Bakery firm born out of a need for wholesome dwelling
Bakery company born out of a desire for healthy living
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Through purity WANJOHI
- Kajuju Kiogora has been baking since she was old enough to play with flour.
- Her love for flour products led her to bake cakes and pastries and sell them to friends and family until she was at university.
Kajuju Kiogora has been baking since she was old enough to play with flour. Her love for flour products led her to bake cakes and pastries and sell them to friends and family until she was at university.
While studying law and business management in the UK, she opted for a healthier lifestyle.
“I’ve made a commitment to eat healthier foods and drinks,” she says. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a healthy alternative to my lunch drink – juice.”
This led them to make juice for their own consumption. The fruits were organically grown and the resulting drink contained neither water nor added sugar. The change in diet brought benefits such as increased energy levels and smoother skin without the scars it had from chronic acne.
And so she founded her company in 2016.
“To be honest, I didn’t plan on becoming an entrepreneur. Yes, I was excited about the business, but I didn’t think it would be a long-term career for me, ”says Ms. Kiogora, the founder and CEO of Healthy Kajuju.
Ms. Kiogora fondly remembers the first order she put into the store.
“I made some flyers promoting my juice and even bought a new business phone. Someone called while I was in class and ordered some. In fact, it took me a long time to realize my business phone was ringing, ”she recalls.
After delivering that one order, she delivered others while still doing this as a hobby.
Upon her return to Kenya, her healthy lifestyle was hampered by the lack of healthy snacks. As with juice, she started making snacks for herself. At the same time, she started documenting her eating habits on a blog called Healthy Kajuju.
Research into the business revealed that there was a market for high quality premium snacks. To test the water, she started selling her products in local organic markets.
The answer was unexpected, she says. As the news spread, demand grew. Every weekend, consumers would buy the snack bars whose flavors they had developed during the week.
After Ms. Kiogora confirmed there was a niche in the market, she founded Healthy Kajuju, named after the blog.
“People were looking for healthy alternative snacks. I had the knowledge, the skills and the passion. Why not add more volume to what I’ve made for myself and share the extra with them? “She tells Enterprise.
Healthy Kajuju started out in her parents’ backyard, selling in local markets, small shops, and gyms. She consistently searched for alternatives to healthy snacking and created a product portfolio that includes granola, snack bars, energy bites, falafels and frozen burgers in retail stores in local supermarkets such as Chandarana and On-the-Way. The most popular are snack bars and energy bites.
“The products are 100 percent plant-based, vegan, wheat-free and contain no refined sugar, which gives us a competitive advantage,” says Ms. Kiogora.
The products are made from oats, dates, nuts, sunflower seeds and honey. The flavors come from coconut, ginger, spices and sea salt, among other things. The falafels and frozen burgers are made from chickpeas and other vegetables.
Most of the raw materials come from the region. However, some ingredients like almonds and potato starch are imported from the USA.
Selling a handful of units per weekend, Healthy Kajuju’s sales have grown to 3,000 units per month, with most of the sales coming from retail stores.
The company currently employs 10 people between the ages of 26 and 33. The entrepreneur with a Masters degree in African Development believes that empowering people is the ticket out of financial dependence.
Social media has played a huge role in the company’s growth. Since January, they have recorded a sales growth of 70 percent as more and more people become aware of their offers.
“Gone are the days when people only bought what was available. Today’s consumer picks up a product, reads the ingredients and does research in the company to find out what they stand for. This is reflected in their purchase decisions. They are also willing to pay more for the value, ”says Ms. Kiogora.
For the five-year-old company, it was a journey with many challenges, especially access to the market and raw materials.
“Supermarkets remain the golden ticket for food company customers. Securing a salesroom is not easy, however. The lack of a “name” delays the creation of small businesses, so to speak, “she says.
“In addition, manufacturers of raw materials such as packaging bags are not SME-friendly. The minimum order quantities required are prohibitive for emerging businesses, ”she says, adding that since I had no intention of going down this path in the long run, I had to learn quickly.
So far, the company is aiming to expand to additional sales outlets and varieties in the next twelve months. The main recipe creator says the best part about her job is that healthy kajuju products are passion products.
“From my heart to the consumers. The excitement never gets old. “