Vimal Shah’s Vision: How BIDCO Africa Became East Africa’s FMCG Giant

In the world East African business, few companies have achieved the prominence and success of BIDCO Africa. From its humble beginnings, BIDCO has grown into a household name, providing essential products that cater to millions of consumers across the region. This article delves into the story of BIDCO Africa, exploring its origins, the vision of its founders, the wide array of products it offers, its strategic joint ventures, and the key milestones that have marked its journey to becoming East Africa's FMCG giant.

What is BIDCO?

BIDCO Africa is a leading consumer goods manufacturer, headquartered in Thika, Kenya. The company was established in 1985 by Bhimji Depar Shah as a soap company. Later, it expanded its operations across East Africa. With additional facilities in Uganda and Tanzania, BIDCO's reach extends throughout the region, making it a critical player in the FMCG (Fastest Moving Consumer Goods)industry.

Founders and Their Vision

Bhimji Depar Shah, a Kenyan industrialist of Indian descent, founded Bidco Group. His entrepreneurial spirit laid the groundwork for the company's future success. Bhimji's sons - Tarun and Vimal Shah, transformed Bidco into a regional powerhouse. With the support of his sons, Shah remains deeply passionate about Bidco, actively supervising processes and managing executive recruitment. Vimal Shah later took the reins and propelled BIDCO to new heights. His leadership has been characterized by a relentless pursuit of innovation, quality, and sustainability.

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Vision and Mission

Bidco Africa aspires to be the first transnational corporation born and based in Africa, earning the unwavering loyalty of consumers. Their products resonate deeply with everyday people, making a remarkable impact on their lives. They are committed to positively influencing the community and environment every day, fostering sustainable and inclusive growth.

The vision of BIDCO's founders was to create a company that not only provided high-quality products to daily consumers but also contributed to the economic development of East Africa. Their mission was to establish a business that could compete on a global scale while remaining rooted in local communities. This vision has driven BIDCO's growth and expansion, ensuring that it remains a leader in the FMCG sector.

Bidco's mission is to promote happy, healthy living and a natural, wholesome lifestyle for all its consumers through its health-preserving and life-enhancing products. The organization is dedicated to continual renewal to ensure that our people, structures, products, facilities, systems, and partnerships remain vibrant and adaptable.

Products Manufactured at BIDCO

With a portfolio of more than 50 brands, Bidco Africa has expanded its offerings beyond Edible Oils & Fats, Hygiene, and Personal Care products to include the Food and Beverages category. The company now produces Noodles, Juices, and Carbonated Soft Drinks to meet the evolving needs of consumers.

Kitchen-Foods: BIDCO Africa's kitchen food products include a range of high-quality ingredients that cater to various cooking needs, ensuring consumers can prepare nutritious and delicious meals daily.

Beverages: BIDCO's beverages are crafted to cater to diverse tastes, providing refreshing and enjoyable drinks such as fruit juices, sodas, and packaged drinking water that adhere to high manufacturing standards for health and quality.

Oils: Renowned brands like Kimbo and Elianto offer pure and versatile cooking oils such as corn oil, sunflower oil, a blend of palm oil and sunflower oil, soybean oil, and also olive oil that support BIDCO's mission to promote healthy living through high-quality culinary products.

Fats: BIDCO's range of fats, including vegetable fats and margarine, are loaded with vitamins and are essential for baking, cooking, and spreading, offering taste and texture while supporting a balanced diet.

Baking Powder: BIDCO's baking powder is a reliable leavening agent with a controlled release of carbon dioxide in two stages that ensures light and fluffy baked goods, reflecting the company's dedication to quality and consistency.

Laundry- Detergents: BIDCO's laundry detergents, such as Dental Care Fabric Softener and Conditioner, provide gentle and effective cleaning while ensuring stain removal and fresh, clean clothes.

Laundry Soaps: Designed to tackle tough stains while maintaining fabric integrity, BIDCO's laundry soaps, such as BIDCO Creme Bar Soap, Nuru Multipurpose Soap, Msafi Bar Soaps, and Tiger Multipurpose Soap, offer a traditional yet effective cleaning solution for households.

Bath- Personal Care: BIDCO's personal care products, including bathing soaps like Pure Natural Soap, especially for Men, Gentle hand washes, and sanitisers, enhance daily hygiene routines with cleansing and moisturizing benefits for healthy skin.

Beauty: BIDCO's beauty products include Gaea Soothing Body Soap, which caters to the entire family's various skincare and grooming needs, focusing on enhancing natural beauty and promoting overall skin health.

