The food business in Nigeria isn’t going to fade away anytime soon. With the increasingly fragile nature of oil prices and the volatile exchange rates, many entrepreneurs are looking to the food/agriculture value chain to see what value in monetary returns they can make from it. I don’t blame them at all.
If you’re an entrepreneur looking to invest in a value chain in the food/agriculture value chain, then this article will interest you. Here’s all you need to know and some more.
There are certain factors that have resulted in an upsurge in the demand for packaged foods business which have made it an investor/entrepreneur’s delight. A couple of them are :
6 Tips of Starting Packaged Food Business in Nigeria
1. Increased population of middle class urban dwellers
There has been an upsurge in the amount of Nigeria’s middle class who now live in urban and mega cities like Lagos, Abuja and so on. These class of people have the added pressure of having to slug it out with their middle class jobs which pose a huge constraint on their time.
These set of people especially the working mums and ladies among them spend lesser time in the kitchen than their mums and aunties did whilst growing up.
Also, the scenario of having housewives who stay at home all day hasn’t been the case in recent times. Most mums are now active supporters in the growth and functionality of families.
This culture shift has provided an opportunity for entrepreneurs who can help shorten the time spent in the kitchen to almost zero with their packaged food solutions. This may be in form of eat in diners or restaurants as well as home delivered snack foods/ meals.
2. Increase in demand for local foods
Due to the improvement in certain agribusiness interventions like processing and appropriate packaging, local foods are now in high demand. These foods are usually well sourced, some are processed while others are well branded such that one can’t resist to make a purchase or a buying decision.The demand for these products is even high within diaspora communities abroad as a result of their pleasing-to-the eye nature and taste.
Now that we’ve sorted the demand bit and ascertained that there’s actually an attractive market to invest in such business, it’s time to look at the factors an entrepreneur/ investor should consider when going into the packaged food business.
3. Attention to quality
The investor must pay attention to quality and uniform standard. This will help position the business to scale with less stress.Do you plan to provide canned, frozen or processed stocks of say fish? What measures of quality can you add to your process such that your products stand out in the market?
4. What local market can you service?
Also, there’s a need to know from the beginning what local market your business will be catering for. Those starting out small can decide to service their neighborhood and immediate locality with expansion plans in the pipeline.
This will help the business gain traction and customer awareness needed to scale. So before you look at setting up a processing factory or any other major investment push, identify an existing local market to serve first.
5. Be in line with regulatory authorities
Part of knowing the business terrain of packaged food business is being aware of what the regulatory processes are. The Nigerian government has become particularly interested in issues regarding product quality. Aside from them seeking to earn tax revenues, there’s the added concern of products that are safe for consumption.
This point aligns well with my earlier submission on making sure you get your quality measures right from the beginning. These government agencies usually stress on hygienic production methods, environmental cleanliness and so on. So make sure to take care of this as you go on.
There’s nothing frustrating for the middle class professional than not being able to get the supply of his products as he used to. That’s a major no! This is why most of them patronize malls.
Whatever packaged business you want to dive into, you must be certain of the constant supply of your products. If you find the raw materials for their preparation hard to access, then it’s advisable you look for products that you can easily find or source for their raw materials.
For example, sourcing beans for packaged moin moin is much more easier than sourcing snails for peppered snail snacks.
In helping these busy professionals which is most times your ideal client base, know that it’s not enough for you to save them time and energy in cooking. It’s also necessary for you to save yourself much time in getting your products ready for purchase.
Finally, a couple of packaged businesses you can go into include:
You can decide to process and package cassava into flour used in making local staple like fufu. This will fly big time especially with people in the south west.
I mentioned this earlier. You can decide to save people the stress of grinding beans by making flour that can be used in producing moin-moin. This saves hours of time and can be used to make other local snacks like akara ( bean cakes).
Do you have other ideas or comments on this article? Let me know in the comments.