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Hub workshop - Accessing the U.S. specialty food market

Published on March 01, 2016

The United States has the largest specialty food market in the world, welcoming more than 40,000 new products every year.  To help Kenyan entrepreneurs learn more about this market and avenues for entry, including access to finance, the Hub hosted a Specialty Food Workshop on March 1 at its office in Nairobi.  The theme was maximizing opportunities under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). More than 30 specialty food companies attended. peptang.jpgPeptang pili pili sauces - ready for export

The meeting was great and very informative; this training means growth in my business in terms of access to finance and opportunities under AGOA, said Otieno Okello of Grand Bridge Limited.

Are you ready to export?

Here are a few of the key takeaways from the seminar –

Consider your management and personnel – you will mostly likely need a staff member dedicated to the U.S. market. Ideally this person has international expertise.

Assess your production – do you have available capacity and reliable raw material sources? Do you have proper packing material with consistent quality control and the ability to be specification compliant? Do you have the right certifications?

How’s your cash flow? Can you carry receivables for 90 days? Do you have enough packaging material for minimum orders? Know your costs.

Did you tick all the boxes?

Next, what market do you want to enter?

  • Industrial
    • Easy entry
    • Bulk packaging (low cost)
    • Quality control requirements are somewhat easier
    • Could be big volume
  • Food service
    • Higher value-added
    • Low-cost packing
    • Barriers of entry are high, with tight specs and standards
  • Retail – branded or private


  • Costly packaging
  • Slotting, couponing, demos etc
  • No guarantee
  • Branding protection


  • Low-cost packaging
  • No advertising
  • Lower prices
  • Sustainability through strong relationships

Do you have it all covered? Contact us.