Hygiene: BIDCO's hygiene products, such as Germonil toilet cleaner, Nuru Anionic-Action Dish Washing Liquid, and Nuru Scouring Powder, ensure high standards of cleanliness and health, protecting against germs and promoting overall hygiene for consumers.

Animal Feeds- Cattle Feed: BIDCO's cattle feed, such as High Yield Dairy Feed, is mainly fed to cattle that supply no less than 12 litres of milk by providing adequate calcium and phosphorous required for high milk production. Standard Dairy Feed is given to cattle with less than 10 litres of milk production, and Calf weaner meal is designed for use in a calf's early weaning stages, which provides essential nutrients for early rumen development and faster growth in calves less than 15 months of age, thereby supporting farmers.

Poultry Feed: Products such as Layers Mash, Ordinary Broilers Starters Mash, Kienyeji Mash, The Ordinary Broiler Finisher Mash, The Fast Grow Broiler Finisher Mash, and Growers Mash are all formulated to meet the nutritional needs of poultry at different stages of growth, ensuring healthy growth and high productivity, contributing to successful poultry farming.

Sow Meal: BIDCO's Sow and Weaner Meal and Pig Finishing Meal supports the dietary requirements of sows, promoting their health and reproductive efficiency, thereby aiding farmers in effective livestock management.

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Joint Ventures and Expansions

BIDCO Africa has engaged in several joint ventures to enhance its market presence and product offerings. These partnerships have been instrumental in expanding the company's reach and capabilities. Some notable joint ventures include:

  • A joint venture with Land O'Lakes, a leading American agricultural cooperative. This partnership has strengthened BIDCO's dairy product line.
  • Collaborates with local farmers and agricultural organizations to ensure a steady supply of raw materials for their products.
  • BIDCORO Africa Limited is a joint venture between BIDCO Africa Limited and Co-Ro Food, a Danish soft drinks manufacturer. This partnership was established to create and provide high-quality beverage products for the East African market.
  • Bidco Oil Refineries, Kenya's premier refiner and manufacturer of edible oils, fats, and soaps, is broadening its footprint across Africa. To support this growth, Bidco has acquired an additional 30 iBaan licenses from Softworx, the exclusive distributor of the iBaan product range in South Africa and Africa, to enhance its operations in Kenya and expand into Tanzania.
  • Bidco Africa Ltd. has expanded its product range to include beverages equipped with two complete lines from Krones. To meet evolving consumer preferences and maintain cost-effective production, Bidco has pioneered the installation of a NitroHotfill line, making it the first beverage producer in Kenya to meet both demands effectively.
  • BIDCO's strategic market expansion has played a crucial role in its growth. The company has established a strong presence in 17 African countries, such as Central Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa, and continues to explore new markets. Their distribution network ensures their products reach even the most remote areas, making BIDCO a household name across the region.

These joint ventures have not only expanded BIDCO's product portfolio but also contributed to the company's sustainability goals. By working closely with local farmers and international partners, BIDCO has ensured a consistent supply chain and improved the livelihoods of many in the agricultural sector.

Timeline of Product Manufacturing

Early Years (1985-1990): BIDCO started its operations with a single product line: soap manufacturing in Nairobi. The success of their initial products laid the foundation for future expansion.

1991: During this period, BIDCO Oil Refineries Ltd. was established in Thika and diversified its product offerings to include edible oils and margarine. The introduction of brands like Golden Fry and Kimbo marked the company's entry into the food sector.

1998: BIDCO acquired the Elianto Seed Crushing plant in Nakuru.

2001:Bidco Tanzania Oil and Soap was officially launched

2002: Several popular brands, including Kimbo, Cowboy, Veebol, and Tiger laundry bar, were acquired.

2003: The Bidco Refinery Project in Dar-es-Salaam and Bidco Uganda were established.

2005:The Jinja Complex was commissioned, marking the official launch of Bidco Uganda Limited, the oil palm plantation in Uganda.

2007: BIDCO set a new standard in fortification by inaugurating the Fractionation Plant, solidifying its position as a pioneer in the industry.

2009: A cutting-edge soap manufacturing plant was inaugurated alongside the commencement of animal feed production in Nakuru.

2010: The COGEN plant was officially commissioned.

2016: A modern detergent manufacturing facility was constructed, featuring state-of-the-art technology.

2017: Bidco Industrial Park was officially launched.

2018: PET Plant was commissioned. Bidco also launched its beverages plant in collaboration with Monarch Beverages, introducing a bottler partnership that includes brands such as Planet Soda, Planet Aqua water, Bubble Up, and American Cola.

