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Kenya: Land of Packaging Opportunity

POSTED: 14th Feb

With a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 4.8% from 2021 to 2026, the industry is poised to evolve in response to shifting market dynamics. While the availability of national statistics remains a challenge, there is abundant insight into key aspects of Kenya’s packaging market, including industry trends, emerging opportunities, and strategies for success.

Kenya, being one of East Africa’s most developed countries, boasts a diverse economy where the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sectors hold a significant market share, contributing about 22% to the overall economy. The manufacturing sector, ranking second, contributes approximately 11% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with packaging representing an estimated 2% of the GDP. The packaging subsector supports food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, cosmetics, and personal care.

In response to the country’s growing population and urbanization, the packaging of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) has become a prominent area of focus. The mass market in Kenya, driven by the need for smaller packaging for single-use purposes known as the “kadogo” economy, presents a significant growth sector. Families, relying on daily earnings, focus on securing one meal at a time, leading to an increasing demand for packaged goods across a wide range of FMCG products.

It is important to note that Kenya banned single-use plastic carrier bags in 2017. While the ban targeted lightweight carrier bags with a thickness of less than 30 microns, exceptions were made for materials used in industrial primary packaging, bread packaging, disposable bags for handling biomedical and hazardous waste, and garbage bin liners. Plastic bag carriers remain widely accessible to traders, including food vendors, petty retailers, and wholesalers, due to their affordability, convenience, and versatility, particularly in the informal market economy. This presents an opportunity for alternative packaging solutions in Kenya.

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