In the course of the last 25 years, the diet style of Nigerian consumers has changed dramatically. In addition to the increased craving for more nourishing food and drinks, there is also a high demand for better packaged consumer products.
The likes of Krest lemon drink, Pako, Okin and Bakers biscuits, Planta margarine and many others used to be at the top of ‘to get’ list of food items that Nigerians purchased in the market.
These days, however, they are no longer seen on the shelves, not to talk of finding their way into the homes of consumers. This could be due to reasons such as poor media publicity, failed re-branding, consumer rejection, among others. Some of the consumer products from the days of yore, which have surprisingly disappeared from the Nigerian markets include:
1. Planta Margarine
Just like many Nigerians would call every toothpaste ‘Macleans’, and every noodles brand, ‘Indomie’, many consumers referred to every margarine brand as ‘Planta’. In fact, I still know of an aged woman in my neighborhood who even now describes any kind of margarine brand as planta.
Planta, a creamy butter margarine produced by Lever Brothers Nigeria Plc, was one of the best brands of margarines back in the day.
According to Mrs Titilayo Fagbola, a food vendor at Abule Egba, Lagos, Planta was a brand to beat back then, as it was widely accepted among kids, youths and even the elderly.
“Planta was loved by almost everyone. In fact, its high level of acceptance was visible among kids as any child without Planta Margarine on his/her bread would not find the school interesting,” she said.
Titilayo added that of all the Nigerian brands that have gone moribund, she misses Planta the most.
Now, we have Blue Band by Unilever, Costa Margarine, Moore, Star, Topper Margarines, etc, dominating the market and sending our dear Planta into extinction.
2. Oxford Cabin Family Biscuit
You really must be an ‘under-20’ if you don’t consider Oxford cabin as a popular biscuit back in those days.
A popular brand from the stable of the Niger Biscuit Company Limited, Oxford cabin once came in a rectangular flat box. This box usually contained 100 biscuits or thereabout. I remember how my mum would buy a pack and share, whenever she hosted her Osusu meetings. In fact, owing to the plenteous pieces sealed inside its carton, Cabin biscuit was the snack of choice at kids’ birthday party, naming ceremonies and teenagers’ outing, as it’s likely to serve a crowd of people. Although, the biscuit is still available in the market – now as Yale Cabin Biscuit, but Delli cabin, a biscuit made by the Delli Food Nigeria, is giving our dear old time favourite Cabin biscuit a run for its popularity.
3. Bongo Tea
Mr Bimbo Aruwajoye, a computer programmer and father of two, while speaking with CobraReview said “Bongo used to be my tea back in those days. The tea was very rich in taste and contents. I could drink bongo morning and night. I really miss Bongo, I must confess.”
Bongo cocoa tea, according to some respondents who spoke with CobraReview, was the best in its days with an inviting aroma and superb taste. This tea was popular in Nigeria and even beyond. But it could not stand the test of time when many black teas like Lipton, Top tea and others came into the market with well packaged tea bags and purchase driven publicity. Aside that, the new generation of Nigerians prefer cocoa beverages like Milo, Bournvita etc to black tea. Although, re-branding could have revived it, but the importation of the tea was stopped due to what the importers referred to as excessive import duties by the Nigerian government.
4. Krest Bitter Lemon
Introduced in the year 1997 by the Coca-Cola Company, Krest bitter lemon is a carbonated soft drink flavoured with quinine and lemon. It tasted exactly like Schweppes, but people sometimes confuse its taste with that of ‘Tonic Water’. Although, originally made to perform regular lemon juice functions such as; promoting hydration, supporting weight loss, aiding digestion, etc, the drink however, gained popularity among Nigerians as it was believed to have contraceptive properties. Bukola Dakolo’s recent rape allegation against Pastor Fatoyinbo is a testament to this effect.
Krest was popular for a while as an alternative to Schweppes bitter lemon, but its popularity was short lived and by mid 2000s, people barely heard of or saw the product again.
From the stables of Cadbury, Trebor was a brand of peppermints rolled in packs. Before the existence of sugar coated sweet/candy in the market today, Trebor was the choice of consumers and it was even used as cough expectorant, either to be consumed directly or dissolved in water.
Trebor, playfully called Tire’nbo (Yours is coming) by some Yoruba people, used to be the first name on everyone’s lips when one had cough or catarrh. I could remember, I would rush to a kiosk to get a pack for N20 whenever I had a dry mouth, then I would jokingly mutter thus: ‘Trebor has been saving lives since man’s existence.
As mighty as the brand appeared, the product went away many years back. Although, re-branded some years ago, it’s quite unfortunate Trebor, couldn’t get to the heart of consumers like it was back then, as the likes of Mentos, Star Bites, Trident, Sweet Stribes, etc have flooded the peppermint market.
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