By Amechi Obiakpu
Famed Canadian-based philosopher, entrepreneur and author, Matshonda Dhliwayo said in one of his quotes, “When I see memories, I see the past. When I see thoughts, I see the present. When I see intentions, I see the future… The quote above evinced the intention of Checkers Africa Limited, makers of the Checkers Custard brand as it makes in road to becoming the best brand in Africa.
Already, the company which is barely five years old in the country has become the market leader in the custard sub-sector of Nigeria’s food industry. From day one, Checkers Africa Limited has never hidden its intention of becoming a force to reckon with not only in the food industry where it provides quality foods, snacks and in-between meal fillers of the highest quality but in the whole FMCG space where it operates.
While many custard and allied brands within the food industry were finding it difficult to cope with the constantly changing needs of the country’s consuming public, Checkers Africa Limited through its many research was constantly looking for ways to deal with the huge vacuum that was created by the unmet expectations. Small wonder it was able to match its quality brands with innovative ways of reaching Nigerian consumers who in turn rewarded the brand with the top place in the industry with several accolades from consumers and industry followers.
The Nigeria Food industry is one of the best-performing industries in the country despite the economic downturn and huge consumer spending and power over the years. The industry has grown so well and consumers are still making the switch from unbranded and unpackaged products to packaged products as they become aware.
With a population of over 200 million, Nigeria has high development potential and a rising need for custard. According to market research, the annual national demand for custard powder is estimated to be around 450,000 tones and rising, creating an excellent investment opportunity.
Custard is a fast-moving consumer good that is great for people in the country across all ages, irrespective of religion, ethnicity, gender and social strata as an affordable delicacy that provides carbohydrate for energy supply and dietary fibre.
True to it, even before tasting the custard brand, its attractive packaging that comes in plastic and refill packs across different sizes will give it away as a product of quality that is worth the taste.
Checkers Africa Head of Marketing/Brands Manager, Timothy Ogundele, attributes the company success to its proactive thinking and understanding of the industry.
About Checkers Custard
Checkers Africa Limited is a fast-moving consumer goods company known for quality food and products for households, with a vision to be present in 100% of African homes. The company has a robust management team blessed with people who have a massive knowledge of Nigeria and the Nigerian market. This has made it to have a very deep knowledge of the taste, lifestyle and customs of the nation, the continent and beyond.
Checkers Custard comes in four variants – the vanilla, banana, the custard 3-in-one which is fortified with vitamins A and B, high-quality sugar and high-quality milk and a recent addition, the chocolate 4-in-one custard brand.
As part of its brand portfolio, it also has the Checkers Oats, Checkers Garri and Checkers Crunchy Peanut a snack and in-between meal filler.
Checkers Vanilla Custard Powder is a rich, silky, smooth and delicious product with a very nice and unique taste made with corn starch. It is enriched with vitamin A and D that help in good vision and strong bones formation.
It’s enriched vitamins and minerals composition account for the growth and development formation in consumers. It’s silky, smooth and delicious texture makes it simply irresistible to toddlers, babies as well as adults.
It contains sugar, as well as a number of dietary needs. Checkers Vanilla Custard Powder is deliciously produced into a fast-cooking and savoury custard blend that provides instant relief from hunger.
Checkers Africa Limited
According to Ogundele, the brand has been able to connect with the audience by positioning it to cater not only for the children’s taste bud but for all demography.
He said all the products of the brand are produced under the most stringent and controlled processes to provide the best quality products that give instant relief to hunger and enrich one’s wellbeing.
“Custard before now, in the mind of the people was viewed as something for children. In fact, in Francophone countries what they call it is baby food. The truth is that, custard is a food that is welcome for every age. From six months to adult”.
On how the company was able to win the heart of the Nigerian consuming audience Ogundele said:
“From the beginning, marketing was not the first thing that the company focused on, but ensuring the product was right through product development, and ensuring that it is pushed properly to the market for the consumers”.
Checkers Africa Limited’s innovative push in the market in the past four years has paid off as the company currently holds the enviable position as the market leader in the pudding sector and constantly bulldozing its way to the top of the chain in the FMCG space.
To say the consumers of whom the brand is positioning itself for, are in doubt of its place in the industry may not be in tune with reality as the Checkers brand was rewarded with The Best Value for Money Brand in the Custard industry in 2022 via an online poll, at the maiden Consumers Value Award.
The uniqueness of the award according to the organisers, Consumers Value Broadcasting Ltd, the power to choose was placed on consumers via an online poll. They decided on who won at the various categories as they voted for their choice brand.
Indeed, at the custard category, around 68% of the voting consumers voted for Checkers Custard as their value-for-money brand, confirming to the brand handlers that they are getting it right with their brand strategy.
But, because the needs of consumers are constantly changing, coupled with a continuous fall in purchasing power in the face of stiff competition Checkers Africa Limited has continued to look for constant ways to stay in touch with the consumers, at least to guarantee continuous unalloyed customer loyalty.
For this, Timothy Ogundele says: “At Checkers Africa, we have a very good feedback mechanism from the market. From every possible channel- from word of mouth and all, we pool together a lot of data and ensure that our feedback is accurate to some of the decisions we have taken so far.”
“For us, it is not just that we want to push the brands we have been able to talk to the people that matter, the people that consume our products. Based on this, and other relevant factors we have to take critical decisions that affect our brands positively”, he said.
Checkers Africa Limited has its administrative office in Mushin and a factory in Ikorodu, Lagos, Nigeria, where it produces all its products. And, with a strong distribution network, it distributes the products to the various regions of the country including to as far as showing up presence in some West African countries like Ghana, Cameroon and Cote De-Ivoire among other countries.
Karan Checker, MD, Checkers Africa Ltd, believes that the achievement of the company has been made possible by the sheer determination of the staff of the company whose contributions have given the Checkers brand a place in the industry.
To this end, the company organizes a yearly football competition to create a bond among the staff among several CSR projects it is currently engaged in.
Speaking in one of the in-house competitions, Karan said, “My vision is simple. It is firstly an outlet to engage the staff in healthy competition, fostering even better bonds within the Checkers Africa.”