Ever wondered which products fly off the shelves in Kenya and make companies big bucks? You’re about to find out. As a consumer in Kenya, you likely purchase many fast-moving consumer goods on a regular basis without realizing how profitable they are.
The fast-moving consumer goods industry in Kenya is massive, valued at over $3.5 billion, and some products within it are serious cash cows for manufacturers and retailers.
We analyzed industry reports and financials of major companies in Kenya to determine the most profitable fast-moving consumer goods in Kenya. The results may surprise you.
Some of the most profitable products are ones you probably buy all the time. Keep reading to see which five fast-moving consumer goods in Kenya are the most profitable. You’ll gain a new appreciation for these everyday items that generate major profits.
1. Beverages: Carbonated Soft Drinks, Bottled Water, and Fruit Juices
Beverages are always a hot commodity in Kenya, and the big players in the fast-moving consumer goods space know it. Some of the most profitable products are:
Carbonated soft drinks: Coke, Fanta, and Sprite reign supreme here. Kenyans love their fizzy drinks, consuming over 100 million liters per year. The big soda companies heavily market to youth and sponsor major events to keep demand high.
Bottled water: In a country where tap water isn’t always potable, bottled water is essential. Brands like Aquafina, Dasani, and Kenyan-owned Keringet dominate the market. Consumers will pay a premium for purified water, especially in urban areas.
Fruit juices: Passion fruit, mango, and orange juices are popular, especially with health-conscious consumers. Local brands like Kevian have found success with blended fruit juices and juice cocktails. Imported brands are seen as higher quality by some.
With increasing health awareness, companies also offer low-sugar and sugar-free alternatives to tap into the growing market. Beverage companies use catchy ads, sponsorships, and promotions to keep their brands on people’s minds and in their shopping carts. By offering a range of options at various price points, these fast-moving consumer goods continue quenching the thirst of Kenya’s growing population.
2. Personal Care Products: Soaps, Toothpaste, and Beauty Products
Personal care products are always in high demand, so companies that manufacture soaps, toothpastes, and beauty products are poised to generate major profits in Kenya.
Soaps and hand washes are necessities that people buy frequently and in large volumes. Unilever, PZ Cussons and other big brands that produce affordable soaps and hand washes for the mass market make a killing from these high-volume, low-cost goods.
The key is keeping prices low while still using quality ingredients that get you clean without drying out your skin.
Toothpastes and oral care products are also hugely profitable. Brands like Colgate, Close-Up and Aquafresh have built trusted names by producing effective yet budget-friendly toothpastes, mouthwashes and toothbrushes for families. People will pay a bit more for trusted brands that keep their teeth and gums healthy.
The beauty industry is booming in Kenya, especially skin care and hair care products. Local companies like Chandaria Industries (makers of Nivea and L’Oreal products) and global giants like Unilever (makers of Vaseline and Dove) are capitalizing on people’s desire to look and feel their best. Creams, lotions, shampoos, hair extensions and cosmetics are all big business.
With a growing population gaining more disposable income, personal care product companies in Kenya will continue to thrive. By keeping prices affordable, using high-quality ingredients, building brand trust, and tapping into people’s desire to feel confident from the outside in, these companies have found a formula for success in a fast-moving consumer goods market.
3. Household Supplies: Cleaning Products, Insecticides, and Air Fresheners
Household supplies like cleaning products, insecticides, and air fresheners are fast-moving consumer goods that Kenyans frequently purchase. These types of products typically have a high turnover rate, so companies are able to achieve strong and consistent sales.
Cleaning products, such as surface cleaners, toilet cleaners, and laundry detergents, are staples in most Kenyan homes. Popular brands like Harpic, Dettol, and Omo dominate the market. With the rise in disposable income and desire for higher standards of hygiene, the demand for premium cleaning products has also increased.
Insecticides, including mosquito repellents like Doom, Baygon, and Mortein, fly off the shelves, especially during the rainy season. These brands offer sprays, coils, and vaporizers to combat mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, and other common insects. Natural insect repellents made from citronella, eucalyptus, and lemongrass essential oils have also become popular with eco-conscious consumers.
Air fresheners and odor neutralizers are in high demand for keeping homes smelling fresh in between deep cleans. Glade and Air Wick are well-known brands that produce sprays, gels, candles and reed diffusers. Floral, citrus and lavender fragrances tend to be favored.
