A brief look at the Food Industry in Nigeria

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One cannot think well, love well and sleep well if one has not dined well- Virginia Woolf. Ultimately, I believe one cannot live well without good food because as it is frequently said, food is nourishment to the body and soul”. The nourishment given to the body does not just depend on the food that’s self-made but also on the quality of food products available around. Either by owning a food business or preparing homemade cooked meals, we are all involved in the long run.

Food Production

Nigeria as a developing country has for years been daunted with major problems in the industry with issues including low product quality, sustainability and infrastructural issues. Processes such as production forecasting and continuous process improvements are some of the practices that are not employed in Nigeria thereby putting the country on the bridge and in a place of obscurity in the industry. The consequences have had an enormous impact on the economy of Nigeria. The Minister of Agriculture recently accrued this when he said that Nigerians order pizza from overseas. Regardless of the veracity of the statement, one thing is clear, Nigerians are not welcoming to made in Nigeria products and goods. In my opinion, one big reason is- People have been disappointed with so many raw, cooked, as well as baked goods in the country.

Therefore in an attempt to improve the situation, Nigerians started a campaign/trend online some few years back to buy naija to grow the naira. There are also made in Nigeria produced goods such as Gala sausage roll, minimie Chinchin, etc. These are all thriving businesses in Nigeria despite the factors affecting the Nigerian FI. Some international food companies have come to give us a feel of their food products such as Domino pizza, and other big food companies. This has left a lot of Nigerians with the option of consuming meals made at home rather than purchasing fast food.

Homemade or Fast food?

In 2015, the world economic forum revealed that Nigerians spend 56.4% which is over half of their household income on food. Food produce like cassava, rice, vegetables and others are grown in the country, processed and sold for consumers. The general populace has been advised to build small organic farms/gardens in their houses and therefore, people have begun to grow crops such as pepper, tomatoes, maize and vegetables for a healthy lifestyle.

Research has shown that home cooked meals are healthier. How much more when the food products are grown in the backyard? A lot of food joints have bought the produce over a long time and as a result, they are stale, losing nutrients and sometimes, the taste of the food ruined. The quality and the quantity of fast food cannot be compared to the rigorous and meticulous process of cooking at home.

A recent study done in the University of Ibadan, Nigeria revealed that the major types of fast food consumed by students were flour-based products and that about only 6.5% of them preferred fast foods to homemade meals. Among many other reasons, people do not eat fast food except when they don’t have a choice (readily available option & stress free-66.6%) and an immediate solution to their hunger. It also revealed that fast food was significantly higher among male students.

Due to the low employability rate in the country, quite a number of young people have begun catering services thereby providing home-cooked meals based on order and preference. This is could be a reasonable solution to curbing unhealthy food consumption as it is produced for a small number of people.

Food start-ups

The industry has risen exponentially over the past few years. The trend seems to be going upwards only and young entrepreneurs are delving into it in quick succession. The GTBank Food & Drink Festival which is an annual food exhibition and sales event that aims to project the diverse angles of the food industry is successfully connecting various food businesses and entrepreneurs to an audience of food enthusiasts.

There is a rising number of food start-ups both locally and internationally. According to disrupt Africa’s 2018 funding report, Nigerian start-ups had the highest investment in the continent with about 58 start-ups that raised $94.9million from various sectors.

Food writing

Food is essential to life. Developed countries like America have grown vast in the industry. Fields including writing and content creation, recipe development, food processing, food production have grown big. Nigerian Food writers and explorers such as Kitchen Butterfly have carved out a niche for themselves through documenting new authentic recipes they create through experimenting food and as a result of this, people have creative new ways of cooking healthier homemade meals.

Recommendation

  • Just like the rise of the tech industry in Nigeria, the food industry is fast becoming a hub and focal point. It is therefore imperative that Nigeria’s young minds consider moving to this sector.
  • The Government should invest more in the sector by providing funds for food start-ups in Nigeria. This is to aid the production of genuine and authentic food quality for citizens and inhabitants to consume and to promote “made in Nigeria” food products.

 

 

Disclaimer: All opinions are mine except when otherwise stated.

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2 Responses
  • Fasawe
    July 2, 2019

    This piece is well articulated and truly paints our current reality to the best of my knowledge

    • ayobambo
      July 3, 2019

      Thank you.

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