Cheese remained something of a niche product in Kenya in 2019, largely due to being perceived as expensive by many local consumers. Hence, it mainly appeals to middle- and upper-income households.
Unprocessed cheese continued to dominate the category in 2019, accounting for more than an 80% share of overall cheese value sales. Within unprocessed cheese, unpackaged hard cheese was the best performer, with this set to continue over the forecast period.
Brand manufacturers are increasingly recognising the importance of engaging with consumers on social media platforms. They are seeking to differentiate themselves through the use of creative and innovative themes which appeal to their target audience.
Founded in 1979 in Limuru, Brown’s Cheese continued to lead the category in 2019, accounting for a quarter of overall value sales. The company, whose share remained stable over the review period, benefits from offering a wide range of cheeses made using traditional methods and ingredients.
Currently, cheese mainly appeals to middle- and upper-income householders in Kenya. However, manufacturers are trying to attract consumers in all income brackets by offering their cheeses in a range of different sizes and formats.
Modern grocery retailers remained the dominant distribution channel for cheese in Kenya in 2019, accounting for all of the category’s value sales. Within the channel, supermarkets continued to account for the vast majority of sales.
Although drinking milk products continued to record solid growth in both retail volume and current value terms in 2019, two factors served to hamper the category’s even stronger growth. The first was the fact that unpackaged milk in Kenya is widely available in residential areas and is preferred by many consumers due to its more affordable price.
Consumers in Kenya are increasingly switching to shelf stable milk from fresh milk due to the higher price of the latter and the rising cost of living. In order to compete with shelf stable milk, manufacturers of fresh milk, such as Brookside Dairy for its Tuzo brand, have been running promotions such as “buy-five-get-one-free”.
Drinking milk manufacturers in Kenya have adopted various strategies to drive sales. One of these has been a greater focus on packaging.
Drinking milk products in Kenya continued be led by the state-owned company New Kenya Co-operative Creameries in 2019, which maintained a clear lead over second-ranked RH Devani. The company’s position can be largely attributed to a wide range of products under its KCC milk brand as well as Safari Land powder milk.
Domestic companies continued to lead drinking milk products in 2019, largely thanks to their ongoing investment in improving their already large production facilities, as well as their strong distribution networks and wide range of products. Furthermore, local companies are able to supply drinking milk products at very affordable prices, while also maintaining international quality standards.
Third-ranked Githunguri Dairy continued to gain share in milk in 2019 at the expense of the leading player Brookside Dairy and second-ranked New Kenya Co-operative Creameries. This can be attributed to the ongoing popularity of the company’s Fresha Milk brand, which nearly doubled its retail value share in the milk category over the course of the review period, with the brand being particularly strong in the capital city Nairobi.
Yoghurt and sour milk products continued to record both steady retail volume and current value growth in 2019. The category is benefiting from a number of factors, particularly a widening product selection.
In Kenya, brand manufacturers tend to advertise their products from 16.00hrs, when children come home from school and turn on the television to watch entertainment programmes, but also from 19.
Sour milk, or fermented milk, is common in most communities in Kenya as a staple food, particularly in rural areas. In addition, sour milk, which is also known as mala, is offered during various cultural events, such as weddings, dowry payments and traditional rites of passage, especially among the Kalenjin and Maasai communities.
Brookside Dairy remained the clear leader in yoghurt and sour milk products in 2019, ranking first in the former and second in the latter. The company’s position can be attributed to its offer of a range of brands, for example Lala, Tuzo Maziwa Lala and Ilara in sour milk products and Ilara, Brookside and Tuzo in yoghurt.
Local manufacturers continued to dominate yoghurt and sour milk products in Kenya in 2019. This is because they are able to supply fresh products at very affordable prices thanks to their huge production plants across the country.
Githunguri Dairy, which offers the Fresha Yoghurt brand, continued to try and boost its sales in 2019 through maintaining a strong presence at events such as the Nairobi Agricultural Show. The milk processor, which is made up of about 20,000 small-scale farmers from the Kiambu County area, views such events as an opportunity to educate families about its activities and build awareness of its brands and products.
Other dairy sales remained very low in Kenya in 2019 due to a lack of any tradition for such products. Cream was the only category with any measurable presence.
Other dairy, including cream, generally remained aspirational products in Kenya in 2019, with most having a negligible presence. This can be largely attributed to their high unit prices, among other factors.
Local manufacturers which produce these products are trying to raise awareness of them through running in-store promotions, particularly multipack offers, in order to attract the interest of first-time buyers. In addition, Kenyan consumers are less likely to buy these products at full price, tending to purchase them only if they are bundled with something else they would usually buy, such as drinking milk products with a small sample pack of cream.
Other dairy in 2019 continued to be led by the family-owned company Portcross, which was founded in 1997 with the aim of offering consumers in Kenya and the East African region a wider variety of high quality goods which had previously been unavailable. As well as being a distributor, the company also actively markets and promotes its brands.
The biggest gain in share in other dairy in 2019 was recorded by relative newcomer Kentaste Products for the second consecutive year. Only having been introduced in 2017, the company’s Kentaste Coconut Cream has quickly gained share thanks to being positioned as offering health benefits such as relieving the symptoms of stomach ulcers and acid reflux.
Brookside Dairy, the leading player in milk and yoghurt, ranked second in other dairy in 2019, having slightly increased its value share over the course of the review period. The company offers both double cream and whipping cream under its namesake brand, positioning these as ideal for use at breakfast time on pancakes and waffles but particularly as suitable for frosting on baked goods.
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Discover the latest market trends and uncover sources of future market growth for the Dairy industry in Kenya with research from Euromonitor's team of in-country analysts.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Packaged Food market research database.