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Ingwebu flows into the market

by Staff reporter
08 Mar 2020 at 08:23hrs | Views
BULAWAYO Municipal Commercial Undertaking (BMCU)'s beverages manufacturing unit, Ingwebu Breweries has expressed satisfaction on the performance of its two re-launched non-alcoholic and alcoholic products as it grapples to grab a substantial niche market locally.

Ingwebu Breweries sales and distribution manager Mr Ray Makwaiba said the company's non-alcoholic drink, Royal Mahewu and alcoholic sorghum brew, the 1,5 litre "Baby" Calabash, which were re-launched last year are performing well on the market.

He said this in an interview with Sunday News Business on the sidelines of a scholarship award ceremony at Amhlophe High School in Bulawayo's Pumula East suburb last Friday where Ingwebu unveiled sponsorship to cater for all academic needs to four most excelling pupils at the learning institution.

"Our Royal Mahewu product is being welcomed properly, the shelve off take is showing (that) in terms of numbers. Our Baby Calabash is also being accepted, we re-launched it also last year and it is covering the gap as you are aware that disposable income is shrinking (among the majority). So, people will definitely pick a product which is cheaper with regards to their wallet or pocket. So, our Baby Calabash is there to cater for those price entry points. We want to create a lot of SKU (Stock Keeping Units) that will conform or communicate with consumers in terms of their buying power," said Mr Makwaiba.

He said the company has embarked on an extensive marketing drive to market all its products, particularly its Royal Mahewu, with plans of opening a distribution point in Harare to cater for the northern region already underway.

"There is a lot of work that we have to do in terms of marketing our Royal Mahewu and getting it to other parts of the country. We definitely want to get it around Zimbabwe . . . ," said Mr Makwaiba.

As one of its marketing strategies Ingwebu is going around schools mostly in Bulawayo promoting its Royal Mahewu.

"We would want to have our Royal Mahewu being available at all vending places, superettes and general traders but in terms of being accepted, the product has definitely been accepted. What we are currently doing is going to schools, 'catching' the children young. We want the children to grow the brand and own the brand. So, in terms of growth and potential the future is bright," said Mr Makwaiba.

The company started producing mahewu in February 2015 after investing more than US$500 000 as a way of raising fresh income after its main source — the sorghum beer — took a battering from poor marketing, distribution and competition from other brands.

However, in 2017 the plant started experiencing a myriad of faults resulting in the company abruptly stopping the production of mahewu. The firm also markets its two-litre sorghum brew through its Calabash brand packaged in a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) container.

The company's human resources manager, Mr Dumisani Moyo, said the entity's performance was fair considering the myriad of economic challenges being faced in the country.

"Under these circumstances we are happy with the performance of the company and we definitely could do better but times are hard. However, we continue to remain afloat and we believe that with the economy improving as it is likely to, we will see the sun shining brighter for Ingwebu," he said.

Mr Moyo said the scholarships it awarded to the four Amhlophe pupils was part of the company's way of ploughing back to the communities from which it operates and plans are underway to cover all the areas where it markets its products.

"A good number of (local authority) schools in this city were built by proceeds from Ingwebu and we are continuing with that culture of ploughing back to the community that is supporting us, and this is just the beginning of the rebounding Ingwebu. So, we are certainly going to be moving into other needy areas, assisting them as they support us and definitely, they need our support," he said.

Last year the company also donated $5 000 to an Amhlophe High School pupil, Pascar Sibanda who was awarded a Presidential Scholarship to study at Saint Petersburg State University of Telecommunications in Russia.

Source - sundaynews