Meet Peter Kuguru, Softa Soda Owner

Peter Kuguru founded Kuguru Food Complex Limited, a top beverage manufacturer. He went on to have different subsidiaries including Softa Bottling Company, Caterers Milling Sanitary Pads and Diapers International, and Just Real Estate.

KFCL is a family business founded by the family patriarch, Peter Kuguru. In 1988, Kuguru and his wife built up the company for five years before being joined by four new family members.

Education Background

The seasoned businessman graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Food Technology from Massey University in 1972.

He then served as the Chief chemist at Kenya Commercial Creameries, and later as the production manager at the house of Manji. He would later become one of the founders of the Kenya Bureau of Standards.


The married father of 9 is the son of the late Davidson Ngibuini, who was reportedly a powerful minister during the Jomo Kenyatta and Moi era.

Peter Kuguru served as a member of parliament for the Mathira constituency and was said to have 7 wives and about 45 children. It is also reported that rather than give his children an inheritance, they bought it from him with Peter being among his first children to buy land from the father.


Despite having a good job, he desired to venture into entrepreneurship and in 1975 began producing snacks including potato crisps at his home.

In 1978, he left employment and ventured into catering and baking. After acquiring a multi-million loan from the bank, he started manufacturing a South African sorghum beer named Chibuku.

The brand was a success, encouraging them to start producing more foods. They ventured into maize milling but soon his alcohol drinks venture was stifled due to what they termed as an unfair playground.

Softa and other ventures

Since he had already established connections in the beverage world, he decided to take a plunge into soft drinks manufacturing. This was how the idea of softa was introduced.

They set up the bottling company and in 1998, Softa was launched with different flavors from cola, orange, bitter lemon, and pineapple to lemonade.

The drinks became a hit and they used vernacular radio stations for advertisements. However, he would later say that their competitors began rising against them.

Not only did they begin using the stations but they also went after their distributors advising them against selling their products. He also told The Standard that competitors went physical and broke down bottles and tore down billboards.

This got to them and they stopped distributing the drinks countrywide and focused on the central market.

They also ventured into manufacturing juice, water, animal feeds, sanitary towels, and diapers to streamline their income. They were inspired to create a leak-proof pad using Chinese technology.

Softa Soda Struggle

In November 2016, the company announced that Softa was exiting the market after they failed to sustain operations despite venturing into manufacturing of bottled water, and production of sanitary pads and diapers to stay afloat.

At the time, the factory consisted of a bottling line, a water treatment plant, a syrup room, a chiller, a carbon dioxide plant, crates, bottles, and boilers. While they sold some assets, others remained as part of Kuguru Foods.

His other company Cateress Milling produces Cateress maize flour and Mpishi. Kuguru was founded by him and his wife in 1988 before they incorporated other family members.


The businessman released a book titled Trailblazer: Breaking Through on Kenya. Here, he has detailed his life growing up during the fight for independence and his political journey. He has talked about the dirty tricks in politics.

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