Retail in Ivory Coast: Fresh food not so fresh in Ivory Coast


While food demand remained strong in 2020, inflation made fresh food items less affordable

  • The food industry remained resilient amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Demand for flour dropped 6 points while demand for nuts/dried fruit rose 6 points in 2020.

  • Retailers in the fresh food categories to expect a volatility in the demand whereas non-fresh food categories expected to see sustained demand in 2021.

The food industry remained resilient amidst the Covid-19 pandemic

The food sector in Ivory Coast is one of the largest sectors in the country’s economy. It also contributes to around 44% of Africa’s Agricultural Finance. The covid-19 pandemic posed as a threat to most Africans due to the uncertainties it brought with it. The general purchasing power of Africans decreased. Though the purchasing power decreased, Africans still needed food for survival and effectively curb the virus. As such the food industry could not collapse totally though there were a number of discrepancies in demand among different food categories.

According to Kasi, Purchase Momentum Index is a measure of consumer demand for consumer goods such as food, beverages, etc., the pandemic changed purchase behavior in Ivory Coast. The index ranges from a low to a high value, a low reading means the categories are not in demand while a high value means there is too much demand for the product. The index is built from primary data collected via a tracker done by Kasi Insights from April 2020 to December 2020. For a brand or a category manager, this measure is a proxy to capture incremental demand for retail categories within a given period.


Demand for flour dropped 6 points while demand for nuts/dried fruit rose 6 points in 2020

There were a number of food categories that experienced a decline in their purchase momentum; traditional food, flour, fresh fruits and vegetables. These foods were doing well in April but the COVID19 shock made their demand among consumers to decrease.

Traditional foods momentum dropped by 3 points. This was attributed to the fact that most households had enough time to plant their foods hence the demand for such products dropped.

Consequently, the demand for fresh fruits and vegetables also declined by 2 points; this may be attributed to the fact that most Africans deem fruits as a luxury with them taking them occasionally. With the effects of the pandemic rising and people losing their jobs, affording some of these luxuries was difficult. Flour was the most impacted food item. In April it was doing fairly well but with the effects of the pandemic it declined by 6 points. This was because commodity prices shot high as suppliers were also trying to gain from the little that they were receiving from consumers. Additionally, Africans preferred grinding their own flour as it was cheaper than purchasing the processed ones.

Covid19 changed consumer behavior in various ways with people picking up habits that were ignored. For example, before the pandemic Ivorians rarely took breakfast, during the pandemic their perspective changed which was seen by the increase in demand for breakfast items by 4 points.

Canned fish demand also increased, though before the pandemic people were purchasing it, during the pandemic more of it was needed. Canned foods are usually deemed as ‘durable’ and as such may last longer compared to other foods like fresh meat. Consequently, nuts and dried fruits also experienced an increase in their purchase momentum by 6 points. This highlights the fact that during the pandemic, Ivorians preferred foods that would last longer.

Retailers in the fresh food categories to expect a volatility in the demand whereas non-fresh food categories expected to see sustained demand in 2021 

With the effects of the pandemic, consumers prefer ‘durable’ food categories. This may be attributed to the fact that stocking non-fresh foods is easier than fresh foods. Fresh foods tend to go bad easily and have a limited lifespan which was quite discouraging for consumers.

With the momentous decrease in Covid-19 restrictions imposed by various governments, life is getting back to normal for every consumer. The need to understand consumer behavior is paramount among retailers. This goes a long way in ensuring that whatever the retailers have on their shelves is likely to be purchased by consumers. Food constitutes of 70% of consumer budget in Africa and as such retailers need to pay keen attention to consumer behavior. In 2021 we are seeing continuous changes in consumer behavior as they adapt to the new normal, so it is critical for food retailers or managers to remain vigilant and get up to date data on the demand for their products.

Kasi Insight can provide you with such data and insights, which you will need to understand consumer behavior and how it impacts on your sales.

Contact our team today to explore how our consumer intelligence can empower your decision-making process. Win with confidence with Kasi insights

Recent posts

See all

Sandra Beldine Otieno

From Procrastination to Planning: Understanding Ugandan shoppers during this festive season

Wilson Busaka

Black Friday Reigns Supreme: Tunisia's Holiday Shopping Trends Exposed

Sandra Beldine Otieno

Brands in the personal and homecare space should harness the power of Millennials in Algeria.

Subscribe to our free newsletter