After the global COVID-19 pandemic broke out early this year, many businesses found themselves stranded in unfamiliar territory. This was particularly after the government issued directives to limit movement and interactions; a decision that was necessary to minimize the spread of the disease.

Subsequently, each business had to figure out how to survive and keep afloat, while minimizing the exposure of its employees and customers.

At Farmers Choice Ltd (FCL), the leading producer of fresh and processed meats, the story has not been any different. The company’s extensive supply chain, distributed among retail outlets, fast foods, and the Horeca industry – hotels, restaurants, and cafés – were adversely affected as soon as the government imposed a nationwide curfew, ordered the closure of restaurants, and limited travel.

Farmer’s Choice had to quickly figure out a way of staying afloat, especially after it became apparent that COVID-19 would be around for much longer than initially imagined. It was time to reconfigure the business; time to re-strategize!

For starters, the challenges notwithstanding, production did not stop. Farmer’s Choice Director of Sales and Marketing, Felisters Gitau, braved up to the situation. Together with her team, they ‘birthed’ an idea, known as the Kwa Estate initiative that would see the company delivering fresh products directly to customers’ homes. The Direct to Consumer (D2C) model was quickly adopted to reach the millions of Kenyans who were not visiting the malls or restaurants at the time.

“With the turn of events, we had to think quickly. With the Direct to Consumer model, we would target consumers at the comfort of their homes. While we are largely a B2B company, this was the right time to employ the D2C model through the Kwa Estate campaign that has since been a tremendous success.” Felisters explains.

It took the collective effort of the team, who invested in technology, particularly digital spaces, to advertise and market FCL products across social media platforms. In addition, the company partnered with a delivery company to offer free deliveries to consumers who used this service. This became a worthwhile value addition.

“So far, this partnership is paying off. We are however exploring different ways to get quality products to the end consumer amid the pandemic while meeting our business objectives,” says Felisters.

Looking back five months ago, Felisters is glad that the collaborative team effort paid off. Sometimes all a business needs is to take a leap with any viable ideas. It pays to be agile and quick to adopt. Now as movement gradually opens up, the future is promising. Importantly, the challenge has enabled FCL to discover a profitable alternative business approach.

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