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Inside Nigerian Food Shops On Social Media

Social media is used by the food value chain to reach consumers in novel and exciting ways. Food security and social media are interacting to increase consumer access to food and commodities in Nigeria.

Similar to the provision sector, the food industry is quite profitable in Nigeria. It is the kind of enterprise that is easily established. Foods such as Beans, Rice, Garri, Crayfish, etc. are in high demand. You can launch this business and earn a big sum of money. Every region of the nation has a high demand for certain food.

Meanwhile, this kind of business model is the one you should be pursuing, especially if you don’t have hundreds of thousands or millions of Naira available for startup funds because it doesn’t need much money to get going. All you need to start a business in the food industry is a piece of information and any funding you can afford. The kind of food business you can launch will, nonetheless, be greatly influenced by your finances.

Additionally, the rising costs of staple foods and the increased importation of some of these foods into the nation as a result of the FX crisis are signs of a food security situation that should worry not only governments but all facets of civil society. While food is important for everyone, it is especially crucial for the working class in a city as busy as Lagos. And any company that can provide it without fuss will do well in business. Nigeria is thought to have a population of 200 million people, and it is believed that the food industry there generates roughly $33.7 billion in annual sales. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reports that Lagos residents dined out for N830 billion in 2019.

Seven out of ten Nigerians experience food insecurity- Data

There are six key issues that need to be fixed in order for Nigeria’s food insecurity to be tackled, according to a 2021 study by Onyenekenwa Cyprian Eneh, ‘Nagging Food Insecurity Amidst Numerous Public Agricultural Policies, Strategies, Programmes and Projects in Nigeria: Identifying and Fixing the Key Issues’ are: the predominance of smallholder subsistence farming, use of rudimentary tools, unimproved varieties of seeds and other inputs, traditional storage and preservation practices, the deficit of marketing infrastructure, and dependence on rain-fed agriculture.

A combination of fiscal, monetary, and structural reforms were recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a multilateral lender, last year to assist curb the skyrocketing food inflation in Nigeria, Ghana, and other sub-Saharan African nations. In its statement, the IMF noted that “food prices tend to be higher in countries with weaker fiscal management and elevated public debt, noting that those with stronger monetary policy frameworks are better at curbing direct and second-round food price inflationary pressures, and in turn, controlling overall inflation.”

However, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has predicted that during the lean season of June to August 2023, about 25.3 million people in Nigeria would experience severe food insecurity. The expected number is greater than the 19.45 million estimates for 2022, according to a quarterly report from the international organization. According to the scholar, “Malnutrition is widespread in the entire country and rural areas are especially vulnerable to chronic food shortages, malnutrition, unbalanced nutrition, erratic food supply, poor quality foods, high food costs, and even total lack of food.

The rise of social media has been a blessing and can be maximized by small business owners at little or no added cost to the business. It takes only some time and effort to build your business on social media. In this connected world where consumers spend far more time on their phones and laptops checking online reviews than in store, all food brands need to get their social media game right. Attention today is now of the most valuable commodities. According to Pew Research Center, 7 in 10 American adults scroll on Facebook repeatedly throughout their day—a powerful illustration of social media’s influence on our daily lives.

This enable users to purchase products that have been showcased by businesses directly from social media and make payments on there. Basically, incorporating the idea of ecommerce websites with social media. This is genius! Selling for small businesses has been made easy by social media. This is coupled with the increasing adoption of smartphones which allows customers access services via social media tools.

“Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram and many other platforms allow people from different parts of the world to connect and share information,” said Shadrack Agaki, a communications and food systems policy expert. Given that narratives are stories told and cemented by experience; which in many occasions shape policies and decisions made, these platforms have a big role to play in shaping food security narrative.

Businesses now wrap any baked items they intend to sell in plastic wrap, place the wrapped goods in cellophane bags, and secure the bags with twist ties. If the baked goods are being shipped, they are packaged in boxes with lots of padding, such as bubble wrap and packing peanuts.

