Animal Products / Article / Southern Africa / Value Chains

Zambeef: Indigenous Zambian company ‘makes good’ serving middle, as well as lower-income, groups

Zambia's future?

Cows wait to be milked at one of Zambia’s largest agribusinesses—Zambeef (photo credit: BBC World Service).

A butchery run by Zambeef in Lusaka, Zambia, is ‘a fast-growing food company based in Lusaka. It operates meat counters at all 20 Shoprite stores across Zambia as well as in the chain’s newer outlets in Ghana and Nigeria. Zambeef’s eggs, milk and yogurt drinks are stocked by Shoprite and other local supermarkets. Zambeef has around 100 shops of its own, making it one of the biggest chains in the continent outside South Africa. It is thus well placed to serve a burgeoning class of consumer between the well-heeled shoppers of Manda Hill and the majority that just scrape by.

Beyond South Africa there are few big indigenous firms that serve the continent’s middle class, which the African Development Bank reckons has swollen to more than 325m. Yet as their numbers keep increasing, demand for meat and other luxury foods will surely grow, because Africa has much scope to catch up with the rest of the world (see chart). Nigeria has Dangote Flour and UAC Foods. But most of the country’s big consumer firms are rich-world offshoots.

‘Zambeef is also unusual in that it reaches down to lower-income groups. Its outlet in Mtendere, a short drive from Manda Hill, sells fattier meat in smaller portions as well as beef liver and chicken’s feet. The store’s tiled floor and hair-netted staff stand out in Mtendere’s ragged street market. It turns over a tidy $30,000 a week. . . .

‘The firm’s farm-to-fork model is at odds with the investment-analyst dogma that says companies should stick to a core business and hive off other tasks to specialists. But Zambia’s economy is not so developed that there are firms which could be relied on to supply all that is needed to keep Zambeef’s stores fully stocked. The company has its own fleet of 78 refrigerated lorries. “There are no cold-chain logistics in Zambia,” says Mr Grogan, “We had to develop it ourselves.” . . . .’

Read the whole article in the Economist: Zambeef: A rare meat success in Africa, 8 Jun 2013.

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