Vital Players in the Food Industry
With new methods of food preservation, Vital Products aim to help lower the costs of consumer products in the open market
Writers Emily Jarvis
Project Manager Callum Philp
Vital Products became operational in 1999 and was nurtured by a vision that saw Nigeria as the future to strong economic growth in Africa. Being abundantly blessed with agricultural products and enormous human and material resources, the country needed an opportunity to showcase its strength and potentials in the area of food production as a major export base aside from its major economic resource, oil. As a result of the long-term focus, persistent belief and faith invested in the country and its potentials by the pioneering founders of the company and willing investors based in the UK, Vital Products Ltd was born.
Today, the company looks back with a sense of pride and accomplishment at their achievements, as the leading provider of consumer healthcare and food products in Nigeria. Boasting extensive business experience that spans over two decades, the company has gradually etched itself into the Nigerian foods and beverages market by maintaining quality control backed by some of the best technologies used throughout its operations.
From a consumer and healthcare products company distributing only pharmaceutical products, the company has recently forayed into the manufacture and distribution of high quality fruit juices and non alcoholic beverages.
In the community in which they are located, Vital Products continually strive to be a responsible corporate citizen. "In line with our corporate values of care, support and empathy in reaching out to communities served, the company is looking into initiatives aimed at promoting and supporting initiatives related to health, education and humanitarian services. We are thus positioning ourselves to lead the culture of service excellence in the industry tomorrow and into the future."
Vital Products limited was incorporated under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1999. The company commenced operations as a manufacturer and distributor of fruit drinks and non-alcoholic beverages, such as energy drinks, and stands as a company of repute in the food and beverage Industry. the company pioneered the processing and packaging of tomato paste in a 70 gram sachet and also introduced the concept of tomato paste which was developed indigenously.
"We have built up a reputation as one of the most innovative indigenous companies in Nigeria, specialising in the manufacture of natural, healthy drinks made from fresh fruits and promoting trade relationships that go beyond the shores of Nigeria."
The company gradually etched itself into the Nigerian food and beverage market by maintaining quality control and best practices. The company in fulfilment of its mission of pursuit of excellence was certified by standards Organisation of Nigeria (S.O.N), having fulfilled the requirements for the award of the prestigious ISO 9001:2000 quality management system certificate in 2006. Vital Products have invested substantially in the fruits and vegetable processing industry, allowing the company to develop a portfolio of products of this type. The company has, as a part of its plans for expansion, procured a multi-million naira machine solely for the production of processed tomatoes and other food seasonings such as ginger and garlic.
Diversifying into Food Processing
In recent times, Vital Products have diversified into food processing and preservation in line with a sustained focus on new product development. Within this, the company have invested in Individual Quick Freezing technology in fruits and vegetables processing and preservation. "This process ensures that food products pass through the temperature zone of -5 to -40 degrees Celsius very quickly; leaving very low and safe microbial counts which ensures that food is free of harmful bacteria and safe for consumption. This is important considering the effect of time, the hot climate and distance travelled on the transportation and preservation of food products across Africa and other continents." Vital's product range in this category includes pre-cut potato fries and unprocessed vegetables like peas, carrots and fresh vegetables. "We have the facility to process mangoes and pineapples to pulp and freeze. This will no doubt tap into the vast potentials to export processed fruits."
Vast Distribution Network
When it comes to supply chain, a vast distribution network is key for Vital Products' business. "We recognise the role distributors play in getting our products to the market no matter the distance. In recognition of the role of our channel partners in getting our products to the consumer, we offer attractive trade incentives to them and allow them to recruit trade promoters, canvassers and wholesalers on our behalf."
Furthermore, Vital Products are in a strategic relationship with groups of fruit growers and farmers in various regions across the country, subsidising the cost of their seedlings and buying directly from them at harvest, at a cost that justifies their investment on land and labour. "We do this to save them the costs associated with transportation, middlemen and storage to ensure that the fruits arrive at the production factory in their fresh state."
For Vital Products, improving basic crop subsidies for farmers and assisting them is the company's way of ploughing back into those communities that provide the raw materials. "In doing this, we invest in the lives of the people who contribute to making our dream a reality and in our own future as a company."
"Our greatest asset is our people"
Not only is an excellent distribution network key to successful business, Vital Products greatly value their staff and the values they bring to work in ensuring that high quality hygiene and consistency in delivering value to customers are maintained. "We source 95% of our talents in Nigeria while we also invest in foreign technical skill to train, develop and motivate our people. We provide continuous staff training in quality control, production processes and IT compliance for our staff. Workshops and seminars are organised regularly to acquaint our staff with the latest trends in food production and packaging processes as well as innovative trends in marketing and distribution."
Those who are a part of the Vital Products family share a collective vision about the company's position as the new agent of positive change in the food and beverage industry in Nigeria, which is paving the way towards achieving a truly home-grown economy. "We are committed to building a profitable, financially stable and expanding business in the food industry. Our business strategy is to target developing sectors of the market where a demand for innovation and excellence offers opportunities for profitable growth and where we can be a leading manufacturer."