Nigeria population is set for a massive growth, year-on-year, leading to double of what it is currently before the next half-a-century. The concern for international organisations such as the United Nations (UN) is: who will feed these growing population?
According to the organisation’s 2019 Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC), not less than 5.3 million people were left short of proper food provision in 2018. That number is bound to increase in 2020, and subsequent years, as the number of people living in the country swell. The projection shouldn’t be seen as stark though, but an opportunity for innovative entrepreneurs.
The beneficiaries of the acute food shortages amidst a growing population-base, are firms and startups that can come up with innovative ideas not just in the areas of increasing farm outputs but putting to use the existing produce to provide cheaper, quicker and enriching food forms.
Larger businesses are not strangers to that approach, Dufil and Flour Mills of Nigeria (FMN) have done excellently well in that regards by increasing flour output for bakers or turning flour into ranges of quick meals such as Noodles and pasta. Ayoola Foods has done excellently well too via some brands of powdered food ingredients.
The areas left untouched is innovation in providing ‘Street Foods’. Street foods in clean, well-packaged, alternative forms will be a big sale just as Sharwama and other packaged snack meals, for instance ‘Dundun Nations’, are doing. That sector is going to be huge going forward. But entrepreneurs will need to be smart about it. Innovation can be sought in these areas:
a. Spicing – Providing alternative spicing for existing food format.
b. Ingredients- Researching and implementing cheaper alternatives to costly ingredients in existing food formats. You recall Casio going plastic as alternative to steel, to make wristwatch affordable for everyone; since steel is more expensive, and ‘time and beauty’ can be packaged into a new but affordable material such as plastic it is no crime to think about saving watch buyers some money. Casio, the watch maker did that successfully. For food forms and packaging, What else can bread be made of? What ingredients could make the popular ‘jollof’ sweeter, attractive but affordable?
c. Distribution – If owning a shop would make food unaffordable for the mass market, why not consider shop-on-wheels or mobile kitchen, or home kitchen with a social media reach?