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Packaging in Small Food Businesses

This is a simple essay on packaging for small food businesses in West Africa that helps broaden ones picture of packaging which is often a real constraint on business.

Packaging, Africa, box, small business

West Africa Trade Hub Webpage

click the image to visit the website

The essay focusses on the potential of the cardboard box in areas where packaging suppliers are limited. It gives a few examples of real experiences and is enjoyable to read.

 

AppropriatePackaging Systems for Developing Countries

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 dave@digivu.co.zaWith 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.

Government Information For Food Processors

Often the Food Processor and Government are at loggerheads over laws and regulations. This is especially true for the small manufacturer where the call is always against the red tape that throttles the enterprise. I have no idea what this relationship is like in Alberta, Canada.

However the Alberta Government supplies useful information that is free to download, even by South Africans!

 

Business Basics for Alberta Food Processors - Packaging and Labeling.jpg

from: Governemnt of Alberta
(click image for full story online)

 

There seems to be an enormous amount of information. The example below is on packaging and focuses on two issues the processor needs to consider when choosing and designing packaging – safety aspects and consumer preferences.

The information is concise and sensible for inbstance:

Consumer Appeal

“It’s all in the package,” is a favorite expression of marketers. To sell your product, you must attract and inform the customer. Unless someone has the opportunity to taste your product, the only chance you have of convincing a consumer to purchase is through your packaging. Tour any supermarket and note what catches your eye, and why. This will convince you of the important role of package design.

Look at the Competition

Before you decide on your package and label do some market research. Start by visiting stores that carry products you are interested in. Look at competitors’ products. Look through the other aisles while you are there. You just might find some new ideas. Packaging changes constantly. What new innovations are there in tamper proof, recyclable and reusable packaging? Trade shows are great places to learn about package and label trends. You do not want to reinvent the wheel. You want to use existing containers, boxes, tins and bottles in new and exciting ways.