Every year in Ghana, there is a new beverage generating some buzz or an old one repositioning itself in the market to maintain top of mind awareness. The past year has been no exception. The time has come for the smaller beverage business owners to be given the necessary boost to gradually grow into the level of multinationals.
Research conducted in 2017 by Asoko Insight, Africa’s largest online repository of privately-held company information indicates that on the average, Ghanaians spend around 42percent of their income on food and beverages alone; placing income growth at the core of the sector’s success.
The government of Ghana projects that by 2021 the US$1,000- US$5,000 income segment will include 50percent of all households, up from around 30percent currently. Rising incomes have not only contributed to more expenditure, but have allowed Ghanaians to develop a taste for foreign drinks like branded beers and spirits instead of unbranded local drinks such as pito, palm wine, akpeteshie, and burukutu.
For about two decades and more, processed foreign carbonated and alcoholic drinks have been served at gatherings in Ghana. The importance of these drinks goes as far as marriage acceptance; in some families, some of these drinks are included in a woman’s bride price. These drinks are also presented as part of Christmas hampers among other gift items.
In recent times however, the trend is taking another twist. It is becoming common place to see more local beverages like Asana, Sobolo, Pito, Palm wine served in clay pots and calabashes at festive occasions.
A few individuals are making efforts at branding drinks like Sobolo, Apio, pineapple juice and the like which is generating some excitement on the market. The upswing of Small and Medium Enterprises in beverage production is a revelation of the opportunities that abound for local manufacturing and the entire value chain. It is commendable that Ghanaians are venturing into the local beverage business while taking gradual steps in embracing the principles of business including branding, advertising, marketing among others.
However, there’s a lot of work to be done if Ghana wants to remain relevant and be sought-after globally. Additionally, there will be a rippling effect on all members of this chain of business; bottling companies, transportation, advertising and the like when the SMEs are able to thrive in the Ghanaian economy.
Going global with Ghanaian beverages will mean that producers of indigenous drinks must create visual appeal for our drinks which already have the ready market for consumption and sale. It is necessary that producers explore multiple creative ways of packaging and branding these homegrown assets to generate income for the country.
There should be more partnerships between Ghanaian beverage producers and the various private and public events held in Ghana to create visibility for our local products. The attempt to create brand identities however is not to quash the beautiful things done by indigenes with clay pots and similar vessels.
This call is to encourage local producers to be able to address issues such as convenience, product portability, meeting demand and readiness for the international market in beverage production to generate more revenue.
The role of the Ghana Beverage Awards (GBA)
In line with promoting the local beverage industry, Global Media Alliance has instituted the Ghana Beverage Awards (GBA) to honour beverage producers in the country. This drive seeks to complement the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Ghana Tourism Authority in promoting made in Ghana goods and services.
In accordance with the ‘See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana, Feel Ghana’ campaign, a bid aimed at igniting the ‘’I am Ghanaian’’ spirit, Global Media Alliance has introduced Drink Ghana through GBA.
Speaking on the preparations ahead of the third edition of the awards set to come off in March this year, Global Media Alliance Chief Executive Officer Ernest Boateng said: “We are happy to announce that the Ghana Beverage Awards is entering its third year. With the help of all our stakeholders the GBA brand is growing into the standard that we envisioned; the go-to avenue for all credible information on happenings in the industry.
“We seek to promote local entrepreneurship in the beverage space to grow Ghana’s economy, this is why we have introduced the Drink Ghana drive, endorsed by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Ghana Tourism Authority,” he added.
The Ghana Beverage Awards aims to support state authorities in streamlining the practices of the industry and enforce sanity in the system by celebrating authorized and excelling beverage brands in Ghana. Launched on the 28th of April 2016, GBA creates a platform for industry players to; network and share ideas, market their products and services and boost the sale of beverages in Ghana.
This year, organisers have included four more categories; International Wine of the Year, International Beer of the Year, International Spirit of the Year and New Beverage of the year. Other award categories include product of the year, Manufacturer of the Year, Beer of the Year, Bitters of the Year, Fruit juice of the Year, Carbonated Soft Drink of the Year among others.
Last year Guinness Ghana Brewery Limited bagged home the ultimate award with Guinness Foreign Extra Stout adjudged Product of the Year and Beer of the year. The Ghana Beverage Awards is partnered by the Food Research Institute (FRI) under CSIR, Ghana Tourism Authority and the Food and Beverage Association of Ghana.