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FOODDOTCOMACADEMY SERVICES had its much publicized maiden edition of The Business of Food Summit (#TBOFS) on Tuesday, 11th April, 2023 at NECA House, Plot A2, Hakeem Balogun Street, CBD Road, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos .

In his welcome address, Mr. Rasaq Oke, Founder/CEO of FOODDOTCOMACADEMY SERVICES, who is the Convener of The Business of Food Summit stated that the summit with the theme: “Building a Sustainable Food Business- Opportunities and Key Drivers” was conceived as an avenue to discuss actionable solutions to noticeable challenges in our food business management systems with a view to build a better future for the current and coming generations of food entrepreneurs.

Mr. Oke stated that “It is no longer a secret that current economic situation in the country is pathetic and challenging and salary and single income alone are not sufficient enough for civil servants, parents and retirees, youths to fully support themselves with the fast changing lifestyles”. He observed that in recent times, experts have argued in favour of well-rounded discussion on building sustainable food business as a panacea to reducing poverty and equipping our restive youths and change the focus of our fresh graduates from social vices. Mr. Oke’s expectations at this 2023 maiden edition of the Business of Food Summit is that experts and professionals will dissect opportunities and key drivers to sustaining any food business of our choice while also proffering solutions to SMEs failure like stressing the importance of having a simplified business plan which is essential to the success of any business. The Founder of FOODDOTCOMACADEMY want to use this forum to substantially reduce the number of Small and Medium Business Enterprises (SMEs) in the food sector that fails and are not sustainable beyond five years in Nigeria.

Finally, Mr. Oke revealed in convening this maiden edition of the summit, he deem it fit to gather all the relevant stakeholders in the food business (regulators, administrators, experts, food professionals and accomplished successful food entrepreneurs, etc.) under one roof to discuss actionable solutions to all the identified challenges facing us.

At the Summit, the CEO of COMSIA Nigeria. Ltd, Mrs. Olusola Adesokan highlighted the various key challenges frustrating the success and sustainability of food-based SMEs in the country to include difficulties associated with securing certifications from several government regulatory agencies, inconsistent government policies, forex fluctuation among others. 

Mrs. Adesokan who was chairperson of the summit themed, “Building a Sustainable Food Business: Opportunities and Key Drivers”, stated that the essence of the summit was to enable experts in various sections of food business to gather and rub minds and proffer reasonable solutions to the myriads of challenges confronting food entrepreneurs and potential investors.

Speaking at the event, Adesokan, a retired staff of Nestle Nigeria, described it as the “gathering of high profile speakers and dignitaries who are experts in their various fields, to share experiences on better ways to build a sustainable food business while highlighting the various challenges along the route and how to surmount them to achieve greater success.” 

She highlighted some of the challenges confronting operators of SMEs in food business in Nigeria to include, “lack of financial literacy/irresponsibility, lack of proper strategic planning, disregard for essential services, lack of insurance/legal/professional services; lack of clear succession plan; fluctuation of forex; perceived intimidation by regulatory authorities; insecurity/political instability; bad and inconsistent government policies (as witnessed with the recent ill-timed and poorly thought out cashless policy); multiple taxation and access to capital/lack of market information and data; difficulty finding competent staff and trust issue; lack of market information and data, among others.”

She expressed the hope that the summit would “provide the solutions for economic growth and advancement of our people; opportunity to persuade the Federal Government to provide enabling environment that will make business to thrive and to draw the necessary conclusions as to future action; as well as provide an occasion to reawaken the entrepreneurial spirit in us, a sense of reassurance and strong hope that with food, poverty will be a thing of the past in this country.”

Speaking on “Regulation as a Key Driver for Sustainability in Food Business” at the summit,  the Director, NAFDAC Lagos State Office (LSO), Dr. Mrs. Monica Hemben Eimunjeze, said the agency, in a bid to ease the process of securing certification, has categorised operators in various businesses and considerably reduced the requirements.

Dr. Eimunjeze said: “Basically, what we look at is anything that is not absolutely necessarily, and critical and would not affect the quality of the product. Depending on the category you fall into, we have reduced the requirements – documentation requirements and facility requirements – as against previously when the requirement was the same for everybody regardless of whether you are operating a nano, micro, small or medium facility. The requirements are now different. With that, it has made it easier.”

On the importance of regulation, she said, “we regulate to ensure quality, to ensure checks and balances and also to ensure compliance. Our duty as regulators transcends business. If you want your business to progress and succeed, you have to comply with regulations. We want to create an environment where SMEs will grow and create jobs and make wealth.”

Another Guest Speaker at the Summit, Mr. Bamidele Oke, Executive Director, Finance and IT at Tantalizers Plc, enlightened the participants while sharing his wealth of experience in food business in the past 20 years during his presentation on “Factors to Consider in Starting a Food Business”.

Mr. Oke talked about the factors to consider when starting food business. He emphasized that most success and failure of a food business depends largely on getting the right location. Also, he mentioned that another important factor to consider in starting a food business is fixed capital and working capital, machinery, people, entrepreneur, integrity and further breakdown these critical factors before raising capital like amount required, cost and source of capital/fund, timing to raise the capital and in addition explained to the attentive gathering that food business is a low margin business but it’s a cash involving business.

The summit convener, Mr. Rasaq Oke, Founder/CEO, FOODDOTCOMACADEMY SERVICES while speaking on the sidelines of the event, stated that the summit was aimed at bridging the knowledge gap existing in the country’s food industry.

