthwhile. 

Purchasing patterns on unpredictable incomes

Some of the uniqueness of supplying consumers at the Bottom of the Pyramid is illustrated by this view of what drives product purchase by the very poor from the Perspective 2.0 Blog.

When income is irregular and unpredictable, both in amount and frequency, such as it is for the majority at the bottom of the pyramid, buying behavior is not quite the same as for mainstream consumers. At least four patterns emerge based on a combination of need and money available.

Paid for in advance – Usually a service which can be used or consumed over time can be purchased in advance when funds are available and then made to last as long as possible. The best known example of course is prepaid airtime.

Bought in bulk – Usually food staples or something you cannot live without would be purchased in this manner, either when there is a sudden influx of cash or a payment at the end of manual labour or if managing on a fixed amount each month such as remittances from abroad. This ensures that there is something to eat even if money runs out before the next payment might be due. If its a sudden influx of cash for someone not on a pension or remittance then these are the funds that often go towards a consumer durable purchase or big ticket item of some kind.

Sachets or single portions – A form of on demand purchase. Interestingly, I came across this working paper by Anand Kumar Jaiswal at IIM, saying that sales results in rural India seemed to imply that only shampoos and razor blades were more successful in sachet form, whereas things like milkpowder, jam etc sold more in the larger size. The author cautions against assuming all sachets will sell. I believe it could be based on the usage pattern of the product in question or its nature – what if you packaged a perishable item in single servings that didn’t need refrigeration until opened?

On demand or daily purchase – mostly perishables like bread, eggs, fresh vegetables purchased for the day’s needs. Partly cultural but also influenced by availability of cash in hand. Cigarettes sold loose or two slices of bread and an egg are some examples we’ve seen. Indian vegetable vendors are also willing to sell you a small portion of a larger vegetable either by weight or by price. You can buy 50p worth of cabbage for a single meal. Minimizes wastage whether you’re cooking for one or have no fridge. This is also the most common pattern if you earn small amounts daily, like the vegetable vendor, shelling out what you have for what you need and then if there’s some change, debating what do with it.

I feel there might be three issues counterbalancing each other in this namely cash in the pocket, the potential of future income and the perceived risk of a purchase. What products work, surely depends on the balance of the three factors above and is not a universal either across countries or consumer groups in a country.

The sachet or single portion sale definitely works for food, I have seen bulk broken pasta in plastic bags in Senegal.

What about

lower specification products– addressing the same consumer need? In South Africa the bottlers of coke launched a diluted cordial in a small well decorated plastic sachet and seem to have established at least some market as the product has been available for many years.

sharing of bulk packs – in South Africa’s townships it is well known for neighbours to by large packs together and share directly without splitting and repacking. A product and package design could bedeveloped to make this process easier/ more efficient.

Centre for the Promotion of Exports from Developing Countries (CBI)

The Centre for the Promotion of Exports from Developing Countries (CBI) is established by the EU to facilitate importers from Developing Countries.


While its focus is wide it does have specific focuses on Food Ingredients, Organic Foods, Fresh Fruit and Vegetables, Preserved Fruit and Vegetables etc. Within these sections there are detailed market reports, information on regulations and standards, databases of suppliers and services , links, information on CBI projects, news and reports.

The information is free to developing country and only requires a cost free, short registration.

One Approach to Development through Food Processing

Some years ago SAFPP (Strengthening African Food Processing) exhibited at Technology Fairs in Kolda in the South of Senegal and Tambacounda a well known stop on the Paris Dakar Rally.

Kolda tECHNOLOGY fAIR - 2000

In what I came to see as typical West African fashion many Projects bu few Entrepreneurs were represented. As well as presenting their project they sold their products which I came to understand was the main reason for their attendence. The photos give an idea of the type of groups exhibiting (one women’s group had a male Chairperson!).

Kolda Technology Fair Exhibitor

Kolda Technology Fair Exhibitor

Oragnaisations selling at the Fair

notice that all of these are groups and not entrepreneurs!

Products at the Kolda Technology Fair


and the products are “artisinal” and have little chance of appealing more than commercial FMCG products sold at the fast mushrooming supermarkets in Africa.

So what level of development can we expect from such an approach?