Driven by both the limited availability of value-added products in Nigeria and keen desire to promote locally-sourced premium products, Drs Teju and Funke Bolujoko, Directors of RUCH Investment & Manufacturing (RUCHIM), combining expertise in their Chemical Engineering and Public Health, established the multi-award winning company twelve years ago to produce 100% natural herbal wellness teas.
The Nigerian company sources its raw materials like ginger, hibiscus, moringa, and turmeric from out-growers and cooperatives of widows and mothers in need of flexible income. To ensure that the raw materials it receives are of the best quality, RUCHIM obtained NAFDAC certification and other standards certifications and conducts site visits to its suppliers to ensure their compliance with quality standards.
Since joining the SheTrades Commonwealth programme in 2019, Dr Funke Bolujoko has attended nine SheTrades trainings, webinars, and on-site workshops on topics such as supply chain management, export market strategy development, export quality management, standards and sustainability, and food safety for the spices sector.
As a result of the above trainings, Dr Bolujoko decided not only to market her products as a Fast-Moving Consumer Good (FCMG) but also as a key component in the functional-food supply chain while the company has remodelled its product packaging to contain 20 sachets – as found in many other tea packages globally.
In addition to taking part in capacity building activities under the UK DFID-funded programme, RUCHIM also participated in two international trade fairs - ANUGA 2019 and Food Ingredients Europe (FIE) 2019. Both trade shows were crucial in helping the company break into the global stage.
From ANUGA, Dr Bolujoko met representatives of Shoprite and subsequently received her first order from this highly esteemed supermarket chain. The Nigerian company now distributes its Master Tea to 25 supermarket outlets across Nigeria – and second orders are already streaming in!.
Further, after following up on a lead from FIE 2019, RUCHIM entered into a local partnership with FoodCo for retailing and distribution. RUCHIM also received several requests for partnerships on private labelling and bulk exports from Croatia, France, Switzerland, and the UK.
With the expansion of this business, the Company hired an electrical engineer graduate from the National Youth Service Scheme to join her team for the next year.
“By the grace of God, I believe it is the beginning of greater things to come because of the visibility the Master Tea products had received from exhibiting under the SheTrades pavilion at the two international fairs,” said Dr Funke Bolujoko.