The People Must Eat Business

Timbyen Amos Dashe, a business developer and entrepreneur in Jos Plateau State, explains how it works with the following sentence: “Madam Hauwa who loves going to the market and never has to complain of buying her food stuff expensive has started a new business. She saw that the other mums in her estate always complain of buying tomatoes and pepper at really ridiculous prices from Mr Bello at the gate.

“One day she asked 3 mums if they would want her to supply them Tomatoes and Co for way way less than they buy at the estate gate. They agreed, and she bought 2 baskets of tomatoes, some onions, pepper, Tatashe and even Irish potatoes, she brought this items, shared them openly in front of her house, and all 3 women could not believe how much the ₦10,000 she charged each of them, that’s a total of ₦30,000. She made a profit of ₦6000 from just 3 of them.”

“While she was Sharing, 2 other women saw them and curiously asked what was going on. Well. What madam Hauwa started with 3 customers, had her going door by door of neighbors to ask them if they will be interested in joining her food sharing group. 80% of the women joined.”

“Her WhatsApp group now has 20 women, and each week, she gives them a list of what’s available in the market and gives them her prices, and on Friday at least, 10 women order from her each week. Because she knows the markets well, she know how to get the best deals. In the end, she makes good profit and still saves her customers money in comparison to buying from the roadside.”

Online Food Sales Are A Backup Source Of Revenue

You can organise foodstuff for people as a side business, according to social media food sharing aficionado Eny Roy-Menya. “Look at cow meat sharing. I just paid ₦17,000 per slot for cow meat sharing among 20 people.”

“You do the job of organising the 20 people, negotiate with the cow seller, and you make your cool income on too after settling the cow seller and sorting out the butchery expenses. Buyers pay for their own delivery. There is money in this country forget it – you just need to bend down and pick them up with hard work.”

“My colleague used to cook and deliver food to people. Now he has faced his food business full time and he’s doing so well. Every office function means 100s of orders for him to deliver,” she went on to say.

Sacrifices Abound In Online Food Business

Ukume Josephine Ngudoon is an entrepreneur in Makurdi, the capital of Benue State. She sells yams, casava, sweet potatoes, Rice, Honey, Garri, Grains, (Cereals), Palm oil, Veggies in small and bulk quantities.

She says that operating an online business involves many compromises. “I buy directly from local Farmers so you’re sure of getting the best quality items at affordable prices.” To those who are into food items, especially Yams, Garri etc, I do not subscribe to asking a buyer to pay for sacks.

“Yes, I have bought things from people who collect money for sacks and delivery to parks before the actual logistics to me. I understand that many buyers do not understand the sacrifices we make while transacting with them but I don’t think that’s their business. I’ve had free deliveries to people. I’ve added incentives to buyers, so many times.

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“Sometimes after a transaction I’d sit and discover I made nothing. Now the only point I am going to react is when after taking delivery of your Kaya (goods) you come and start misbehaving with words…If they start with ‘Madam’ ehen prepare for war. After the war, they still order again because obviously they made a lot of gain off you after selling.”

“If you can’t sacrifice for sacks for your customers, kindly include it in their delivery fee. It is the proper thing to do.”

“I have a buyer who orders from 300 yams and above with other things because she has a food sharing group, one time she asked me to package all 320 yams in sacks of 20 tubers each. That’s 16 sacks. I asked her if she was willing to charter the vehicle, she said no. I told her I buy small sacks each for 150 and buying 16 will cost me ₦2,400 so if she’ll be kind enough to share it with me since she was not chartering the vehicle because I would have included the sacks money in her fee.” She said, according to her, forget about sacks and that was the last time she asked of sacks.

The industry is being expanded by social media, which is also having more of an influence in Nigeria and, one can only hope, in other African countries where there is a great need for answers to food security.

Cover Image: A young beautiful African market woman feeling happy about what she saw on her cellphone.  Photo: Stock Photo | Wirestock

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