Bread making as profitable venture

2010-04-23
THE PUNCH Newspaper- Udeme Ekwere


The saying that man shall not live by bread alone remains popular. No surprises here because bread is one of the most popular meals eaten all over the world.



For generations, it has been established as a vital part of man‘s diet, and has enjoyed a lot of patronage being a convenient meal for many people, irrespective of their social status.



A banker, Mr. Julius Izaze, says that he always takes bread for breakfast before going to work.



“I have been eating bread every morning for more than 18 years and infact, if for any reason, I cannot get bread, it will be as though I am sick and hungry. The only day of the week I go without bread for breakfast is Saturday, because I do not leave home early.”



He recalls that the period when the bakers were on strike and there was scarcity of bread in the market was very bad for people like him who preferred having bread for breakfast.



For bakers, there is never a period of low demand for this product. This demand cuts across all social, economic and religious leanings. The high demand for bread is dictated by factors such as increasing population, the dynamic change in eating habits of people, increasing urbanisation of communities, cheap prices compared to other staple foods or substitutes; convenience factor that bread, being a ready-to-eat food item, offers travelers, workers, households and offices.



This explains why bread baking remains a profitable venture for entrepreneurs in Nigeria.



The Head, Douglas Caterers, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Douglas, says that running a bakery can be very profitable if the right equipment are put in place.



She explains that there are a few things a beginner has to note if he or she decides to own this kind of business.



“The first is to decide whether to start from the scratch, purchase a bakery franchise or buy an existing bakery. For me, buying a bakery is the quickest way to become a bakery owner, but you have to be cautious as to why the owner wants to sell. Research the community where you plan to locate the bakery in terms of need for a bakery, whether there are enough customers, if it is a convenient location, and if you can provide superior customer service,” she says.



Douglas, who is also a catering consultant, adds that it is equally important for the beginner to obtain financial support to start the bakery, taking into cognisance, the different sources of financial support.



She says, “Starting any business is a challenge and requires dedication and long hours. Although starting a bakery is simple and fairly straightforward, many bakeries fail each year due to inadequate planning and a lack of preparation. With these first steps a bakery entrepreneur is on the path to success.”



The General Manager, Expo Bakery, Mr. Mumuni Oyewale, notes that with the right equipment, profit can be made from the business.



He adds that his company acquired an electric oven in our bakery, which, he says, can ensure that daily output is doubled. “Previously, we used a mud oven, otherwise called a local oven, and it affected our daily production, but with the electric oven, we can produce as much as 288 loaves of bread at a time. Also, the electric can also produce any kind of bread, whether sliced, or whole,” he states.



He notes that other equipment needed to run this business include a generating set, a milling machine, a mixing bath, a smoothening table and a bread and a refrigerator to store items that require certain temperatures.



Oyewale states that with a space of about four bedrooms and between N850,000 and N1m, an entrepreneur can start this kind of business, adding that he can increase capacity with time.



Another bakery expert, Mr. Tunde Okanlawon, says that individuals going into this kind of business should note that there are some challenges associated with it.



According to him, one has to ensure that the product is well registered to and well-priced, to guarantee that one gets good patronage.



“Even though many people eat bread, there are still some types that people will not dare to eat. This could be because of the quality of the product or the fact that the owners and operators do not have the necessary registration and approval to sell. You know these days, Nigerians have become more sensitive to their health, and some of them try to be careful about what they consume,” he says.



Speaking further on challenges, Okanlawon says that bakers have to contend with sudden rises in the prices of materials used in baking, stating that this poses a problem since they cannot easily change the size of their products even when the prices of the materials go up.



 

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