- Raj Malde is the Founder and Managing Director
- Malbros Group trades as Mjengo Limited which was initially a Wholesale and Distribution Company before it morphed to become East Africa’s Leading FMCG Company
NuVita is the number one biscuit brand in the Kenyan market. It can literally be found anywhere from street hawkers, to shops and supermarkets. The allure of NuVita Biscuits is not just in its affordability and availability but also in its rich taste. Raj Malde is the man behind NuVita and the equally popular Daawat Rice, and Daawat Spaghetti and Pasta.
Here is his story from Mjengo hustle to owning NuVita Biscuits and Dawaat range of products as told by WoK.
Mjengo Limited began as a small hardware shop and went on to become among the country’s leading distributors.
The company distributed both local and international products across the country. While Malde business was on an upward trajectory he felt there was something missing. T
his and the fact that distributors were at the mercy of the manufacturer was enough to make him think of his future in that business. The profit margins were also not as rewarding.
“Distribution has its own challenges and you are always at the mercy of manufacturers. You can put a lot of effort into growing their business, but have very little to show for yourself. You would have very low margins,” he told howwemadeitafrica.com
In 2007, he went on a life changing trip abroad. He found a company that was manufacturing biscuits for export to Africa. This begged the question, “Did African countries need to import biscuits?”
This planted a seed in him and he embarked on the journey to start manufacturing his own biscuits. He had earlier established his own Malbros Daawat rice brand hence this seemed like a good idea.
With no prior experience in biscuit manufacturing, he had to learn from the basics.
“It wasn’t easy because when you want to manufacture quality, it is always an issue. We had no background in biscuits but decided to innovate, work with a strong team, do trials and invest in market surveys and marketing,” he said in an interview with How We Made it in Africa.
First, they conducted research and realized while there were a number of biscuit brands in the country, quality was a major drawback.
He decided to focus on three things: product, competitive pricing and packaging. Their aim was to come up with a product like no other in the market. They poured their hearts into this project.
While this seemed like a difficult task, it wasn’t the first time he took on a challenge. After all, setting up his own rice brand had been an equally challenging task. Most of the rice in Kenya is imported and Mjengo Limited imports from Pakistan then re-brands the rice.
Growth of NuVita
Today, Nuvita has grown into a household brand. It is stocked in all major supermarkets and nearly all shops and wholesalers across the country.
It has created more than 500 jobs and today comes with a variety of flavors. They have both the affordable type and the pricey products that can be found in big retailers. They also make wafers, snacks called Tings corn puffs and vanilla, chocolate and strawberry coated cakes.
Daawat has also grown as a brand and is one of the best sellers of rice, spaghetti and pasta in Kenya.
The mogul says local entrepreneurs are just as good as international ones if not better. They understand their market much better and can give multinationals a run for their money.
“Our success lies in the fact that we never looked at the profits of the business. We have been more focused on developing the products and becoming a people’s organization rather than a profit focused [one],” he said.