Promotion of Zimbabwean baobab in the Dutch market

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) asked Globally Cool to study the potential of the Zimbabwean baobab in the Netherlands. With this project, RVO aims to support international business between Zimbabwe and The Netherlands.

Baobab has already made some inroads to European markets like the United Kingdom, but not yet to The Netherlands. With its well-established international food industry, The Netherlands has a lot of potential. Both for the domestic market and for distribution to other markets. In addition, the Dutch non-profit organisation Hivos played a big role in the approval of baobab as a novel food for the European market in 2008. This authorisation opened the doors for exports to Europe.

Until 2018, competitors from other African countries like Ghana, Senegal and South Africa have outperformed Zimbabwe in the European market for baobab ingredients. To catch up and further develop its position in the global market, Zimbabwe needed to explore new markets and spread risks. Introducing baobab ingredients into the Dutch market could prove a lucrative strategy. In turn, the Dutch market could benefit from this product with a unique story from an iconic African tree that perfectly suits current health food and social responsibility trends.



2017 – 2018


EU (general)

Type of activity

  • Business Matching
  • Market Intelligence
  • Trade Fairs and Missions


As a starting point, we interviewed buyers and experts from various backgrounds and market segments:

  1. Dutch natural cosmetics companies (4 manufacturers, 1 representative)
  2. Dutch food and beverages companies (3 manufacturers, 1 representative and 1 expert)
  3. European superfood/supplement companies (3 producers/distributors)
  4. Dutch importers of food ingredients (2)
  5. Other African exporters of baobab (4)
  6. Zimbabwean baobab producers (4)
  7. National trade promotion organisations (3)

Based on all information from these interviews, we produced a report on the Dutch baobab market.

Furthermore, to introduce Zimbabwean baobab producers to potential partners, we have conducted several matchmaking activities in the period January-June 2018. Amongst other things, the team visited the organic trade fair Biobeurs in The Netherlands and the international organic trade fair Biofach in Germany.


All activities eventually resulted in a successful matchmaking trip in June 2018. During this trip, the leading Zimbabwean exporter met four Dutch potential buyers. One of these companies is an ingredients trader that is specialised in bringing unknown ingredients to niche segments, and to the mainstream market in the end. This company is a perfect match for B’Ayoba’s baobab powder. For the other three companies, all of them being food processors, the main subject would be potential applications for baobab, and the matchmaking should be the start of a product development process (NPD).