Empowering Zambia with its first plant-based milk factory: AATIF investee Two Six Zero Brands paves the way
In a groundbreaking development, the inauguration of Zambia’s first-ever plant-based milk factory marks a significant milestone for the country. This venture, undertaken by the Africa Agriculture and Trade Investment Fund (AATIF) investee Two Six Zero Brands, not only signals a shift towards sustainable plant-based dairy options but also provides a reliable income for more than 6,000 local smallholder farmers registered in the company’s sourcing network. The newly launched ‘Nutramilk’ product range is made from locally sourced non-GMO soybeans, with no added preservatives and free from cholesterol.
AATIF Technical Assistance (TA) Facility: Supporting the launch of plant-based dairy alternatives
The AATIF TA Facility, managed by the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), played a supporting role in the launch of the Nutramilk product line. By engaging an expert consultant to conduct a comprehensive market analysis and formulate an effective branding strategy, the TA support helped to create the foundation for the company’s successful launch of Zambia's locally produced and sourced soymilk product range.
The TA project included consumer behaviour studies and trend forecasting and aimed at ensuring that the products would resonate with the target audience. The branding strategy focused on highlighting the product range’s unique selling points, emphasizing its local origin, nutritional benefits, and affordability. This approach can help build a strong brand identity while also creating a compelling narrative of locality that in turn may foster trust and confidence among local consumers.
Benefits for BOP consumers
Affordability: Reliance on imported plant-based milk has historically made it an expensive commodity for consumers. The introduction of locally produced soymilk not only addresses this financial barrier but also ensures a cost-effective alternative to traditional dairy that retails at a comparable price point. By sourcing ingredients locally, this venture significantly reduces production costs, translating into an economically viable dairy-free alternative for the consumers.
Nutritional benefits: Plant-based milk is a rich source of essential nutrients, making it an excellent option for individuals seeking a balanced diet. Fortified with vitamins (A, B12, D2), calcium, iron, and zinc, the Nutramilk range aims to address nutritional gaps prevalent in the demographic.
Sustainability and environmental impact: The plant-based milk industry has a significantly lower environmental footprint compared to conventional dairy farming (Poore & Nemecek, 2018)1. By choosing locally sourced soybean, the factory further reduces transportation-related emissions while providing a sustainable income and reliable offtaker for 6,000+ smallholder farmers.
Future prospects and sustainability
The inauguration of Zambia’s first plant-based milk factory is a testament to the power of sustainable practices and locally driven initiatives. This venture not only provides a viable alternative to conventional dairy but also champions affordability, nutrition, and environmental consciousness.
1 Poore, J. and Nemecek, T. (2018) ‘Reducing Food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers’, Science, 360(6392), pp. 987–992.