Water is life and so is food; after all, food also contains its own percentage of water. They say that one can live with water alone for several days without dying but the truth is that when they don’t get food, they eventually die. Food is the sustenance of life. When anyone thinks of acquiring money, the first thing before other things else would be to get food before other desires come in. Food is not what any living organism can joke with not to talk of humans.
One can hardly carry out any activities without having to consume food. Food is the source of energy that powers up every other part of the body to perform their functions beginning with the smallest cell. Food is the petrol that fuels the human body so as to continue being an existing embodiment. People dies out of famine and this is because there is lack of food in this period.
All these about food has been iterated just to emphasize the superiority of food over any other need in the human life. Hitherto, it is an undeniable fact that the multibillions of people in the world have to eat more than just once in every single day for survivor and continuity of life. Food is as important as the air we breathe in and its quintessence cannot be overemphasized.
Nigeria, apart from being a country that is rich in agriculture, is also a country that is endowed with so many cultural backgrounds. Each of these cultures have varieties of foods that are peculiar to them. The dishes of some have been transferred to others as a results of mere likeness. Some Igbos will give anything to go into a Calabar cuisine to have some Edika ikong meal and some Hausa people can do anything to have a good meal of hot Amala and Ewedu soup. Haven’t you seen a Yoruba man with regular strong appetite for Masa with yaji and spinach (aleho) soup? I have seen Fulani men who visit Igbo restaurants because they enjoy the Ofe Onugbu mixed with Ofe Nsala with Akpu. This is how far the unison in cultural peculiarity, for which Nigerian people have attained over the years as a result of the power of food.
WOULD FOOD SUPPLY BE A GOOD BUSINESS?
That would rather be a rhetorical question that may not warrant an answer from the receiver but a wide smile. The positivity in the answer of this question seems to be so colossal that answering directly is like reemphasizing what is super obvious.
How wouldn’t food supply be a good business when food is the only constantly moving commodity even when the economy of a particular country is totally repressed? The most intriguing fact about the business of food is that no matter how low in quality the food might be, it’ll always have its own consumers who are pleased with every morsel they ingest or every bit of the raw stuffs in a grocery bag.
Food supply is an excellent business for anyone whose interest is in it. It isn’t just the profit that matters, it is the joy of watching your items of trade move fast as you trade.
CATEGORIES OF FOOD SUPPLY BUSINESS
One must understand that there are different types of food and different forms of food supply business. While some foods can be consumed directly once extracted from their origin, others must undergo some processing before final consumption.
HOW TO START FOOD SUPPLY BUSINESS IN NIGERIA
The following represent the forms of food that can be supplied within the confines of commercialization.
These are all categories of foods that must further undergo some processes, especially heating before being said to be consumable. They are general foodstuffs that are sold in the markets. Examples are raw parboiled or local rice, beans, corn, beans, groundnut, yams, potatoes, plantains, garri, elubo, and other foods that are locally gotten from agricultural produces etc. with the ingredients cooked along with them.
Foods of this nature are perishable over a short period of time say for few days. Under this types of food are also tomatoes, pepper, spices and general vegetables.
2. COOKED FOODS
These are all foods that are readily cooked and garnished by the sellers and are sold directly into the saucers, plates or takeaway containers for the immediate consumption of the buyer. A lot of people, despite being able to cook at home still visit the restaurants, eateries and mama put to buy cooked foods.
This can instantly take care of profound hungers while saving one the time and effort of a self-prepared meal. We can also refer to roasted foods such as Suya, Kpanla, Kilishi, bush meat as cooked foods. These foods are extremely perishable and may last only a day or even in a matter of few hours.
3. CANNED/PROCESSED/FAST FOODS
These are the general foods that are sold in provision stores and super markets. They are industrially processed foods that can be consumed directly or even further cooked according to how the content is directed for use.
These are foods like Spaghetti and general pasta/noodles, sardines, geisha, baked beans, green peas, tin/sachet tomatoes and other manufactured foods which can be preserved for a longer period time and have expiry dates.
4. JUNK FOODS/SNACKS
These are the final categories of foods. They are not called junk foods because they are really junks but are so-called due to the fact the generality see them as only close substitutes to real foods.
They are baked/fried foods such as chips, burgers, pies, pizza, rolls, cakes, waffles, cheese and other snacks. These, like cooked foods too, have a very short span of edibility because after a while, they become spoilt if not consumed on time.
WHAT TO CONSIDER IN ORDER TO BEGIN FOOD SUPPLY BUSINESS
Here are steps on how to start food supply business in Nigeria
1. DECISION MAKING
This is the first stage to scale through in order to begin food supply business. What kind of foods would you like to go into? For someone willing to go into raw foods for example, one must first think of whether one wants to begin in small or large scale.
