The Rise of Processed and Fast Food in Nigeria

The food industry is one of the best-performing sectors in Nigeria. The industry has grown rapidly due to affordability and convenience. Furthermore a fast-growing overall population and an increasing urbanisation are other catalyst encouraging this growth. There is a creative innovation entrepreneurship in various categories such as noodles, dairy and baked goods, as well as strong brand engagement.


In recent times, the food industry in Nigeria has experienced vast growth. The fast food industry in Nigeria became prominent in the 1970s. In 1973, Nigeria’s oldest fast food chain Mr. Biggs, owned by UAC, was founded and the restaurant was arguably the largest functioning fast food restaurant up until the 80s. In the 80s and 90s, other fast food companies such as Mama Cass, Big Treats, Tastee Fried Chicken, Tantalizers and Sweet Sensation were in operation in Nigeria. These fast food restaurants continued to dominate and serve the Nigerian economy up until the 2000s, when both international franchises and local restaurants such as Dominos, KFC, Chicken Republic, Debonairs and Barcelos commenced operations in Nigeria. Since the inception of fast food restaurants in the 70s, there are 18 main fast food brands with over 800 stores located around Nigeria.


The growth in the fast food industry in Nigeria has been a key contributor to the Nigerian economy through the creation of employment opportunities for Nigerians. According to a report by the Oxford Business Group, as of 2014, there where over 500,000 workers employed in the fast food industry. The shift to fast food has been as a result of the growing purchasing power of consumers, cheap pricing and convenience.


Another key part of the Nigerian food industry is the food processing and manufacturing sector. The food processing sector is one of the best-performing industries in Nigeria. UAC foods is arguably the pioneer of food processing in Nigeria. A subsidiary of Unilever, UAC has been serving the Nigerian food sector since the 1930s. UAC foods is also known for the fast food chain Mr. Biggs and other agricultural endeavors. Since the inception of UAC foods, the food processing sector has expanded with over 100 food processing companies functioning in Nigeria with main growth drivers such as UAC foods, Leventis foods Ltd., Dangote, Olam, BUA, and Honeywell – who have been key influencers of the food processing sectors growth.


The sector sources products locally and has creative innovations in various categories such as noodles, dairy, baked goods, poultry, pasta, rice and noodles. The recent importation bans in Nigeria and declining value of the naira has seen more businesses sourcing and processing food locally, which has grown the industry rapidly. The growth in the food processing sector has had a major role in the development of the agriculture sector. If more businesses process food locally, it will raise awareness for the Nigerian agriculture sector and also provide economic benefits to the country.


Food Nigeria, organized by Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions will kick off 18 -20 May 2016 in Lagos, Nigeria at the Eko Convention Centre. The event will provide a platform for international and regional food and beverage companies to network and cultivate business ties in Nigeria. The Food Nigeria conferences will discuss major topics and issues including: Supply chain management, Food technology and Retail innovation.


Informa Life Sciences successfully runs seven events in Nigeria alone addressing the Nigerian economy’s requirements. The exhibition will host more than 150 international companies across 2,500 sqm of exhibition space. The companies will represent more than 20 country pavilions welcoming an expected 6000 attendees. The event is supported by the Association of Food Vendors in Nigeria (AFVN), the National Agency for Food and Drug (NAFDAG), and National Association of Supermarket Operators of Nigeria (NASON).


Find out more about the Food industry in Nigeria by visiting the website in our resource box. There is more to learn from seeing the Food Nigeria Exhibition.