anone Nutricia, a multinational food company has launched one of its leading infant food brands in the world, Aptamil Infant formula into the Nigerian market.
According to the company, Aptamil contains a unique blend of key nutrients like carbohydrate, protein, vitamins, minerals (basically fat soluble) and other micro-nutrients.
The unveiling which was done internally at the offices of their national distributor, World Wide Commercial Ventures (WWCV), Lagos had in attendance distributors from across the country as well as officials of both Danone Nutricia and WWCV.
Speaking at the launch, the Country Manager for Danone Nutricia in Nigeria, Yaw Agyarko, explained that the baby formula was unveiled to fulfil the needs of babies for whom breastmilk may not be available for one reason or the other, and to ensure retailers and distribution partners provided NAFDAC-approved safe and quality products on the market to fill the requirement of these babies.
“We think it is important for our partners to understand what the product is about, how it fits into our mission to provide health through food to as many people as possible, as a company, and to provide adequate information to help all persons involved in distributing our products, as safety and quality are at the heart of everything we do”
“We believe that Aptamil, being a global brand, will be very successful in Nigeria because the nutrients it contains are supported by over 40 years of research,” he opined.
He said that Aptamil baby formula improves the immune system of children as well as their physical composition to enable them fight-off infection which is common in our part of the world.
Agyarko who is also a pharmacist revealed that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life matters a lot because the early life nutrition they receive during this period can have a profound impact on their lifelong health.
“We believe strongly that when a mother, for one reason or the other, is not able to give breast milk (which we consider as the best nutrition for a child), Aptamil should be recommended to complement what she does.
“Nature has a way of taking care of its own. This is why we insist that mothers should breastfeed their babies exclusively for at least six months. We encourage this because we believe that no milk can replace breast milk in the world, at least, not yet,” he stressed.
On how Danone Nutricia hopes to counter the influx of parallel imports on the market with questionable safety and quality, the Country Manager noted that they have been working hand-in-hand with National Agency for Food & Drug Administration & Control (NAFDAC) to arrive at the stage the company is presently, and will continue to work with them to ensure only the NAFDAC-compliant Aptamil is available for our babies instead of the parallel imports.
Parallel import is the cross-border sale of goods by traders outside of the manufacturer’s distribution system, without the manufacturer’s consent. Parallel traders generate profits through buying goods in one market at a relatively low price and subsequently reselling them in another country where the price is higher.
“Our plan is simple – to compliantly fill the demand for this global brand in Nigeria”. Previously, people have brought in non-compliant products into the country where safety and quality, for example, cannot be guaranteed,” said Agyarko.
“With Danone compliantly bringing in Aptamil into the country, you can be assured that the safety and quality can be guaranteed as we will ensure shipping in temperature-controlled reefer containers and storage by our partners WWCV at conditions approved by Danone. Worldwide Commercial Ventures provides world class storage, one of the major reasons we have chosen to partner with them,” he reassured.
“Additionally, we will introduce the MAS technology to ensure mothers can satisfy themselves at the point of purchase, that they are getting the NAFDAC approved authentic Aptamil.
This, according to him, is the only way Danone Nutricia can fulfill all the quality assurance promises made to the healthcare professionals, mothers and their babies.
Also speaking at the unveiling, Santosh Kumar, Managing Director, WWCV, appreciated the participants especially those who travelled from other states to attend the internal launch.
“We also want to thank the management of Danone for believing in our ability to distribute this brand. As you already know, our partnership with Danone has spanned almost seven to eight years now.
“Personally, I am excited and have no doubt about the ability of the sales team to deliver the NAFDAC-compliant Aptamil to Pharmacies and Supermarkets around the country to replace the non-compliant packs on shelf. I am pretty confident too that it is going to be a blockbuster product for us because we already have the proof,” he said.
“He noted that there is a lot of promising opportunities for this brand because I understand that best-in-class technology and research has gone into its development”.
Also speaking at the event, Mr Ananth Sigadapu, General Manager, World Wide Commercial Ventures urged the company’s sales representatives to be professional and ethical in their sales approach so as not to fall foul of the law regarding sales and promotion of breast milk substitutes, as emphasized by Danone, and that they should resist the temptation of engaging with people other than their clients on the brand.
“Although our focus is on pharmacies, we cannot afford to leave out the supermarkets. The essence for the latter is to fight off the non-compliant parallel imports of Aptamil,” he said.
Some officials who attended the internal launch included Mr Timothy Olabiyi, Sales Manager, WWCV; Ms Aisha Ineomoh, Nutritionist, Danone Nutricia; Mr. Michael Robert, Sales Manager, Danone Nutricia, and Mr David Enyinnaya, Marketing Manager, Danone Nutricia.
Founded in 1896, Danone Nutricia works with healthcare professionals and carers to educate about early life nutrition through advice and support, as well as products and services.