Happy New Year 2023. Christmas has witnessed a significant consumption rate across the country in the FMCG sector. On a larger scale, the use of sachets has dominated the retail industry in many parts of Africa, but most significantly in Nigeria, where the population is high and demand for consumer goods is high.

The level of plastic and baggie waste generation is extremely high, and we may have a big problem with that if this trend continues to increase without proper regulation. As sachet products, or single serve packs as they are commonly called in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry, dominate the retail landscape, the increase in usage has been alarming.

In colloquial terms, the model is known as “sachetization” and is known to have started in Nigeria in the 1990s with the manufacture of smaller sachets of drinking water (pure water) and Cowbell milk powder by Promasidor. Then the innovation needed the idea to penetrate the larger population of low or no income. However, the idea later met with intense and stiff competition.

Today, the literature suggests that more than 60 million units of pure water are consumed per day in Nigeria, along with many other sachet products. From takeaway food packages to carrier bags, beverages, cooking ingredients and household cleaning products.

The sachet trend has continued to expand due to declining income levels, widespread hardship, and increasing poverty among the population. These have undoubtedly caused the increasing adoption of sachet packs in the country recently. For businesses, the difficult operating environment, decrepit infrastructure, continued inflation, porous borders, and dwindling bulk consumption have further increased the need to adopt the sachet model.

Both individuals and businesses are feeling the brunt of economic challenges, and over time, consumer disposable income continues to decline. In addition to the consequences of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the economy in recent times has continued to worsen the situation. They are greatly eroding the purchasing power of many people, homes and even businesses.

The current economic situation has also made products and services more expensive at the national level. In fact, many manufacturers are seeing a decline in bulk item patronage because not everyone can afford to buy in bulk or regular packs, and consumers continue to look for cheaper alternatives.

Therefore, “sachetization” is a business strategy and an alternative to continuously engage customers in this difficult time. The idea is to make the products affordable for consumers, particularly the majority of daily earners who make up a large part of the country’s population.

At this time of high inflation and economic uncertainty, many companies have decided to adopt the “sachetization” model to give some of the poorest people in Nigeria easy access to essential household items and for continued patronage within the space. of consumer goods.

In addition, for companies this time, it is a way to increase sales among customers who cannot afford to buy in large quantities. Although the sachet model saves waste with portion control, it requires minimal packaging materials, less storage, lower shipping and transportation costs, and most importantly, it is easy for end users to use.

However, the painful truth and revelation is that this trend is indicative of unsustainable consumption, income inequality, unaffordability and the widening gap between the haves and have-nots, the declining economy and high poverty in the country.

Fortunately, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in the report “Poverty and inequality in Nigeria 2019”, highlights that 40 percent of the total population, or almost 83 million people, lives below the poverty line of the country. . This figure even seems underestimated, in my opinion, due to the lack of data on the country’s huge informal sector. However, these sachet products provide the country’s poor with access to essential items for the everyday household, but compromise sustainable consumption and the environment.

From observation, there is hardly any market leading FMCG company in Nigeria that has not manufactured single serving pack (sachet packed product) to capture poor consumers. To reinforce the adoption of this model, the different operators in the open markets of the country, without knowing it, freely practice the sachet model in perishables, vegetables and food.

All for economic reasons and the decrease in consumer purchasing power. Regular essential consumables noted in the sachet are milk, detergent, cooking oil, cereal, margarine, liquor, pepper mix (capsicum, tomatoes and onions), toothpaste, sugar, ketchup, shampoo, corn, seasonings/spices, crackers, dishwashing liquid, razor sticks, cereal, bleach, Lipton sachet with only 2 tea bags, diaper sachet with only 2, sanitizer and energy drink among others.

According to the sampled opinion, this sachet trend is increasing in an offer for companies to continue to increase their market share, increase their market penetration and remain competitive. The important thing is that the trend is now becoming more and more popular, and even select brands are included in the rising wave. This trend encourages quick sales and increases competitiveness in consumer goods, where affordability is a big issue.

It is important to note that companies need to keep in mind that the country’s poor population continues to grow, indicating that those unwilling to follow the sachet trend may risk being out of business. Considering the country’s economic problems, the trend is beneficial with regard to sponsorship, sales and business continuity.

Also read: Coca-Cola explains the ‘World Without Waste’ initiative

The sachet model is undoubtedly booming in the country, and is currently a winning strategy to sell what a large percentage of the population can afford.

They all said that the points raised above are not to fully justify “sachetization” as a business strategy, but also to implore business and government to promote measures to improve sustainable consumption, clean production and circular economy to reduce poverty. multidimensional, which may include food security. , housing, health, education and security that directly impact the well-being of the population.

The big problem is that most plastic bags are not currently recycled or reused. Therefore, government sustainable development strategies and policies should be intensified to include waste management, environmental management, pollution, and recycling, and socio-economic plans should be implemented to promote recycling and save the environment. This should be a priority now.

Therefore, key policies and measures should also be considered to encourage proper waste management and recycling in the country to avoid major environmental pollution.

In conclusion, the observation indicates that “sachetization” is now more of a necessity than an option in the country due to the increase in deprivation in countless aspects of life. The country’s telecommunications companies and some real estate companies are exploring the sachet model with various smart pack (sachet) products with daily payment options.

Above all, it is not even out of place to mention that just like these companies and FMCG, the financial sector – banking, insurance, investment management companies and even cable TV operators – can ‘sachetize’ to make services more accessible and affordable to the masses.

However, harnessing innovation, sustainable production and technology will be of great importance in achieving this. Good luck!