This last installment, of my effort at complying with a request (as stated earlier) for expressing my views on the above subject through this medium, highlights one’s position on what should be put in place as marketing strategy. It is intended to facilitate not only making “Nigerian bread” available, but also incite product acceptance – Spurring Nigerians towards saying “Yes” to it. As explained earlier, "Nigeria mkate", as tag, will be used interchangeably with “cassava bread”.
Aside the Nigerian public being the target market for the marketing strategy essential for “Nigerian bread”, the place of the Master Baker remains quite significant. The consumers of this product will only have access to it only if the bakers say so. Hence, apart from key areas stated in the previous presentation, for the promoters of the “cassava bread” to have their way, the Master Bakers have to be educated sufficiently to jettison whatever unfavourable notion that are alluded to cassava (e.g. smell). It must be emphasized to them that cassava-based products create values health-wise and increase productivity, as addition of cassava flour reduces their production costs.
With assistance through the provision of intervention funds, technical support and related training programmes, who says the Master Baker will not be all out for whatever it takes to flood the Nigerian market with output derived from the incorporation of cassava flour at 40% into wheat flour? This is more so now that the federal government has commenced discouragement of the importation of wheat flour through taxation (which will be graduated upwards as time goes on). This same support should also be made to come the ways of related Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), such as producers of confectioneries and caterers. I see a situation whereby that meat-pie, cake, doughnut, ‘samossa’, chin-chin, ndi zina, you gobble (and even ask for more) made by these providers of food products, are derived from the incorporation of cassava flour into wheat flour.
For the people to be favourably disposed towards “Nigerian bread”, these components of strategy must not be overlooked:
Both the middle and lower end markets should make up the target market for the “Nigerian bread”, even where I acknowledge the need for some form of product distinction to accommodate consumer behaviour of the middle market. Despite bread being upheld as a Nigerian staple food (some say it even unites the people due to mass consumption along socio-economic strata), that derived from incorporation of cassava flour into wheat flour must impact on essential segments of the market for desired product recognition.
“Nigerian bread” should come in the form a typical Nigerian is familiar with – Apart from being derived from merging of cassava flour into wheat flour, the usual sizes and shapes of bread must apply. It should come in ‘regular white or slightly brown bread’ outlook (with hard outer brownish layer and white soft inner part that ‘draws’) for the general type of loaf. The adaptation meant for the upper end market should depict higher quality and rich contents – Come whole or sliced; attractive packaging bearing inscription of weight per portion of ingredients, storage period and conditions, net weight, bakers’ name and address; and then for assurance, NAFDAC (National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control) registration number.
For obvious reasons, “Nigerian bread” is expected to have shelf prices more favourable to the consuming public, than what obtains for whole wheat bread presently. This stems from much lower unit cost of producing this bread on the part of bakers, which obviously impacts on costs to intermediaries (middlemen), and ultimately what the shelf (retail) price should be. Where this is not the case, the attractiveness of “Nigerian bread” will be lost, and expected patronage hampered.
For the concept of the “Nigerian bread” to be a success, emphasis should be placed on the “push strategy” to support the bakers nationwide (who in turn look up to the millers). Furthermore, due to the reason stated above producers of confectioneries and local caterers should not be overlooked.
A properly registered, easily identifiable, logo should be introduced as a distinct feature of bread containing components of cassava flour. This is for effective facilitation of product branding. Co-branding efforts involving promotion which entails collaboration with selected local manufacturers of complimentary products (e.g. margarine, cocoa beverages, and tea) will be quite helpful towards acceptance by Nigerians. The relevance of these must also be taken into cognizance – Techniques of public relations, sales activities enhancement, advertising, sales promotion, and experiential/activation input. As a script writer, I am visualizing a scene of a television commercial depicting an “Agoyin” beans seller in line with acceptance of “Nigerian bread”. It is no secret that those who comprise the mass market in this regard adhere to the notion that bread goes quite well with beans pottage and stews.
As one of those who hold firmly to the view that, “the best way to predict the future is to create it”, the future of “Nigerian bread” as an item with significant product acceptance in this clime seems quite bright. Adopting what I have enumerated in my submission in this series no doubt paves the way for what it takes for Nigerians to say “Yes” to it. The country stands to benefit a great deal if mass acceptance of the concept of the “Nigerian bread” is achieved.