In line with Sustainable Development Goal Two aimed at achieving food security and improved nutrition, 2SCALE through its inclusive agribusiness partnerships supports the development of nutritious products for Base-of-the-Pyramid (BoP) markets. To enhance market penetration in this unique consumer segment, 2SCALE also supports product distribution and marketing. In Ethiopia, the poultry partnership between Chico Meat Ethiopia (CME) and 2SCALE aims to establish an inclusive poultry processing sector for low-income consumers. One of the products that is gradually penetrating to BoP markets is chicken kebab- a product that was developed by CME and 2SCALE in 2021.
Read related blog:
Over time demand for this product has grown beyond Bishfotu town where CME introduced it as a fast food to be grilled and sold on roadsides. The chicken kebab product has gained acceptance and popularity and the roadside vendor model has reached more consumers in the target market.
Replicating the roadside vendor model to other regions
This model has recorded a gradual growth in sales from an average of 150 to 285 pieces of kebab sold each day since the start of this business. To further reach more consumers in other regions, CME decided to replicate the vendor model in Hawassa town in Southern Ethiopia. It has a product store in Hawassa town that serves its institutional clients which are mainly hotels. Hawassa was thus identified as a potential market to replicate the chicken kebab roadside vendor model, so as to leverage existing systems such as cold chain logistic supply, cold product storage, and existing staff,
Mr. Jaco, the General Manager of CME explains,
‘Initially, we had conceptualized expanding our operations to Addis Ababa, considering the presence of large numbers of potential BoP consumers living in the capital. However, we revised the plan once we realized the advantage of leveraging our existing resources in Hawassa. So far, we are happy with the initiation and business progress in Hawassa.’
A market scan was conducted to identify partners and relevant actors to support the roll-out of the business model in Hawassa. Following detailed discussions and considerations, ‘Fiker Hayke Boat & Recreational Multipurpose Cooperative’ was included as the lead partner to implement the planned CME chicken kebab business in Hawassa town.
Why Fiker Hayke Cooperative?
Fike Hayke cooperative operates around Lake Hawassa. They have about 24 members and mainly provide boat riding and cafeteria services to customers visiting the lake. Majority of the people who come to the lake are local residents and university students who visit the lake to unwind, engage in boat riding, and eat fish. The location was thus identified as an ideal place to get high visibility, especially in the afternoons and during weekends.
Moreover, residents already have the habit of eating grilled fish sold along the lake, and the introduction of grilled chicken kebab would become an additional variety of food for consumers to eat along the lake.
Mr. Behailu Solomon, the board chairperson of Fiker Hayke Cooperative had this to say about the introduction of the new product:
We are happy and proud that we are collaborating with CME to initiate the chicken kebab roadside business. Hawassa is well known for its fresh fish directly from Lake Hawassa. Like my cooperative (Fiker Hayke), many people organize themselves and do different businesses alongside the lake such as providing boat ride services, fishing, vending of fish etc. Thus, by introducing CME chicken products to complement the fish business, we expect to attract more customers and grow our business. Moreover, we are happy that we are not just collaborating for business purposes, but to contribute to improving community awareness on meeting their nutrition needs through consumption of affordable products.
Supporting market activation in Hawassa town
In November 2022, CME, in collaboration with Fiker Hayke Cooperative launched and started marketing its chicken kebab in Hawassa town. A two-day market activation was also facilitated in the town. 2SCALE BoP Marketing Specialist in Ethiopia, Ms. Dehab Mehari recommended using a marketing campaign tool dubbed ATEAR (attention, trust, experience, action, retention). She explains more about the model:
The first thing we need is to grab the attention of target customers. This process enables us to create awareness regarding our offerings. Accordingly, in Hawassa, we planned the activation event during a weekend to ensure high visibility and reach. Flyers and messages were disseminated by local promoters roaming in the town and inviting people to attend the activation event. Building trust is a unique value that can create a highly competitive advantage while targeting low-income markets. Strategically identifying partners to work with is an important phase in market penetration. Thus, the process we went through with CME while identifying a strategic partner in Hawassa well supports the attempt of building trust among the local community. Fiker Hayke cooperative is well known in the local community, and this facilitates building trust among our target market easily. Besides, local authorities were also invited to participate in the event and share their commitment to support such an initiative that can benefit local communities. After creating awareness, the next critical step is to encourage customers to try our offers. We do this by creating an experience and promoting action. Low-income customers may not have the luxury of spending money without having enough confidence. Thus, it is critical to create opportunities for them to try it for free or with discounted promotional prices. That is what we did in the Hawassa market activation event. Moreover, in order to encourage real demand, we decided to set promotional prices than serve it freely. Thus, while the local event promoters roam in the town, they also dispersed discount coupons to interested consumers. This helped to gauge the interest level of consumers and to create real demand, thereby fostering the experience and action process of consumers.
Melat Getachew, a 16-year-old girl who participated in the market activation, expressed her joy once she tasted the chicken kebab. She said:
My parents usually bring the family to the Fiker Hayke cooperative recreation site on weekends to eat fish. This market activation is interesting as it gives good information and the opportunity for product tasting at discounted prices. That is why I got encouraged and ate the chicken kebab. It is my first time eating such chicken meat, and I liked it a lot. My brother and I even enjoyed eating a second round of the chicken kebab, and our parents definitely appreciated the discounted promotional prices!