East Africa Volume 6

MARKET Lato Milk is the product of Pearl Dairy Farms Limited, a Ugandan manufacturer. Lato is one of the youngest, if not the youngest, brands in East Africa. The company has its state-of-the- art manufacturing facility in the southwestern region of Mbarara in Uganda and employs over 1,200 motivated employees. Although the brand has been active for less than 10 years in the East African region, in this short span the brand became synonymous with quality and has become a household name in the markets where it operates. Lato began its operations in Uganda and now is available in countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, Burundi, South Sudan, Egypt and Japan. The brand enjoys market leadership in several countries with many of its product offerings. Lato leads the market in the UHT segment in its 90day ESL (Extended Shelf Life) product in Kenya; which is a milk consuming nation. Within just 3 years of launching the brand’s products have been successful in establishing a dominant presence across the region. Lato products range from UHT milk, flavoured milk, full cream / fat filled instant milk powder, whole/skimmed milk powder, ghee, butter and butter oil. All these products are offered in several pack sizes to satisfy each individual’s needs. The success of the brand came with understanding and adapting to each market and catering to it. The availability of milk powder sachets in several sizes starting from 4.5g to 50g is a perfect example of this. With quality being the primary goal of the company, the various products that target multiple SEC’s enjoy the same wholesome taste and goodness of Lato. Lato products command a significant market share in its primary market, Kenya. The brand endeavors to engage with more customers and is bringing in more value-added products to do so. Lato is on its way to become the largest dairy manufacturing firm in East Africa and aims to achieve this in the next 5 years. ACHIEVEMENTS Lato and Pearl Dairy have been receiving multiple awards, recognitions and accolades throughout the years. Within 3 years of inception, the first Platinum Award was presented by the Dairy Development Authority (DDA) of Uganda in 2014. This was presented to Pearl again in 2016 and 2017. The plant also received its first ISO accreditation (ISO 22000:2005, ISO 9001:2008) in the year 2014. In 2016, Lato Milk was presented the “Best New Company Of The Year” in Tanzania at the Tanzania Business Excellence Awards. The award was conferred upon Lato within one year of establishing operations in Tanzania. The brand got its highest recognition in 2017 and 2018 when it was adjudged the People’s Choice Awards in Uganda. This award is more meaningful as it was voted for by the consumers. Being the largest dairy processor in Uganda, Lato has won the Visionaries of Uganda award (2016 and 2017), Innovation Award (2017) and the Gold Award by the Export Promotion Board of Uganda (2016 and 2018). HISTORY Pearl Dairy began its operations with its first powder plant being commissioned in 2011. Initially, only whole milk powder and skimmed milk powder were being manufactured under the brand name of Lato. Within few years, the company sensed a shift in the market demand and started diversifying towards retail products in the B2C sector. In 2013, Lato began its production and sale of the instant milk powder products and by 2016, had several product lines under its name. Lato was sold primarily in Uganda and Kenya in the early years and with the introduction of the B2C packs the brand gained momentum in its primary markets. By 2015, Lato was available in Tanzania and Rwanda; and was also exporting its products to select customers in other countries. There was no looking back after the launch of the Lato milk powder and UHT milk products, the market welcomed Lato with open arms into their households. Lato prides itself on producing high quality top of the line products and strives to maintain this quality day in and day out within their factories. The manufacturing plant was awarded the ISO 22000:2005, ISO 9001:2008 in 2014 which was upgraded to ISO 22000:2018, ISO 9001:2015. The plant also has HACCP, NEMA, Halal Board and UNBS certifications and has been maintaining the quality of the plant and the products to the best possible level year on year. PRODUCT Lato’s success has been mainly due to the high quality products that bear its name. The brand has been slowly moving towards focused products that are higher in the value chain. With the consumer’s needs and preferences driving innovation, the brand has been successful; in several geographies addressed the local demand with specialised packaging sizes carrying the same standard high quality products. Powdered milk: In 2013, the brand began initially with only whole milk powder and skimmed milk powder being produced and sold in 25Kg bags. Then slowly made its foray into instant milk powder products in retail packs of 400g and 2.5Kg. With growing demands in each market, the brand successfully launched its focus SKUs for each geography and now has over 15 SKUs in multiple packaging options. The sachets are 66