The household supplies market looks poised for strong and steady growth as populations expand, standards of living rise, and brands continue to innovate to meet customers’ needs. By offering high-quality, affordable and eco-friendly products, companies in this sector can build brand loyalty and capture significant market share. Overall, household supplies represent a very profitable category of fast-moving consumer goods in Kenya.
4. Snack Foods: Biscuits, Chips, Nuts, and Chocolates
Snack foods like biscuits, chips, nuts and chocolates are hugely popular in Kenya and offer lots of opportunities for profits. These items have a long shelf life, low production costs, and high demand, especially among younger consumers.
Biscuits and Cookies
Biscuits, like cornflakes, oatmeal cookies and digestive biscuits, are staples in many Kenyan homes and a go-to snack for people of all ages. Major brands like Britannia, Cadbury and Parle have been producing biscuits in Kenya for decades and continue to introduce new varieties to capture changing tastes. With clever marketing and distribution, smaller brands also have a chance to gain market share in this segment.
Chips and Crisps
Potato chips, corn chips and similar savory snacks are crunchy, salty treats that Kenyans can’t seem to get enough of. Brands like Simba, Ketepa and Procter & Allan dominate the market, but regional players have started producing chips made from local vegetables like cassava and arrowroot to appeal to customers looking for more traditional or healthier options. These alternatives to potato chips present an opportunity for new entrants.
Peanuts, cashews and macadamia nuts are popular snack nuts in Kenya that are often sold in small, affordable packets. Major nut brands like Krackers, Big K and Kaluworks source nuts locally and from neighboring countries like Tanzania and Uganda. Nuts are a perennial favorite and a source of protein, so companies able to keep costs low while meeting demand for high quality, fresh nuts will continue to profit.
Chocolates and candies are indulgent treats, especially popular with children and teens. Cadbury (a subsidiary of Mondelēz International) is the leading chocolate brand, but others like Mars, Ferrero and Nestlé also have a strong presence. Chocolates require imported ingredients and lots of marketing to build brand loyalty, so they tend to have higher profit margins. New brands must work hard to gain market share from established multinationals.
In summary, snack foods are a fast-growing, profitable segment of Kenya’s FMCG market. Companies able to keep costs low, anticipate trends, build strong brands and get products into the hands of Kenya’s youth have the best chance of success. With demand for packaged snacks on the rise, the potential for profits from biscuits, chips, nuts and chocolates looks bright.
5. Over-the-Counter Medicines: Pain Relievers, Cough and Cold Remedies
Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are some of the most profitable fast-moving consumer goods in Kenya. Cold remedies pain relievers, and cough in particular, are high in demand and offer attractive profit margins for manufacturers and retailers.
Pain relievers, like paracetamol and ibuprofen, are popular OTC drugs in Kenya. With the high prevalence of conditions like headaches, joint pain, and muscle aches, pain relievers offer relief and comfort for many. Brands like Panadol, Nurofen, and Advil are household names and major money makers.
Cough and Cold Remedies
Cough syrups, expectorants, antihistamines, and decongestants are also big sellers. During the rainy seasons when colds and allergies are common, these OTC medicines are lifesavers for those with sore throats, congestion, runny noses, and coughs. Top brands like Benylin, Robitussin, and Sudafed can charge premium prices due to high demand during peak seasons.
- Menthol rubs and balms provide quick relief for congestion and make it easier to breathe.
- Oral rehydration solutions like Pedialyte and Gatorade help replace fluids lost due to coughs, colds and diarrhea.
- Antihistamines like Chlorpheniramine, Cetirizine and Loratadine reduce allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
The OTC medicine market in Kenya is growing rapidly along with increased access to healthcare and higher disposable incomes. With more Kenyans able to afford basic medical care and relief for common ailments, over-the-counter drugs have become an essential part of self-care and family health management across the country. For manufacturers and retailers, this translates to a sizable and profitable segment with much room for continued growth.
So there you have it, the most profitable fast moving consumer goods in Kenya.
As you’ve seen, some of the biggest money makers are basic necessities like food, beverages, and personal care products.
Companies that provide affordable, high-quality options in these areas are poised to generate substantial profits.
Of course, consumer tastes are always changing, so keeping a close eye on trends and adapting quickly is key.
But if you’re looking to invest in companies with the potential for major growth and returns, FMCG brands in Kenya seem like a pretty safe bet.
They’ve got a huge, loyal customer base and products that people rely on every single day.