Food processing describes the action of performing a series of mechanical or chemical operations on food in order to change or preserve it.
Food processing can also be described as the transformation of cooked ingredients by physical or chemical means sometimes with the aid of machinery whose design and capacity build can support the food to be processed, or the conversion of food into other forms suitable for consumption.
Food processing combines raw food ingredients to produce marketable food products that can be easily prepared and served by the consumer.
Food processing is the preparation of food items from one or several individual ingredients to produce an edible food that is either eaten directly or added to cooked meals like ketchup.
After which it is sold to consumers both locally and abroad. There are so many different food products that need to be processed you can choose from.
Some examples include baking bread, making chocolate, making fruit juice, manufacturing of ice block and the list goes on.
The processing of the food items is usually done by machines, some of which are deep fryers, cutters, crushers and grinders. It all depends largely on the type of food item you wish to introduce to the market.
A lot of importation of processed food and exportation of processed food have taken place within Nigeria both in the past and even today, this is as a result of the increasing need for these processed food items.
Some of these food items that are being processed within the country include Rice, garri, palm oil, fried foods e.g potato chips, plantain chips. Etc
Read Also: How to start Fast Food Business in Nigeria
The major types of products that are being processed within Nigeria include:
a. Rice eg the local rice like ofada ride
c. Garri eg ijebu garri, yellow garri, white garri
d. Fast food products
e. Meat products
f. Snacks eg chocolate, biscuit, gala, cashew nuts, chin-chin, cakes etc
g. Powdered food eg flour, milk, spices
h. Oil products eg coconut, groundnut oil, palm oil
i. Liquid products eg Fruit drink, processed milk
The categories of food processing businesses include
Generally food processing industries can be categorised into three:
a. Small scale businesses:
Are privately owned corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships that have fewer employees and/or less annual revenue than a regular-sized business or corporation.
Some food items could be processed easily like boiled groundnut, snacks eg cake baking, chin-chin, meat pie etc It doesn’t require much ingredients and doesn’t take much time and effort either.
Note that the food processing businesses you could do small scale, their ingredients are readily available. It doesn’t need heavy machinery and it is easily sold to consumers. Some good examples are the kunu, zobo drink drink, ginger drink, lemon drink, Akara, pap, moi-moi etc
b. Medium scale businesses
Medium scale business typically results from the slow and steady growth of a small scale business. As a company earns more revenue it sets aside the capital that it needs for buildings, its machineries and the employment of more staff to help expand the growing business.
Which will eventually bring the business to a point where a gap is bridged between the small and the large scale. Food items that cannot be processed simply by stirring, frying or boiling in a big pot are considered to be medium scale businesses.
The common types of food that are processed at this industries are the types which cannot be prepared easily at the comfort of our homes, this is something that the normal kitchen setting cannot handle, because the food item is not easily processed and this calls for the need of serious machines use.
c. Large Scale businesses
Aare businesses involving a large-scale corporate-controlled financial or business activities. Large businesses can be seen as mega corporations/conglomerates or multinational corporations.
It describes activities that run from “huge transactions” to the more general “doing big things”. To really process a food item that would be enough for export which must meet international food standards, you have to opt for a large scale production of the food item.
More complicated food mixtures are usually done large scale. Large scale business usually deals with the processing of food items that can be exported out of the country. An examples of such business enterprise is the popular Dangote food factories.
Registration of the product
The processed food will need to be registered under a regulatory body like NAFDAC. If the business you’ve chosen to go into involves the manufacture or importation of goods that fall within the description of food or drug, then be sure that you cannot legitimately carry on such trade without the appropriate registration of the product(s) by the National Agency for Food And Drug Administration And Control, NAFDAC.
Anybody who has lived in Nigeria or monitored the goings-on here in recent years will definitely know that NAFDAC is one government agency that has shown full commitment to executing its mandate without fear or favour.
NAFDAC is empowered by the relevant laws to ensure that no processed food shall be manufactured in, imported into, exported from, or advertised, sold or distributed in Nigeria, without NAFDAC’s approval.
To do so will be in breach of the law and NAFDAC has shown it has no sympathy for such offenders. The prescribed penalties are stiff, including forfeiture of the goods. As NAFDAC has continually demonstrated, applying the full weight of the law is not an option it shies away from.
If you are serious about the business you propose to engage in, the sensible way is to fully comply with the regulatory requirements.
The essentials are: Your food product should have an expiry date/best before date, the place you prepare the product should be hygienic and will have to pass NAFDAC tests. And the food items to be used must not be spoilt or contaminated.
Supply of food products to be processed
In a small scale production process the items to be used in the processing can be sourced from the local market but in a medium and large scale production process the items to be used will usually come directly from the farmers or imported in large quantities depending on the type of product that is being processed in Nigeria.
List of required items for food processing:
In terms of what is needed for the food processing business, the machines that are commonly used are;
a. Machines and equipment: grinders, boilers, deep fryers, cutters, mixers etc. Some may require serious expertise before being operated.
b. Food items: this is the food that is being processed and the ingredients that go with it.
c. Staff: hire people to help you handle the work especially those with previous experience in that line of work.
d. Processing plant: that is in the case of large scale processing. Where the food product is being processed.
e. Packaging: the food product usually determine what kind of packaging suits it best, some are best packed in cartons while in others nylon bags are fine.
Distribution and exportation
Before any product can be distributed and exported a test run is very important, as the group of people to consume the finished good represent the general public and sometimes will give a hint on any aspect of the production process that needs to be improved on.
Usually in medium and large scale industries a quality control personnel is hired to help monitor the product by performing necessary chemical, physical and biological analysis of each batch of food items produced before they are sent out (only if the product has passed all the necessary test).
Local distributions can be done to shops, market, super stores etc. Although you still have to abide by export regulations and acquire an export license for your goods leaving the country and pay the required tax, and also know the food regulation practices of the country so that your goods don’t end up being confiscated.
Food processing business is one business that has being going on for years and has benefited the consumers in a lot of ways.
Depending on the type of product to be processed the capital required to start the business will vary with the differ food being processed, hence a good source of capital is very important for the success of any business. As long as life goes on, feeding to sustain life will go on.
So whatever product being process if edible must bring maximum returns, because we cannot survive without food or can we?
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