N8 billion spent on food monthly: Five (5) reasons you should go into food service in Lagos


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The 14.3 million Lagos residents spend N8 billion on food consumption each month, according to data published recently. Summed up, that amounts to N5 trillion every year. With the population of the city projected to rise further, food entrepreneurs are in for a windfall. You may like to lash onto this great business opportunity.

The opportunities in the city food service sector are massive – you should understand why American fast-food chain Burger King is coming into Nigeria later this 2021 to compete for every Naira lining up the thin but busy wallets of the sprawling Lagos population.

 Chicken and shawarma grills, ice-cream machines, online food marts, straight-from-the-farm produce shops, tiger-nut drink stand, packaged raw food ingredient shelves, mechai fast-food kiosks, to mention a few are some of the informal business enterprises that tap into the highly coveted N8 billion monthly food spend in the city.

You may like to know some of the factors that are aiding the growth of the Lagos informal small food businesses which attract a sizable share of the overall N8 billion monthly food consumptions spend in Lagos:

  1. The population of the city is massive – The population of Lagos is larger than most nation-states in Africa. The 14.3 million population of the city is greater than the population of Rwanda and the Benin Republic. The population is also half the total number of people who live in Ghana. Now, the population size of the state is projected to grow even further. What this portends is more mouths craving to be fed. Check how Euromonitor, a market research portal put the inherent business opportunity that is attached to such population increase, “Shifts within a population profile, such as diversity or ageing, will also change demand and provide new opportunities”. That reference to new opportunities being spawned is an added motivation for informal food service providers.
  2. Strong metro traffic – Lagos buzzing traffic has been known to stimulate wider commercial activities. It isn’t strange nowadays to see packaged small chops being sold in the city often tethered traffic. Everywhere you go in Lagos there is always an opportunity to make sales.
  3. The busy lifestyle of Lagos residents – Street toasts, quick meals, meals-on-wheels, and Sharwama corners are some of the creativities brought into foodservice in Lagos to cater to the busy population. Here in Lagos, most workers leave home as early as 5 am to go to their places of work. Some of these folks won’t even return home until 11 pm sometimes – no thanks to the daily locked traffic. With little time to make food for themselves or use their kitchen, most Lagosians rely on the innovative street corner and marketplace food services for their morning, afternoon and evening meals.
  4. A Strong economy – Lagos has the most thriving economy in the country. While the state is home to 10% of Nigeria’s population it contributes 30% of the overall national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Because of the high level of economic activities such as construction works, port and aviation services, tech services, entertainments and trading, in Lagos, an average resident of Lagos earns more money than workers elsewhere and has more disposable incomes to spread around than residents in other parts of the country. That is a good point for businesses, including food services which operate in the city.
  5. Longer active hours – Lagos has longer active/ working hours. The movement of people and goods starts as early as 4 am and often closes around 12:30 midnight. That is about 18 business hours committed to commerce. The long stretch of daily activities also provides more exposure for goods and services which further enhance business revenues.

More, with Lagos state launching its 5-year agric sector development roadmap recently, food service providers in the state may soon be able to access more affordable raw food ingredients which would reduce the overall production cost.

Considering the overall business, movement and population advantages that Lagos provides, smart SME-driven Nigerians can take advantage of the sprawling commercial city landscape to creatively look for ways to get into the city food service business. The clincher here is to think outside the box – sort of innovating with your food services or bring something new into the sector. With that, every informal food enterprise should be competing favourably for a share of the N8 billion monthly spend on food consumption in Lagos State.  

Toyin Afilaka
Toyin Afilaka
Toyin Afilaka writes with simplicity and insight. He aims to enrich the Nigerian small business landscape. Through Hustle24 he connects entrepreneurs with information about new policies, enterprise solutions and opportunities that will aid their 'hustle'. He has written extensively for CobraReview, a product review portal, and served as a lead project manager for MarketingMix where he consulted as PR consultant for MTN Project Fame and Business Next Titan etc.


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