Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology has collaborated with Nissin Foods Holdings from Japan to open a processing factory that is manufacturing locally flavoured instant noodles sourced from crops like sorghum as consumers preferences shift to ready to prepare convenient foods
Through a processing factory that hopes to produce 70,000 packets packed in 70 and 72 grammes, the initiative hopes to reach 500 million packets yearly by 2030. The “Chicken” and “Nyama Choma” flavoured noodles which are made from a mixture of Atta and Sorghum are now available in leading supermarkets in Kenya. The noodles have been developed to suit Kenyan taste buds.
According to Prof Simeon Njoroge, the Manager of JKUAT’s Food Technology Center (FOTEC), the University decided to come up with the authentic instant chicken and Nyama Choma flavoured noodles in response to the demands by local consumers following a survey it had conducted earlier.
The joint company, JKUAT NISSIN foods Limited, located in Juja Kiambu county is the first public private partnership between Japan and Kenya.
According to the company’s Managing Director Daisuke Okabayashi, JKUAT will continue to train and familiarize engineers and scientists with the instant noodles technology and culture and provide knowledge of raw materials, quality improvement using whole wheat flour and sorghum which are healthy foods.
The target market covers East Africa and Sub Saharan regions including Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda with an estimated population of 130 million customers. There is an increasing demand for instant noodles largely due to urbanites’ lifestyle which relies more on convenient foods which are tasty and quick to prepare.
The foundation for the joint venture was born in 2008 when Nissin Foods with the cooperation of JKUAT started Oishi project in Kenya through which needy pupils were offered free instant noodles for school lunch.
As consumer preferences and busy schedules takes their toll on consumers, experts predict that the global demand for instant noodles 154 billion packs by 2017.