Banana juice - a recipe for success
Mariam Asigri, a teacher from Kumasi, Ghana, used to make banana juice at Christmas time as a gift for friends and family. But her juice was so popular she decided to make it a business. Now the director of MASIG Natural Fruits Industries, she explains how the juice is made, and her marketing strategy.
Asigri MASIG banana juice is made from pure banana. We make the banana into pulp. There's a little bit of water. We strain it, put a little bit of additives and then that's all.
Bafana Would you kindly describe for which market have you made this banana juice?
Asigri Yes, it is for the local market in Ghana, because locally I distribute to supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, schools, so many areas in Ghana.
Bafana I'm convinced you have added value to the banana by making juice. Would you say banana is good business?
Asigri Yes, it is good business. If you get very good market, it is very lucrative.
Bafana Does it sell well?
Asigri It sells well in the country, because looking at the Ghanaian market, most of the time what we have, the juices we have are commonly orange and pineapple. So I decided to experiment with banana, and I came out with this, so it is the first of its kind in the country.
Bafana What inspired you?
Asigri I am a teacher by profession. I used to do these juices just for the home, and then give them to neighbours like at Christmas and other festive occasions. They would drink and say, 'It's very nice, it's tasty' and so on. So one day I just decided to come out commercial.
Bafana What particular qualities did they like in your banana juice?
Asigri The taste, the aroma, everything. It is completely different from pineapple or orange, which is very common in the Ghanaian market.
Bafana Tell me how have you gone about packaging it, in terms of putting the labels, and in terms of shelf life, if you could just describe that to me?
Asigri Well, if you look at the juice, after processing it has to be sterilised. Then I fill it, or I bottle it at a certain temperature, and this can stay for over 7 months. So the shelf life is over 7 months. It can even stay up to one year, but I have limited it to 7 months.
Bafana The bottles that you have actually put the juice, in what quantities do you bottle your banana juice?
Asigri Yes, 330 mls.
Bafana Any particular reason for this?
Asigri That is very handy. Anybody who wants to buy just picks it and off. I used to package 500 mls too, but that one was a little bit expensive. So I decided to come down to the 330 mls, to meet everybody's pocket.
Bafana Are you making profit from it?
Asigri Yes, I am making profit, otherwise I would have been out of business by now.
Bafana How have you been able to maintain the quality of your juice?
Asigri We have the Food and Drugs Board in Ghana. They periodically examine the product. You cannot come out with any product in Ghana without being certified by Food and Drugs Board, so they periodically examine it so that the quality is always there.
Bafana How do you market your juice?
Asigri I have people who come to take and send to the other regions of Ghana. They in turn will distribute it to the various supermarkets, the shops, especially these filling station shops, the Shell shops, Total filling stations and so on. And I myself, where I live in Kumasi, I use my van and then take some out, or my boys take some out, and distribute to the other shops. I have a contract with Shell. Apart from Shell, I give to other shops too.
Bafana Given the network and the market that you have just told me about, any chance that you would like to put this product on the export market?
Asigri Yes, at the moment I'm doing it on a small scale. So I want to expand, and when I expand I'll start exporting. End of track.
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Food & nutrition