Meat Processing Industry: Fresh Cuts to Remain the Best Producer of Quality Meat in Uganda

Amos Tindyebwa discusses the impacts of COVID-19 on the meat industry in Uganda and presents Fresh Cuts Limited, the leader in the meat processing industry, offering its products and services to clients within Uganda and all over East and Central Africa. He also mentions some projects he wishes to accomplish before the end of the year.

Interview with Amos Tindyebwa, Managing Director of Fresh Cuts Limited

Amos Tindyebwa, Managing Director of Fresh Cuts Limited

Have you seen new opportunities or implemented new strategies as a result of COVID-19?

Generally, there has been a change of environment in big business in Uganda because of the changing global business landscape arising out of COVID-19. We as a business have had to adjust our plans and strategies going forward in light of the realities of COVID-19. First, COVID-19 affected our industry-wide production levels. We had to cut down on staff, we had to cut down on the intensity of business activities, and we had to go into lockdown for some time. But because we are providing an essential service, we had to reopen the factory again, but still working on a very small scale as guided by the SOP (standard operating procedures) of COVID-19 issued by the government of Uganda. We have had some challenges meeting some of our targets. Firstly, there was a sudden collapse of the consumer base. There was also a sudden interruption of the raw material supply both locally and globally and we are operating within both the local and the global value chain for supplies. So, our source of raw materials from Europe was interrupted. Our source of raw materials in Uganda was also interrupted. This was not only because of COVID-19 per se, but because the general business environment was difficult in that the consumer, the distribution, and the general marketing environment was not favorable. Nonetheless, COVID-19 also presented us with very good opportunities. We have learned to understand that business is not about how many opportunities are presented to you, but how efficient you are as a business. For the food industry, there are quite great opportunities with or without COVID. As a company, we have had to adjust our operations. We had to reduce the number of employees by more than 60% with the core focus on the staff that are on the production line. What we used to achieve with over 100 staff, we are now able to achieve with 30 staff. We have been able to survive and that is why we will have a quick recovery.

Will you expect to turn a profit this year?

First of all, efficiency definitely brings profits. Our sales may have gone down, but the overall profit margin has remained high. Sales margins went down because the consumer base was locked down. COVID-19 has even increased our reputation that Fresh Cuts remains the best producer of quality meat and it will remain the market leader for the foreseeable future. Even at a regional level, we have remained more competitive and we shall remain leading the industry. We still command the market substantially because most of the inefficient producers have fallen down. Those who are not meeting the standards will fall out. The best thing is that COVID-19 has brought into the spotlight hygiene in the food industry that we have been promoting for the last 15 years. While others are beginning to learn to promote hygiene in the sector, we are perfecting our game. We are 20 years ahead of every enterprise in food processing, in meat particularly.

What projects do you hope to accomplish before the end of the year?

We have developed an online platform for marketing our products. We will be launching an online app before the end of this month where you can directly purchase our products from your laptop, your Android or your Apple phone and they will be delivered to your home or to your place of work or to your hotel. We have already been partnering with Jumia, which is an online platform, but we have to pay them a commission. So, we have had to develop our own online platform and reduce the cost of hiring an independent platform. So, we shall be doing it ourselves. We have our own delivery vehicles and they can deliver the goods to the customer following standard operating procedures for COVID-19. We also have to reduce contact with people as well as the number of people coming to our shops for meat. We project that we will be able to save over 15,000 USD every month on home deliveries. We are also rebranding our packaging and our presentation in the market. There have been many counterfeits in the market, even during COVID-19. So, we want to rebrand so that we can prevent these counterfeit meats from reaching the market. These counterfeit products present themselves as Fresh Cuts because they know we have a command in the market and we have acceptance in the market as a clean, hygienic, and quality producer. We hope to achieve this before the end of November and we are already in the high stages of rebranding.


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