Bel brands continue to offer significant growth potential in markets where they are already sold and in new territories as well. One growth driver in emerging countries involves enhancing the accessibility of products for consumers out of reach of traditional distribution channels. With the Sharing Cities program, Bel uses alternative distribution channels supported primarily by street vendors, who are prevalent in Asia and Africa. The program has two aims :
- To improve the living standards of street vendors by offering free training services, health insurance and access to financing as part of a proposal to sell The Laughing Cow® ;
- To establish effective and enduring distribution networks for the Group.
In 2014, the street vendor program was rolled out in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with a pilot project also launched in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. In 2015, this innovative distribution model will be deployed in other cities in Africa and Vietnam.
Encouraging results in Ho Chi Minh City
- 1,000 street vendors, mainly women, sell The Laughing Cow®
- 200 street vendors received training to become micro-entrepreneurs
- 600 street vendors have access to health insurance, a micro-insurance policy of less than $1 a day that covers child education costs for two years in the event of disability, as well as hospital costs in the event of an accident
- 300 street vendors have access to banking services
- Street vendor revenue increased 50% in nine months
- 90% of female street vendors can have money to save
- 45% now consider themselves to be entrepreneurs
- And, in one year, this alternative distribution channel broke even for Bel.