NSFI has been increasing its activity in Algeria over the last ten years, but it has previously distributed its portfolio of ingredients directly. Until now it has had no storage capacity in the North African country but material has been imported to meet orders.
Now the company has appointed Alsoche Reda Foods as its distributor in Algeria, NSFI is aiming to reach more small and medium companies. Ludovic Raynaud, sales manager at NSFI for Africa, Middle East and Turkey, told FoodNavigator.com that having a local distributor and stocks of all ingredients in the country can improve levels of customer service in terms of product availability.
NSFI has also invested in a comprehensive supply network for Algerian customers, with a sales manager based in Algiers and customer service and technical representatives who speak both French and Arabic.
Small – but growing fast
“The level of sophistication in the Algerian food industry has increased dramatically over the years,” Reynaud said. “Consumers are increasingly demanding about the quality of food, and in what they expect to get from retailers. There is an increasing need for food manufacturers to innovate.”
Raynaud added that there are an increasing number of small and medium countries which probably would not be on the radar screens of most large food ingredient companies. These companies may be emerging now, but they are expected to grow into larger players.
For now, however, the complexity of the importation process and the need to import large quantise in one go means it is hard for them to access ingredients they need, in quantities that are appropriate.
“It is difficult unless you are already buying a certain level of product. A small entrepreneurial manufacturer probably wouldn’t want to tie in all their cash flow to a big amount.”
In addition, it is hard to predict future demand in an emerging country like Algeria, which makes it hard to be reactive if a newly-launched product turns out to be a roaring success.
In terms of the value of the Algerian market and its potential, Raynaud is keeping data NSFI has gathered under wraps.
“Algeria is not a country where you can find information on the packaged food market, as the retail structure is not as developed as in Europe.”