Oke, who noted that knowledge sharing is very critical to building a viable food business, said, “The only thing missing is knowledge sharing. Those who have the food business management knowledge are too distant from those who need it, so I decided to gather people who have been in this industry for some time, who can share their experiences, their challenging and difficult moments they faced as well as the turning point in their businesses that made them to achieve a resounding success in the food business they owned and managed.”

He said this will encourage existing and upcoming players in the food business industry to operate seamlessly and maximise profit.

In his goodwill message, the Assistant Director, Scientific Investigation, Research and Development, Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency (LASCOPA), Mr. Lucas Raheem, advised those  planning to establish food businesses not to be economical with the hygiene and safety of their products, saying the agency was obligated to ensure that consumers are not endangered by the food products they purchase from food business operators. 

as part of the programme, the presentation on “Halal Certification as an Emerging  Tool for The Marketability and Sustainability of Food Business” was intelligently delivered by Dr. Sakirdeen Abidemi Ajani, Secretary -General, Halal Certification Authority (HCA) Nigeria. Dr. Ajani talked about the essence of the organization in creating awareness and how products can be certified and the various steps to follow before certificate are granted.

Raheem advised operators to, “ensure the products have adequate product information, including NAFDAC no, product expiry and production dates. We must try to check the menace of exposing products packaged in plastics to sunlight, which makes the food product harmful. Solution to this can be achieved when producers produce dummies of these products which vac be displayed in the open while the real products are stored in cool places.”

Also, there was a special presentation on AJI-NO-MOTO® Umami Seasoning …The essence of taste! by the duo of Mr. Isa Hassan Shallangwa, AGM Sales Marketing & Corporate Communications and Mrs. Francisca Obiajulu Ikediashi, Corporate Communications Manager of Ajinomoto Foods Nigeria Limited to correct the age-long misconception on the brand seasonings and emphasized the importance of the popular food seasoning which is made from sugarcane. The participants were made to appreciate Ajinomoto as a popular seasoning and flavour enhancer; A Monosodium Glutamate(MSG) product and the purest form of umami, the fifth taste; Widely used to enhance umami flavours in sauces, broths, soups and many more foods; It reduce salt because it’s pure MSG not including salt and other impurities; It can also be considered a healthy alternative to table salt, containing just one-third the sodium. AJI-NO-MOTO® is used around the world to bring out that ideal deliciousness and promote flavour of foods.

Mrs. Veronica Nkechi Ezeh, Registrar/CEO of The Nigerian Council of Food Science and Technology (NiCFoST) also talked about “Impact of the Nigerian Council of Food Science and Technology as a Professional Regulatory Council”.

To add more color and glamour to the event, the award presentation which was done by Mrs. Kema Ashibougwu, Vice- Chairman of GRASHI GLOBAL FOUNDATION  to all the Speakers, able Master of Ceremony and the Convener of the First Business of Food Summit in Nigeria,

The event was sponsored by GB FOODS Nigeria, Coca-cola Nigeria Plc, Ajinomoto Foods Nigeria Limited and proudly supported by National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Halal Certification Authority (HCA) Nigeria, TOODEL FARMS Limited, Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST), Nigerian Council of Food Science and Technology (NiCFoST), Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency (LASCOPA), Lagos State Safety Commission (LSC),  GRASHI GLOBAL COMPANY (GCC), EatNFeast Limited, Textstone Ventures, Bilbo Cr8tive, OSOA FOODS, REIGNING KING ENTERPRISES, Webideasnetwork, Royal Touch Castle, STARFAZE TV and others.

The first edition of the successful Business of Food Summit was professionally anchored by Dr. Omolola Mary Omosebi, Head, Department of Food and Science Technology, Mountain Top University. Km 12, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, MFM Prayer- City, Ogun State.

The Convener appreciates all those that supported in one way or the other and eagerly look forward to their participation again next year at The Business of Food Summit schedule to hold on Wednesday, 17th April, 2024! 

FOODDOTCOMACADEMY SERVICES… food entrepreneurs at its BEST!




About The Author

Rasaq Oke

Rasaq Oke hold a Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.) Honours degree in Food Science & Technology from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife. He is a seasoned Food Technologist and Agribusiness expert with wide and rich industry experience that cut across reputable organization like Guinness Plc, Crown Cork and Seal, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals (now Neimeth Pharmaceuticals), Livestock Feeds Plc. and Tantalizers Plc. He is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of FOODDOTCOMACADEMY SERVICES, Managing Consultant with RESPITALITY CARE COMPANY (RCC), and Publisher/ CEO of FOODPRENEURS PUBLISHING COMPANY, the publisher of FOODPRENEURNEWS, a print and online food magazine ( Mr. Oke is an accomplished food entrepreneur, consultant, administrator, instructor, and facilitator. He is a member of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) and the Head,-Editorial Board of the NIFST Food Forum Magazine; An Executive Member of the Nigeria Association of Agricultural Journalist (NAAJ). He is an Full Member and Secretary of the Membership, Certification and Education Committee of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Training and Development (NITAD). He a a Media and Communication Consultant to the Lagos State Fadama Coordination Office (SFCO) and the Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA) in addition to being a Technical Partner to the Lagos State Consumer Protection Authority (LASCOPA). He is married with children and loves playing table tennis as well as travelling.

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