Key factors to consider for a seamless food product launch

Unga Group Chairman Isabella Ochola-Wilson (left), with Principal Secretary for State Department for Crop Development Kello Harsama (centre), and Unga Group Managing Director Joseph Choge, during the August 2023 re-launched of the Amana range of products.

Photo credit: Unga Group

By Joseph Choge 

We live in a dynamic world where interests and preferences are constantly evolving. These interests may shift according to lifestyle changes, generational shifts, technological advances, and the ever-changing customer needs.

In this ultra-competitive market, organisations should be alert to and feel the pulse of their customers, and adjust accordingly based on the trends shaping their interests.

As organisations look to launch products, they should also consider the socio-economic environment in which they operate. 

Seasons of difficulty may require companies to adjust the cost of their products, introduce varieties that cater for different cadres of consumers, increase the availability of their products, and so on.

Taking such factors into consideration, there are several insights we can look into that will enable organisations to successfully launch new products, especially in the food and nutrition market.

Offer variety

First, ensure diversity in the range of products you are unveiling to your consumers. Giving your customers a variety of products they can choose from is critical for long-term success. Diversity expands your target consumer base and broadens your product’s appeal.

A diversity of products gives customers a holistic experience and cuts across their needs. However, having a wide range of products should not compromise quality and standards.

Consider health and nutrition

Second, food products should adhere to a high standard of health and nutrition. Before one can launch a food product, there must be adequate research on lifestyle trends and preferences regarding what people prefer consuming.

Contrary to the past, we now have many hubs of information on health and nutrition, and as a result, consumers are highly conscious of what they are eating. The motivations for choosing this lifestyle range from weight loss and health-related complications to fitness and general well-being.  

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Economic Survey 2022 indicates that under the key Food Balance Sheet Indicators, cereals accounted for 49.8 percent of the total caloric supply from the main food groups, mainly from maize, wheat, rice, sorghum, and their respective products.

Pulses continue to grow. The same data indicates that they accounted for 9.8 percent of the total caloric supply. That is why, as Unga Group, we re-launched the Amana Brand of products, which consists of rice and pulses, having studied Kenyans’ culinary habits and dietary trends that leaned towards healthy eating.  

Work with all stakeholders

Third, before you launch, consider working with all stakeholders in the market. From regulators to associations, your product will have to get the approval and goodwill of players in the industry. This will ensure that your product is regulated and certified by the necessary authorities. This will build trust in consumers that your product is authentic.

The involvement of stakeholders gives your product credibility in the market. In the food industry, engagement with farmers and their relevant associations enhances the credibility and marketability of your products. This enables the products to penetrate new markets and retain loyalty within your customer base.

Do extensive research

Finally, before a launch, do extensive research. What is your demography? What are the current market trends? How best can you launch your product? How will you gain visibility? Doing well-rounded research on consumer needs will prevent backlash from the market. Food is very sensitive, and the outcome after a launch can make or break your organisation’s fortunes.

Have a quality assurance team to evaluate your product before it goes out to the market. Know which demographics will likely consume your products based on age, locality, access, and affordability. Understand which trendsetters will likely make for an impactful launch that will appeal to your consumers.

Having a successful product launch may just earn you recognition and your product more visibility. Have a reading on the cultural trends that are being adopted at a particular time to meet customer needs.

A product launch requires a lot of teamwork, awareness, and dynamism. A food product requires a higher ceiling of accountability because of its sensitivity and impact on people’s lives. Therefore, it is vital to have a purpose as to why you are launching or re-launching a product. At Unga Group, we aspire to maintain quality, nutrition, and diversity in our current and new products.


Mr Choge is the Group Managing Director, Unga Group Holdings