The fan milk company, formerly known as the Ghana milk company, was established in 1962 (post-independence era) by Danish investors led by entrepreneur Erik Emborg.
Background of the Ghana Milk Company
On a rare trip to the Gold Coast, Erik Emborg decided to search for traders to expand his business. But then came up with the idea to set up the Ghana cold store in December 1959. After much thought and deliberation with eight shareholders, Erik decided to branch out and establish the Ghana Milk Company in 1960.
As the name implies, the main products the company dealt in was the production of pasteurized milk products including fresh milk packed in cartons. Schools, hospitals, shops, department stores formed part of The Ghana Milk Company’s target market.
Deliveries were largely made using bicycles equipped with containers to aid in ferrying the products to customers (The bicycles were popularly described as the ‘long John bicycles’).
Bankruptcy in the 1960’s
Unfortunately, sales dipped drastically for the company in that era due to the fact that their analysis of the market was inadequate.
They failed to account for the problem that came in the form of competitors from Holland, who dealt in similar dairy products such as caramel-tasting tinned milk (which Ghanaians preferred since they tasted better and could be stored longer than fresh milk).
As a result, the Ghana milk company was faced with the problem of not being able to sell its large quantity of products on the market. This led to a huge loss for the company and its investors. The Ghana Milk company was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1962 after losing its entire equity.
After the company had declared bankruptcy, Erik decided to leverage his remaining assets to secure a bank loan which he decided to invest into the company to have another ‘go’ at turning the company’s fortunes around.
New approach to take over the market
However, the shareholders at the time were still unconvinced so Erik offered to buy their shares which they gladly accepted. Even after gaining the remaining shares, the problem that remained for Erik was how to approach the market, and most importantly what to provide that would sell on the market.
To this end, a concerned Ghanaian employee proposed a fantastic idea to Erik Emborg. It dealt with diversifying and producing chocolate milk and ice cream products and also supplying vendors with plenty of ice blocks as a way of keeping the products chilled for consumption.
The employee who had done market research at the time promised Erik that venturing into this uncharted territory of the Ghanaian market would produce dividends for the company.
Rebranding to The Fan Milk Company Limited
Hereafter, the company decided to rebrand after a meeting between Erik and the executives. The company’s name was changed from The Ghana Milk Company to the Fan Milk Limited we have come to know and love today.
After the rebranding, the company’s fortunes changed in the space of eighteen months. Sales improved and the company gradually expanded and prospered on the Ghanaian market. On 2nd September of 1969, the shareholders passed a resolution to convert the company to a public limited liability company and increased authorized shares from 30,000 to 470.000 as a means to help it grow to unprecedented levels.
A wide range of products
Presently, Fan Milk limited is a subsidiary of DANONE which is a global diary manufacturer. Fan Milk limited currently specializes in the production and distribution of quality milk and fruit-based products.
The milk products currently produced consists of a range of frozen ice creams, frozen flavored milk and yoghurt drinks which are frozen, ambient or drinkable. The brands in this segment include: Fan Yogo, Fan Ice, Fan Choco, Fan Max, Super Yogo and Fan Ville. Other fruit-based products include fruit drinks and frozen lolly. Brands in this segment include FanDango and Fan Joy.
Fan Milk Limited produces all of its products under strict hygienic conditions and is certified by the Ghana Standards Authority and Ghana Foods and Drugs Authority.
Fan Milk Company Limited competitors
Despite being a market leader, Fan milk limited still has to contend in a market rife with competitors including: Otian Ventures, Ice cream Cones Ghana, Ice Joy Ghana Limited, Pinocchio Ghana, and Krunchy Crème amongst others.
While the Ghanaian market may be over saturated in this category with substitute products amidst competition, Fan Milk limited has remained at the forefront through innovation, proper market research and analysis as well as improved advertising.
Fan Milk Limited’s targeted consumers fall within both working and non-working classes. Within the targeted audience, there are no demographic barriers. The group targeted by the company would project the sales of dairy products to 70% of the general population with the other 30% being vegetarians and lactose intolerants whom the company’s fruit-based products would appeal more to.
New strategies for current times
Fan Milk limited compared to its competitors has numerous retail outlets around the country where it provides easy access of goods to the public. There are thousands of “long John” bicycles that go around selling to direct consumers as well as malls and shops that sell the products to shoppers.
The company also spends thousands of Ghana cedis annually on improved advertisement and campaigns that continue to raise awareness about existing products and new product lines. When it comes to the pricing strategy of its products, the company adapts the overall cost leadership where they implement the cost-plus pricing strategy.
Under this approach, the company tries to gain competitive advantage by having the lowest cost of operation and maximized efficiency of production. Basically, the company gains profit by adding a fixed markup percentage on the product’s unit cost (production). As a result, the company’s product lines prices differ as evidenced in the case of Fan Ice and Fan Yogo.
The Fan Milk Limited has received numerous recognitions over the past years for its performance on the market and its commitment to excellence. These awards include:
- CIMG Awards 2019. Category: Brand of the Year (Fan Yogo)
- AGI Awards (Association of Ghana Industries) 2013. Category: Best food and beverage, large scale company.
- AGI Awards 2013. Category: Overall best industrial company of the year.
- AGI Awards 2012. Category: Best food and beverage, large scale company.
- AGI Awards 2012. Category: Overall best industrial company of the year.
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