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Malt Drink Market Grows in Nigeria

04 April 2013

In Nigeria malta drinks account for just shy of one-fifth of total carbonates volumes according to Canadean research. It is the third most popular flavor ahead of lemon-lime, making it a key part of the carbonates category in Nigeria.

Malta is a non-alcoholic beverage produced by brewers in a process under which wort is brewed before caramel is added to provide the characteristic brown color. Vitamins are then added, before carbon dioxide is injected and then the final process is pasteurization. Guinness Malta (Diageo) and Maltina (Heineken) are the major brands; Guinness Malta was first produced in Nigeria in 1990, whilst Maltina has an even longer heritage. Both products are well-established in the market with a widespread following aided by strong marketing of their locally sourced ingredients. The third largest brand is Amstel (Heineken) which has a slightly smaller presence, but is popular as a premium low sugar malt drink.

Guinness Malta and Amstel have both grown consistently over the last few years, whereas Maltina took a stumble in 2009 but has since been back on the growth track. Guinness Malta also launched a low sugar version in 2012 to fit in with the health-consciousness trend.  According to Canadean, Nigeria is the third largest malta market ranking behind Venezuela and Colombia.  In Venezuela malta is a popular children’s beverage regularly found in school lunch boxes as a healthy energy source. Likewise in Colombia it is the healthiness of malta compared to ‘mainstream’ carbonates that is the product’s main attraction.  In Nigeria malta is additionally used as a substitute for alcohol and is regularly found amongst the drinks provided at social gatherings.

Malta is very much a part of the Nigerian culture and commands big sponsorship contracts. For instance Arsenal Football Club in 2012 chose Guinness Malta to be the official malt drink of the club in Nigeria for the next three years. The Amstel brand has strong connections with Nollywood.

Flavored malt-based drinks are also available on the market. These differ from malta in that they are unfermented non-alcoholic carbonates containing malt, sugar, malted barley and flavoring. There is only one malt-based drink on the market at present that is substantial enough to calculate volume, Heineken’s Fayrouz.  Having only entered the market in 2006 its volumes have steadily grown but it has not reached the height of malta drinks. Fayrouz is popular in Middle Eastern countries as an alternative to alcohol, with its golden color and foamy head it shares a similar look.

Unlike malta where the predominant flavor is malt, Fayrouz comes in two flavors (pear and pineapple) both of which at present are exclusive to the brand in Nigeria. The brand targeting young adults, is very much aimed at being the adult soft drink alternative to alcohol.

Malta producers are big players in the carbonates market; according to Canadean’s research Guinness Malta is the fifth most popular soft drinks brand. The reach of Diageo and Heineken is vital in the success of malt drinks. Heineken currently heads up both the malta and malt-based drinks markets thanks to its ownership of the Maltina, Amstel and Fayrouz brands. Canadean’s latest Nigeria Soft Drinks Market Insight report offers the latest analysis on the performance of malta and malt-based drinks in 2012 and growth potential going forward.

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