How Vimal Shah's Vision for BIDCO Made It East Africa's FMCG Giant

Vimal Shah's visionary leadership focused on innovation, quality, and sustainability, transforming BIDCO Africa into East Africa's FMCG giant.

Strategic Vision and Leadership

Vimal Shah's leadership has been pivotal in transforming BIDCO into East Africa's FMCG giant. His strategic vision focused on innovation, quality, and sustainability has driven the company's growth. Under his guidance, BIDCO has adopted best practices in manufacturing and business operations, ensuring they remain competitive in a dynamic market.

Vision 2030: To Grab, Grow, and Sustain the No. 1 market share in the African markets by 2030.

Commitment to Quality

BIDCO's commitment to quality is evident in every product they manufacture. The company adheres to stringent quality control measures, ensuring all its products meet the highest standards. This dedication to quality has earned BIDCO the trust and loyalty of millions of consumers across East Africa.

Innovation and Adaptation

Innovation has been at the core of BIDCO's success. The company continuously adapts to changing market trends and consumer preferences. Their investment in research and development has enabled them to introduce new and innovative products that cater to a diverse consumer base.

Sustainability Initiatives

BIDCO Africa is committed to sustainability and environmental stewardship. The company has implemented several initiatives to reduce its environmental impact, including:

  • Eco-friendly Packaging: BIDCO has introduced biodegradable and recyclable packaging for many of its products.
  • Renewable Energy: The company has invested in renewable energy sources to power its manufacturing facilities.
  • Water Conservation: BIDCO has implemented water conservation measures to reduce water usage and ensure sustainable water management.

Community Engagement

BIDCO's success is also attributed to its strong engagement with local communities. The company has initiated several programs aimed at improving the livelihoods of people in the regions where they operate. These programs include:

  • Farmer Support Programs: BIDCO works closely with local farmers, providing them with training and resources to improve their yields and income.
  • Educational Initiatives: The company supports educational initiatives that benefit children and young adults in local communities.
  • Healthcare Programs: BIDCO has implemented healthcare programs to improve the health and well-being of its employees and the surrounding communities.
  • Supporting Sports: Bidco Africa sponsors Bidco United Football Club, a Kenyan association football club in the Kenyan National Super League. Additionally, in November 2017, Bidco Africa was revealed as the official sponsor for both the Kenya national rugby sevens team and the Kenya Lionesses Women's Rugby Sevens team.

Bidco Africa's Recognitions and Achievements

  • Recipient of the EABC Business Excellence Awards 2018: Bidco Africa was honoured as the winner of the EABC Business Excellence Awards in 2018.
  • Winner of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Energy Management Awards (EMA): Bidco Africa was crowned the overall champion of this year's KAM Energy Management Awards after achieving savings of Kshs 102 million through energy efficiency projects in the past year.
  • Selected as Superbrand East Africa's Choice 2020-2022: Bidco Africa was voted as the preferred choice in East Africa as a Superbrand for the years 2020 to 2022.

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BIDCO group's commitment to community engagement and environmental stewardship further underscores its role as a responsible corporate citizen. As BIDCO Africa continues to grow and evolve, it remains a shining example of what can be achieved through visionary leadership and a steadfast commitment to excellence.


What is the market share of Bidco?

Bidco holds a significant market share in various sectors, including edible oils, fats, hygiene, and personal care products, solidifying its position as a key player in the FMCG industry across East Africa. However, specific market share figures may vary depending on the product category and geographic region.

What are the raw materials for Bidco?

Bidco utilizes a range of raw materials sourced locally and internationally, including palm oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, coconut oil, and various other vegetable oils for its edible oils and fats products. Additionally, ingredients such as chemicals, fragrances, and natural extracts are used in the production of hygiene and personal care items.

What is the revenue of Bidco?

Bidco's revenue varies annually and is influenced by factors such as market demand, economic conditions, and business strategies.

Komala Rudra

Komala Rudra is a devoted mother and author who explores children's behavior and nutrition, offering valuable insights and practical guidance for parents and caregivers. Her writings aim to nurture healthy habits and stronger connections between parents and their little ones.

1 Comment

  1. Indeed BIDCO has come from far to meet the only one objective of making a happy healthy leaving populace across East Africa and the world in the as seen very bright beyond the horizon that soon we will conguer the world.
    Through Bidco economic,social and spiritual lives of people have really improved,me being among the beneficiaries i will confess without doubt how i joined Bidco in 2007,and how my live has positively changed.
    Live Long our founder father Bidshah,our chair man Dr Vimal and TBS.

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