By Christine Muchira
Vivek Investments Ltd Wednesday announced the launch of a new, Kenyan manufactured range of premium home cleaning products, under the Ezee brand, in a challenge to the market dominance of international brands in the Kenyan market.
According to a 2016 Euro-monitor International report, international brands continue to lead Kenya’s home care products market, with most of the products imported, despite the country’s heavy trade imbalance, which has put pressure on the country’s currency, inflation, interest rates, and unemployment.
“Importing goods is a simple case of exporting jobs, making the rise of manufacturing in Kenya central to our future as a middle income nation, and to tackling our now severe unemployment,” said Mr Chintan Thacker, Vivek Group Managing Director.
Vivek, which has been named by KPMG as one of Kenya’s Top 100 small and mid sized companies in both of the last two years based on its pace of manufacturing growth, has already built a strong base in contract manufacturing, and in areas such as pharmaceutical products. But the launch of its own Ezee brand marks a new bid by the company to assert the position of homegrown Kenyan brands in local growth markets.
The Ezee brand spans a full range of cleaning products of a higher quality than most of the existing competitor products, and spanning dish washing liquid and paste, toilet cleaner, scouring powder, bleach and all purpose washing liquid.
The range has been launched at a lower price than its competitors, but is offering more concentrated products, meaning they will clean more and last longer.
It is also dominated by liquid cleaning products, which are rapidly gaining ground in the local market.
“Liquid detergents are more versatile and multipurpose, in that they can be used for all sorts of tasks, across washing dishes, clothes, floors, windows, cars, and almost all other uses,” said Mr Thacker.
Ten supermarket chains have already signed up to stock the new, locally manufactured Ezee products.
The lower price point is expected to be a welcome relief to consumers, with the 2014 Kenya National Bureau of Statistics showing rising producer prices for chemical products as a result of increased prices for soap and detergents, cleaning and polishing preparations.
“We’ll be targeting distributors, wholesalers and retailers for the Ezee brand, as well as supermarkets,” said Mr Chintan. The manufacturer will also be offering consumers complimentary gifts with some of the Ezee products, which have all been pretested and proven to be the best for the market.
All of the product range is being manufactured in Nairobi from the Vivek’s award winning manufacturing operation on Mombasa Road. “Our manufacturing plant employs world class quality control systems that won us the Company of The Year Award in 2015 for productivity and quality by the Kenya Institute of Management,” said Mr Chintan.
As part of these quality control processes, Vivek retains one of every batch of product it manufactures, which is kept until after it’s expiry date, so that the manufacturer can continue to be sure of its continuing quality.
“Launching Ezee is the realization of years of preparation and development within Vivek, creating new local jobs, and fulfilling the next step in our vision of expanding and promoting manufacturing in Kenya as our nation’s next level of development,” said Mr Chintan.