DCK Bakeries has opened five more branches in major towns as the wholly locally-owned emerging firm expands its footprint in the industry currently dominated by a few bigger players.
Although a number of start ups in the sector have folded amid tough market competition from traditional players, DCK seems to have withstood competition with its products, particularly bread, making a huge impact.
Having entered the industry after launching its first plant in Gweru last year, the company has opened branches in Chitungwiza, at a site previously owned by Aroma Bakeries, Kwekwe, Masvingo, Bulawayo and Chinhoyi, boosting its installed capacity to 230 000 loaves per day, the company said.
“We already have operating branches in Gweru, Kwekwe, Masvingo, Bulawayo, and Chinhoyi,” DCK director Mr Doug Kwande said.
“We have just started in Chitungwiza, where we are producing 20 000 loaves per day.
“We are finalising the launch of the 108 000 loaves (plant) per day at the same site.
“In fact, we are actually under pressure to do so given the impact our bread has made in the market.
“The market potential for our bread is huge and what we actually have to do is to increase output and we will be very aggressive.”
Interviews with several retailers and informal traders in Chitungwiza confirmed that DCK bread is in high demand and sometimes they struggle to get the product.
“I think they have captured a sizeable market because despite competitive price, the quality is good.
“For me, the quality is probably better than that of established brands,” said Mr John Gumi, a roadside vendor.
Informal market accounts for 74 percent of bread sales. A shop assistant at a supermarket at Makoni in Seke, MrPalmer Tadya, said DCK bread had made a huge impact.
“The bread is selling very well. I think they need to boost output to match growing demand,” said Mr Tadya.
The local baking industry, which has an installed capacity of 825 000 loaves a day, translating to about 35 percent of its installed potential, is dominated by Lobels, Bakers Inn, a unit of Innscor Ltd and Marondera-based Proton.
The three enjoy a combined 85 percent of the market share.
The smaller bakeries control the balance.
Over the past decade, several small to medium bakeries ceased operations due to difficult operating environment such as lack of working capital, high production costs and antiquated equipment.
“I am determined to provide solutions to our problems. Our bread is made from wheat grown in Zimbabwe and this dispels the notion that good quality can only be achieved by blending locally grown and imported wheat. These are solutions that as an entrepreneur, I am determined to provide,” said Mr Kwande.
DCK in involved in milling, another sector dominated by bigger players, retail, livestock and wheat production.–herald