Dairy brings Greek taste to local yogurt market

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Business

Dairy brings Greek taste to local yogurt market


Deborah Jones, founder and CEO of Mtindi Dairies, at her South B location on April 22, 2022. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Summary

  • With no experience and no skills in yogurt production, the 38-year-old devoted herself to learning the craft from articles on YouTube and the web.
  • As she shared samples with her family and close friends, the feedback was better than expected and demand increased.
  • Fully convinced that she had a good product, in 2020 she registered the company Mtindi Dairies.

After working in the corporate sector for 12 years, Deborah Jones found herself cultivating seeds of personal discontent.

Two things gnawed at her: the desire to do more with her life and to leave a legacy for her children and their children. How could she do that, she didn’t know.

In 2019, after careful consideration and sound advice, she tried her luck, freed herself from the golden handcuffs and decided to go abroad with her family and continue her studies.

“It was not an easy decision because I was very comfortable. I had an amazing employer and great pay and benefits. Let’s not forget I had the cloud of ‘what if everything was okay hurt “hanging over my head,” the mother-of-two says.

Plan B

As fate would have it, the pandemic occurred months after his resignation, throwing a damp blanket over his relocation plans. Aware that she was living in the forest of her dreams, she looked for a plan B.

Back then, the internet was flooded with people trying out new cooking recipes. A self-proclaimed foodie, all the food talk reminded Ms Jones of a dessert she had eaten at her cousin’s house while on holiday in the UK – Greek yoghurt.

She continues: “When I came back to Kenya, I really tried to find Greek yogurt but I couldn’t find any. Three years later, I still hadn’t found it.

Then it occurred to him. She hadn’t just served dessert. He had been given a business idea. “I gave up the quest for Greek yogurt and decided to make it. After all, I had the time.

With no experience and no skills in yogurt production, the 38-year-old devoted herself to learning the craft from articles on YouTube and the web. As she shared samples with her family and close friends, the feedback was better than expected and demand increased.

Fully convinced that she had a good product, in 2020 she registered the company Mtindi Dairies.

Mtindi Dairies is a food start-up that produces Greek yogurt, which differs from the regular type in taste, texture and combination of nutrients.

“The result is a delicious, healthy scoop of yogurt that’s thicker, contains less sugar, contains real fruit, and doubles the amount of protein and calcium found in regular yogurt. Our yoghurt also has extremely low lactose levels,” says the CEO of Mtindi Dairies.

“Plus, it contains probiotics and is good for heart health, digestion, and weight loss.”

Two years later, Mtindi Dairies has made tremendous progress, progress made possible by the support of her husband, Mr Jones, whose networking skills she greatly admires.

Bringing together resources from savings and loans, the business which started in the kitchen of the family home now boasts of having an accredited facility in Nairobi’s South ‘B’ producing 1,000-1,200 liters of Greek yogurt per week. Total production time is 24 hours.

So far it offers seven different yoghurt flavors created by Ms Jones herself, in packs ranging from 100g to 300g. To ensure environmental sustainability, Mtindi’s products are made from locally sourced milk and fruits such as pineapples, passion fruit, mangoes and a different assortment of berries.

It has also entered the local retail and food market in several supermarkets and online marketplaces.

“One of our consumers tweeted about our product. This caught the attention of our partners, Lisha Fund, which enabled us to expand our distribution channels,” she shares.

In terms of employment, the company has trained and employed seven people full time. Recently, the company was nominated in the “Most Promising Founder” category in FOYA 2022.

Staff

Mtindi Dairies staff at the South B site on April 22, 2022. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

But all was not smooth. One of the challenges they faced when going commercial was the short shelf life of their product. This is because they do not use preservatives.

“To overcome this, we hired food scientists who we worked with and found a natural way to extend shelf life without using preservatives,” she says, adding that they also produce to order to avoid waste of expired products.

Due to its nutritional benefits and low lactose content, this one-of-a-kind yogurt in the country has become a hit with health-conscious consumers, bodybuilders, weight watchers, and lactose-intolerant and diabetic people. .

A good problem

“We are still a small company, so the demand is always greater than the supply. A good problem that we are currently tackling.

And then there is the issue of rising input costs.

However, these challenges have done little to harm the entrepreneurial spirit. The acceptance of their products on the market arouses in her and in the team, passion and commitment.

For the first entrepreneur in her family, the future can only be bright and the legacy she desires is slowly coming to life.

What plans do they have for the future? “Our current goal is to increase our production capacity and enter more retail stores.”

And as Mtindi Dairies grows, they aspire to expand their dairy offerings in the market. According to Ms Jones, “dairy has so much potential” and we have yet to fully exploit this potential.

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