Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is looking to phase out the production and sale of alcoholic drinks in sachets and small bottles by 2023/2024. NAFDAC and Ministry of Health officials have also met alcoholics drinks company executives and urged the distillers’ association to reduce the level of alcohol drinks in sachets.
The ban will be implemented in phases. NAFDAC will not register any new products in sachet and small volume PET or glass bottles above 30% ABV. From January 31st, 2021, producers of alcohol in sachets and small volume PET and glass bottles will have to reduce production by 50% of capacity.
Popular brands, which sell for upwards of N30 for a 25ml or 30ml sachet ($0.07), include Captain Jack rum (43% ABV), Bull and Chelsea gins (43% ABV), Seaman’s schnapps (40% ABV), Action bitters and DeRok liqueur.
The ban is designed to promote more responsible consumption of alcohol and to help cut underage drinking. The removal of alcohol in sachets will also serve to raise the price point of alcohol.
As purchasing power has been squeezed, many Nigerian consumers have shifted from beer to cheap bitters and spirits. This process has also seen several manufacturers increase production of alcohol in sachets since 2017/2018.
Bitters are a relatively new addition to the market, first introduced by Ghana’s Kasapreko Company with its Alomo brand. Since then, several spirits distillers and brewers have launched their own brands – most notably Guinness Nigeria’s (Diageo) Origin and Nigerian Breweries’ Ace Roots. Alomo alone sells more than 15m bottles a year in Nigeria.
The sachets, which cost half the price of popular snacks, are especially popular with taxi drivers, bus drivers and motorbike riders as a pick-me-up and marketing is often modelled on energy drinks. Many consume 5 or more sachets a day and some consume 2o sachets a day.
Sachets of alcohol have already been banned in Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania and Uganda.