The Tanzanian Food Wholesale and Retail report examines current conditions and the business environment which is complicated and remains a major drawback to investment in the formal retail sector. Profiles are provided for foreign retailers such as South African brands Game and Fruit and Veg City, Botswana’s Choppies and Nakumatt, Kenya’s largest food retailer, which bought three former Shoprite stores, two in Dar es Salaam and one in Arusha in a deal worth US$45.5m in 2015. Local brands including TSN Supermarket Ltd, Shoppers, Shrijees and Mbenzi Fresh Supermarket are also profiled in this report.
The Tanzanian Food wholesale and Retail Sector
Tanzania lacks a formal retail shopping culture and it is estimated that up to 90% of food sales occur through traditional small stores, street vendors and unregulated markets. Since the 1990s there has been some growth in formal wholesale and retail of food in major towns and cities where supermarkets tend to serve largely expatriate and middle class communities, often with a range of products imported from Kenya, Dubai, India and Europe.
A Challenging Environment
Although Tanzania is the second-largest economy in the East African Community (EAC) and the twelfth-largest in Africa, estimates are that 37% of people in gainful employment still fall below the poverty line. A high level of corruption, bureaucracy and complicated land rights poorly protect investors and act as a deterrent to investors establishing operations in the country. Given the vast geographical area of Tanzania and the lack of transport infrastructure, supermarkets are confronted with distribution problems. Moving goods is prohibitively expensive and it is often cheaper to import through the port at Dar es Salaam than to transport goods by road. It is also difficult to consistently source goods that are of good quality and in sufficient quantities as domestic farmers and suppliers tend to be informal and unregulated.