Egypt’s Obour Land is building on its strong track record for innovation and differentiation with the launch of a new spreadable cheese range, Mafrouda. The product, in Tetra Fino® Aseptic 100 U, offers a high level of functionality and convenience at an affordable price point, and will help Obour Land to stand out from its competitors in a saturated market. Initially available in three varieties, plans are in place to launch additional new sweet flavours in the coming months following an extremely positive reaction from the trade.
Obour Land, a family-owned business, was established in 1997 by Eng. Mohammed Hamed. From the start, innovation and differentiation have been key to the company’s success. Since launching white cheese in cartons around ten years ago, Obour Land’s business in this segment has grown steadily, and it is now Egypt’s biggest player with a market share of around 40%. More recently, the company has expanded into liquid dairy products (LDP), nectars and other drinks, launching several new SKUs.
Obour Land and Tetra Pak have been working together since 2008, when the company launched its white cheese in cartons. A solid business relationship has proved a strong platform for growth: Obour Land has been among Tetra Pak's fastest growing customers in Egypt for at least five consecutive years.
White cheese is a staple for Egyptian consumers, who see it as a tasty and convenient source of nutrition. Increasingly, though, it had come to be seen as a commodity product and, as market leader, Obour Land had reached a point of maturity in a saturated market that offered little scope for innovation.
So, working closely with the Tetra Pak team, they set out to explore opportunities for growth, focusing specifically on processed cheese. Realising that existing products fell into two categories – either convenient but expensive, or affordable but not user-friendly – they decided to develop a product that offered convenience at the right price point, and that would have mass appeal for Egyptian consumers.
First, though, there was a technical challenge to overcome: the customer’s existing Tetra Pak® A1 platform had to be adapted in order to be able to pack processed white cheese. Our Product Development Centre in Lund worked closely with the team to develop new technology that would make this possible.
The chosen package, Tetra Fino Aseptic 100 U, offered the perfect mix of functionality, convenience and affordability. As an ambient package it keeps this nutritious snack fresh without the need for refrigeration. This also means the product can be sold in smaller, more traditional retail shops, which often lack chilled shelf space. The package is also very convenient to use: just tear off the corner and spread directly on to bread or a plate.
One package contains enough product for at least four sandwiches, making it a good economical choice for families. The name, “Mafrouda”, literally means “the spread” – the idea being that this will become the generic name for the whole category, thus raising the profile of the Obour Land product. The initial launch featured three flavours – plain cream, Cheddar, and roumy (a local Egyptian cheese) – two sweet flavours followed –chocolate and sesame paste (Halawa Tehinya)
The 360° launch campaign includes sampling activities, in-store activations, TV advertising, billboards and digital campaigns. The TV adverts focus on different consumption occasions – in particular, “on the go” – and the combination of great functionality with an affordable price point.
Plans are in place to distribute the product nationwide, to both smaller traditional shops and larger retailers and supermarkets. In traditional stores packages will be sold individually, with the carton doubling as a display unit, while in bigger stores it is sold in multi-packs. While it is still too early for actual sales figures, the initial reaction from the trade to the new product is extremely positive.