Elizabeth was born and raised on one of the first commercial family farms in the rural area of Northern-Western Kenya. Before entering entrepreneurship, she worked for global companies such as General Motors, Barry Callebaut, Alstom and AGCO in several countries including Finland, Hungary, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and Zambia. Elizabeth has a Master’s degree in Management from Ohio, USA.

Elizabeth Bischof

CEO, Bdelo Ltd

Business Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Type: Limited Liability Company
Year of Founding: 2010
CEO: Elizabeth Bischof

Mission: To be a market leader in the production of healthy and tasty foods and snacks

Vision: To nourish and delight our customers while contributing to the development of local opportunities

Business Model

In 2010, Elizabeth and her husband established Bdelo inspired by Mexican authentic food preparation traditions that she discovered while studying in the USA. The name Bdelo stands for Bischof Developing Local Opportunities, reflecting the company’s commitment to developing resources and adding value to the lives in the local community and in the company, while satisfying their customers. The company is intended to continue the legacy and heritage of Elizabeth’s family and community, while supporting rural development and progress. It aims at strengthening food security, value addition and commercialisation, as well as at creating a market for indigenous foods typically grown by women in rural communities.

Bdelo has grown to be a regional supplier of high quality healthy and tasty maize based foods and snacks, continuing Elizabeth’s family legacy and heritage as maize growers. It is an award-winning regional market leader in the production of healthy and tasty snacks

Relationship with Smallholders

Bdelo sources ingredients from smallholder farmers when possible, particularly women, and works closely with its suppliers. The company strives to empower local communities and grow with them sustainably. The Bdelo Development Team regularly visits the farms of their producers, and supports farmers in producing higher quantities and quality raw materials, while also assisting the farms to adopt the best hygiene standards.

Products Covered and Markets

Bdelo produces maize tortilla chips and tortillas that are 100% naturally seasoned, gluten and preservative free. These healthy snacks suit a vegetarian and HALAL diets.
Bdelo products are enhanced with Psyllium Husk which is a fiber supplement with numerous healthy effects, such as lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels, boosting satiety and supporting weight loss.

Bdelo’s products are continuously tested throughout processing to ensure the highest quality. Maize corn first undergo nixtamalization, a traditional maize preparation process (dried kernels are cooked and steeped in an alkaline solution, then drained and rinsed to remove the outer kernel cover, and milled to produce dough). This process provides several nutritional benefits, including increased bioavailability of vitamin B3 niacin and iron, dietary fiber and calcium intake, while significantly reducing the presence of mycotoxins (e.g. aflatoxins).

Bdelo range of products includes:

  • 100 % authentic Maize Tortillas Chips
  • Maize Tortilla Chips prepared with potatoes and spices
  • Super foods Maize Tortillas Chips prepared with highly nutritious indigenous seeds, herbs, vegetables and legumes
  • Bdelo also produces fresh masa dough and tortillas (available in 8 flavours) upon request.

Bdelo’s products can be found throughout Kenya in major supermarkets, as well as on the regional market (Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan and Burundi). In 2020, Bdelo started sampling in Saudi Arabia and their products are available online through their online shop specific for Middle East and other online vendors.

Bdelo products are certified Halal by the Kenya Bureau of Halal Certification. All products are free of artificial flavouring, Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and preservatives. All of their ingredients are stringently tested and the company applies strict international quality standards. The company continuously tests products during processing to ensure their quality.

Innovations: Milestones and Expansion Plans

Bdelo’s Middle East Marketing & Distribution office was established in 2019 to start introducing their products in this region. The company has developed a range of products that are adapted to the Middle East market, including by changing the packaging of the products. The versatility of Bdelo products ensure that they could be localized to meet the local, national or regional preferences in style and flavour.

By focusing on indigenous raw materials that have yet been little commercialised, Bdelo hopes to rise interest for indigenous products. This is hoped to lead to an increase income for farmers that grow these indigenous crops, and contribute to food security in the communities and throughout the region.

Success Factors and Lessons Learned

Bdelo has capitalized on global market opportunities and consumer trends that demand healthier food and gluten free products. Owing to their success, is the focus on the supply chain, and continued efforts for strengthening its integration. The company has also increased their focus on green and ‘climate smart’ crops that are resilient to climate change, notably millet, sweet potatoes, legumes and vegetables.

Since its creation, the company has continuously focusing on improving its marketing, including branding. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it also seized the opportunity of encouraging healthier lifestyles through their products and marketing.

Bdelo is cognizant of the prevalence of agriculture in their region, and through their agribusiness, they are stimulating foreign earning and job creation, contributing to the aspirations of their region and Kenya. Through their efforts, Bdelo is contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 1, 3, and 8: no poverty, good health and well-being, decent work and economic growth, respectively.

The company is the recipient of several accolades, including the Gold Award Snack of the Year and Winner of Best Ingredient Innovation at Africa Food Industry Excellence Awards Africa (Foodex), 2019.

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