The Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (FMN) feat at consolidating its leading position in the foods and agro-processing segment, through proactive use of best-in-class raw materials and innovative processing technology represents a game-changer for the sector and has provided a competitive boost for local products against imported ones in the local and export markets.
Analysis of the significant domestic domination of the Group in the foods and agro-allied sector, as captured in its 2021 sustainability report, shows that the holistic adoption of sustainable best practices in its operations, played a pivotal role in catapulting the brand to the top of the market, marking it out as the premium choice of consumers and investors.
One of FMN’s sustainability initiatives is the adoption of a multi-faceted stakeholder engagement strategy, which has helped the group build strong relationships with mapped stakeholders as well as better understand and address key concerns and expectations, which are translated into products of nutritious excellence, identification of new markets and handholding for local suppliers.
Giving an insight into how the 62-year-old Group has established itself as an iconic brand ambassador of the nation, at the presentation of its 2021 sustainability report, Mr. Omoboyede Olusanya – GMD/CEO made a revelation: “As we continue to respond to our consumer demands for refreshing, nourishing and healthy products, we have made strides in innovation and broadened our product portfolio.”
He noted that going public with the company’s first sustainability report in 2020 demonstrated a commitment to embedding sustainability as a core business agenda.
“As one of the largest food and agro-allied businesses in Nigeria, we recognize the critical role we play in driving sustainable socio-economic development in Nigeria. I am therefore delighted to present to you the second edition of our Sustainability Report. The theme for this year’s report, ‘Nourishing Sustainably Today, for Tomorrow’ reflects the remarkable strides we have recorded in our commitment towards responsible production and consumption as encapsulated in our purpose of ‘Feeding the Nation Everyday’.”
Mr. Boye further disclosed how the company is relying on a significant percentage of locally sourced ingredients to create a breakfast cereal, while integrating indigenous flavours into its product menus, such as Jollof noodles and goat meat pepper soup noodles.
This includes the introduction of other nutritious product offerings such as the Amaizing Day breakfast cereal which taps into the opportunities in the breakfast cereal market, Auntie B Spaghetti Slim and Spaghetti, as well as the introduction of new SKUs in key categories.
Putting the nutritional health of consumers at the center of product development, The Group’s GMD/CEO revealed, has led to new investments in the soft cereal sub-segment, which is expected to experience continuous growth, as it affords consumers the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of nutritional products that suit their preferences.
“We are committed to the sustainable socio-economic development of Nigeria by expanding our investments, continuous product innovation, and being competitive,” he added.
The good news for local suppliers is that FMN appears poised to remain a leading light in growing the local economy through its backward integration programs, given the GMD’s assurance that the company will keep its focus on local content development to strengthen the capacity of domestic suppliers: “...this is rooted in our responsible business approach, backward integration investments, and strategic partnership with the Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN).”
The company reportedly scaled its local procurement process by spending 30.55% of its 2020 procurement budget on local vendors who constitute 95% of total suppliers.
The Group’s backward integration programs have also continued to catalyze value in the supply chain while cutting down dependence on imported raw materials.
With about ten thousand hectares of sugarcane plantation and one of the most advanced sugar refineries in the world, FMN has boosted the local production of sugar for domestic, commercial, and industrial uses. Its Golden Penny Sugar is processed from sugarcane grown at the Sunti Golden Sugar Estates.
Through its out-grower schemes, FMN model farms are engaged all year round in the supply of animal feeds, edible oil, and food value chains with the finest quality of agricultural raw materials.
The Group has notably demonstrated environmental responsibility within its operational ecosystem, in activities that cut across producing sustainable packaging solutions, managing waste, and optimizing energy efficiency.
Industrial waste and by-products are recycled to prevent entry into the waste stream to reduce the environmental footprint. Reportedly, about N257.76m was saved through recycling packaging materials.
Driven by the commitment to control its carbon footprint and embed energy efficiency, heat recovery systems were installed on some of the company’s production sites, saving 488,160GJ worth of energy during the reporting period.
In giving back to society, FMN has reportedly invested about 3.5 billion Naira on CSR projects, donations, and COVID-19 interventions between 2020 and 2021. This represents 13.6% of its Profit after Tax which significantly exceeded the company’s initial budget by about 861%, driven by a spontaneous response to COVID-19.
As the Group’s Chairman Mr. John George Coumantaros explained, “Reflecting on the year 2020 and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people, businesses, and communities across the world, we have seen how this has brought to fore, the interrelatedness of the economic, social, and environmental pillars of sustainability. Even at this critical time in our history, FMN has exhibited resilience despite the growing and ever more complex challenges we face. We are thankful to all our stakeholders for the unflinching support. Our resolve and successes during the year give me a renewed confidence that our best years remain ahead, as we remain committed to sustainability priorities across our entire business operations.”