Nigeria: Hard time hits bakery sector, high cost of flour, others chase many out of business

*Prices of flour and bread jump by 100%

*Tips for bakers to remain in business in hard time

WorldStage Newsonline– All of sudden, bread is no longer a food for the poor. The price of bread has gone out of the reach of consumers and it continues to rise on daily basis, no thanks to rising cost of its major raw materials- flour and other ingredients.

Bakers are currently lamenting while blaming the scarcity of foreign exchange for the high cost of flour as many wheat importers were said to be sourcing their forex from the black market.

A survey by WorldStage in selected markets in Lagos revealed that flour, which was formerly sold for N14,000 per 50kg bag, is now selling for N23,000, about 100% increase, and a cartoon of Gloria butter which was formerly N12,000 is now selling at N17,000.

This has equally reflected on the price of bread with the average size that once sold for N250 per loaf now going for N500 and above, over 100% increase.

Industry players told WoldStage that the scarcity of forex had forced some bakers out of business and the rest were lamenting over the uncertainties in the price of baking ingredients.

Mr Paul Gift, Chief Executive officer of Ezzybite lamented that paint bucket measure of flour had rose to N2000 against N700 and N900 they were been sold before. He said it would be impossible to bake a 7 or 8 inches cake size for N4,000 again except the baker stole the materials.

A Bariga, Lagos based baker, Mandela Makinde recently posted on Twitter that he would be shutting down, claiming that many more would be forced to do same due to outrageous cost of raw materials.

He bemoaned the economic situation in the country and called on the government to step in to safe people from slipping into depression.

He said: “I will be closing down. We have basically ran at a loss for the past seven months, we have been running with personal funds so that my workers will still have their jobs, but at this moment, we have no other choice.

“So I will be contributing additional 25 workers to the unemployment market this week.”

Another baker Felix Leo said: “I shut my bakery in February this year after battling with a crazy increase in prices of all baking items since March 2020.”

TIPS FOR BAKERS TO REMAIN IN BUSINESS IN HARD TIME

A baking business coach, Oluwabukola Ajayi, owner of Naija Bakers has challenged cake vendors not to be scared or panic over the rising cost of materials.

In a video seen by WorldStage, she asked bakers to try out her tips on how to remain in business and still make sales.

The tips include:

1. As a manufacturer, focus on promoting your core products.

“As a baker, check out the fast moving goods in your store and try to focus on them. This is not the time to duel so much on multiple sources of income, instead focus your energy on bestsellers to create more sales.

“The sales profit might be relatively low but since you will be doing bulk sales , the accumulated profit will help keep the business open.”

2. Introduce economy and premium versions of your products

“This is not the time to be rigid when it comes to your prices, so it’s wise to create two cake or meat pie recipes, for economy and premium.

“So if your meat pie was N500 before the recession but we now have a meat pie for N200, it doesn’t mean it should taste bad, you are just creating room to accommodate all kinds of customers according to their pocket.”

3. Do Lots of Marketing

“Within the industry I have noticed that we do marketing the wrong way. But during this recession you should take advantage of Tiktok, Instagram reels, sponsored Ads.

“One thing you should do is put your best products up and then run sponsored Ads on the post, speak so much about your cake brand this period.”

4. Protect Your Cash Flow

Ajayi also advised bakers to cut down on branding to be able to get extra earnings.

“Source for discounted prices on needed materials and when you find this buy in bulk to stock up. Every naira counts so search around for stores that you will get all the necessary materials at a discounted price”

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