For a large scale raw food supplier for instance, which of the foods will be traded? It is a general idea for example that a person who wants to trade in grain foods as rice, beans, millet, sorghum, groundnut etc. will need to have some connections with the Northern parts of Nigeria because foods of such nature are highly produced in such areas and hence, one will make more profit buying in bulk from there at cheaper rates for resell.
Ondo is another example renowned for yam production and plantains, one should decide by virtue of research making in order to know where one can begin from the main source. A person who wishes to be involved in cooked food will have to be prepared for tactics because once the food cooked is beyond those ordering, the rest may perish and the story may end as a waste and loss. One can also decide whether one needs to focus on manufactured foods or junks depending on effort that can be applied to make ones endeavour a success.
2. CAPITAL ACQUISITION
Capital is the amount of money set aside to begin a business. After the decision making for which the form of food which one wants to be dealing in has been made, then capital needs to be put down for first actions. They say we use money to get more money.
The level of capital with which one can raise at the beginning is very important to consider and one should not venture into what is beyond financial capacities. Always learn to start small and aim big until one gets there. Raw and processed foods relatively require more capital than others because while some are imported, others are transported on interstate basis which affects the general cost of acquiring those in stock.
3. MODES OF SUPPLY
This has to do with how one wishes to be supplying foods. Would the space available and capital gathered be enough to go into the business as a wholesaler (in terms of raw and processed foods) or would it be better to be a retailer? What kind of food are they? Are they perishable and can stand a longer test of time? This is a pint of consideration to be considered which determines the mode of food supply business that one would like to venture in.
One can decide to be a caterer who takes orders from the hosts of events and cook specified amounts of plates of food for them seasonally or one decide to be a restaurant owner who makes food for people daily at a station where people come to eat and go. One can decide to be a raw food importer from other states to states where they have low supply of such foods. It depends on what the decision from the inception is.
4. AREA/PLACE OF FOOD SUPPLY
For example, a cooked food seller who acquired a restaurant very close into the metropolitan will have to be up and doing in terms of hygiene and quality of the food being cooked. A cooked food seller who sells with a kiosk or hawks around in a garage or motor park has to be totally different from one who designated a food shop as a restaurant. A raw food seller may decide to have a shop in the market or close by to residential houses depending on where he feels his business would move faster.
Most raw food sellers who are into retailing actually prefer to sell at shops closer to homes because they know that it saves households from going to the market to get food and they slightly increase the cost of their foods since they are saving the buyer some effort, stress and transportation fare.
A suya seller will want to stay on the junctions because suya as a food is seen as a food that is more peculiar to people on strolls or a family coming back home from a long day. Junkies are for the eateries – at least, that is where people believe them to always be.
If you are a good baker/confectioner, call your shop an eatery! It is also pertinent to note that one shouldn’t be so much into supplying foods that are readily available in a place or state. This is because the main producers of such food find it better even going to the market to sell directly to the consumers. A tomato farmer in Sokoto for example goes into his farm every morning, gathers some tomatoes, cayenne and spinach and goes straight into the market to sit there all day to sell his foods at extremely cheap prices.
This will be detrimental to one who is into the business especially if you’re not the farmer and also have to buy from one person before reselling but when you’re in a place like Lagos and you order baskets of tomatoes from the North, people are already queuing for them before they are delivered!
5. TYPES OF FOOD CUSTOMERS/CONSUMERS
Who are you supplying foods to? Some market men and women who sell foods in smaller quantities always have different suppliers. You wouldn’t want to be supplying foods like plain beans and bread in a government residential area.
While few people may approach to buy, majority won’t because the consumers around those places are elites who may find plain beans and bread as food of the poor. Why not supply foods such as fried rice and chicken, coleslaw, potato chips and eggs, etc. because these are foods of the rich.
These are but few but most vital things to consider. However, whatever type of food one wants to supply, then the following steps should be taken:
Make your research
Make your decision
Get a place (shop, kiosk, stall, mart or warehouse) whatever the case maybe
Create your business niche and a network of stable customers.
Attract and retain your customers with steadfastness, hygiene and timeliness in delivery
Stay alert and up to date with information concerning your area of food supply business
Be ahead of your game by learning new recipes and deriving a perfect formula and special uniqueness in taste as a cooked food supplier or partake in the best ways of doing things and know the food products in vogue as other kinds of food supplier
Don’t just sell food, sell purity, sell honesty, sell purity and sell good personality. People believe that they are what they eat, when you lose good qualities at the point of food sale, you lose customers
Be unique in all you do in terms of activities you carry out on food sales.
Don’t be caught untidy.
Food is the base of life and everyone knows that while food gives life, it can also cause death when the wrong kind of food is ingested into the systems. Hence, one must be really careful in whichever form of food supply business one will be involved in.