Beloxxi’s cream crackers have become a fixture in shops and stores across Nigeria. You find them on the tables of street-side kiosks, and on the shelves of large shopping malls. They’re ubiquitous. And they’re proudly Nigerian too.
These crackers are part of a fast-growing industry that’s currently worth well over ₦100 billion. This rapid expansion is being fueled by a population which loves to munch its biscuits on the go. Thanks to the country’s ever-increasing appetite for crunchy flour-based treats, we’ve now got a biscuit industry that’s worth well over ₦100 billion.
Beloxxi’s not too insignificant share of this market (about 4%, according to KPMG) is contributing to this ongoing growth. If we were to consider the fact that it’s only been making cream crackers locally for thirteen years, we’d be right to be giving this brand a thumbs up for pulling off such a feat in this space of time.
Perhaps the story of its founding and its journey thus far might cause you to chew on its biscuits with a sense of appreciation for what it’s achieved. The company’s founder and CEO, Obi Ezeude, would certainly appreciate this. He’s usually eager to point out that he and his team had to dare pessimists’ predictions about manufacturing in Nigeria to pull off what is now a showpiece of the Nigerian entrepreneurial spirit.
That leap into the unknown was taken in 2005, two years after the Federal Government banned prime biscuit imports. At that time, Beloxxi was a trading company. Since its founding in 1994, it had been distributing biscuits brought in from Malaysia and Scotland. The ban forced it to reevaluate its business model. Ezeude decided to drive against the whirlwind of critical opinions about producing in Nigeria. Beloxxi metamorphosed into a biscuit manufacturing firm.
This company has come a long way from its relatively humble beginnings as a single line manufacturing facility in Agidingbi, Lagos. Today, their manufacturing happens in a modern industrial complex further to the north, in Agbara, Ogun State. That factory has in fact been expanded; it now has the capacity to produce 40,000 metric tonnes of cream crackers per annum- that’s several million cartons of biscuits.
Beloxxi’s forward thrust has been funded in part by local and external investors. Their willingness to buy stakes in this biscuit manufacturer was seen as a sign that the industry had big potential for growth. Big name investors from Europe wouldn’t be securing a share of a business in a recession-hit economy (as was the case at the time) if they hadn’t seen real opportunities for good returns in it.
On the streets, Beloxxi’s crackers are generally well regarded. This is quite something, given the fact that it’s slim small pack competes in a tough, low price niche. The fact that it continues to be the favourite of a huge number of people says a lot about its quality. At the very least, it suggests that the brand has connected with local consumers fairly well.
At the time of this article’s publication, Beloxxi is in the process of ramping up its production capacity even further. Its third stage of expansion is said to include a new packaging factory, which should help lower the costs it incurs from outsourcing this part of its operations. They are also seeking to push output to 100,000 metric tonnes by 2020. That’s more cream crackers for Nigerian mouths to munch.
Featured Image Source: Ventures Africa
Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.