Informal markets in Kenya offer consumers both affordable prices and convenience. Traditional specialists, such as Zuchini for example, can be found in high-end malls, thus catering for middle- to high-income householders.
Supermarkets in the country have managed to penetrate the consumer market for processed foods faster than that for fresh fruits and vegetables. This is because supermarkets sell processed food at cheaper prices than traditional retailers.
Young consumers in urban areas have busy schedules and so want to get their grocery shopping done as quickly and easily as possible. Supermarket operators are thus changing their store formats to offer goods which were previously only available in traditional retailers and at affordable prices, for example fresh fruits and vegetables.
The changing landscape in Kenya has led to the sprouting up of supermarkets and hypermarkets, which are offering the same goods as traditional retailers, and more. Furthermore, these outlets offer good quality products and branded items, sometimes at better prices than bulk purchases in traditional retailers.
International players, encouraged by Kenya’s growing shopping culture and the emergence of high-end shopping malls, are expected to continue to enter the country, which currently is mainly dominated by family-owned businesses such as Tuskys and Naivas. These international players are launching banners which will directly compete with traditional retailers such as Zuchini.
Traditional retailers have an advantage over supermarkets in that they usually have shorter queues, a wider variety of produce and a greater focus on consistent supply, and are located in shopping centres where supermarkets also have a presence. In addition, they stock a mix of fruits and vegetables sourced both locally and internationally, which appeals to aspirational middle-class consumers who are willing to try out new foods.
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