Tomato is a very popular fruit (if you like, vegetable) which is consumed in all parts of the world. In Nigeria, it is a staple food in almost every household. The brilliant red fruit is richly known for its content in lycopene, fiber, and other vital vitamins and minerals, as well as for its diseases fighting phyto-chemicals content. Tomato could be consumed in its raw state and also used for cooking, but it could also be processed into other forms such as tin tomato paste, sauce, etc.
If you are an entrepreneur in Nigeria intending to start tin tomato production, you must know that you would require a huge start-up cost to get started, but be rest assured that the start-up cost will be worth it since the business is a very profitable one.
Nonetheless, there are several things you must bear in mind before venturing into tin tomato production in Nigeria. Let us take a look at them one at a time.
Carryout a Thorough Feasibility Study
If you are very serious about starting a tin tomato production business in Nigeria, you want to make sure you gather all the facts as regards the figures and to know how viable the business would be for you. You do not want to just jump right into starting the business and squander your investments; you want to first carry out a thorough feasibility study.
If properly carried out, the result from a good feasibility study would help you understand all the costs you will probably incur in setting up your tin tomato production business, how best to cut costs and maximize your profits, your expected return on investment, and a whole lot. In fact, a feasibility study properly carried out would present you with the pros and cons of investing into the business, and provide you with a ready guide in making good decisions in the long run.
Fulfill the Necessary Legal Requirements
The tin tomato production business is one that is a serious matter of concern when it comes to registration and obtaining the necessary licenses and permits. This is largely due to the fact that it pertains to what people eat. In fact, you cannot avoid fulfilling all the necessary requirements before setting up your tin tomato production business in Nigeria.
First, you must make inquiries from already established tin tomato businesses in the country concerning the license and permits you will need for your business, since the business is highly regulated by NAFDAC.
Get a Good Location
For a business as the tin tomato production, it is very important you get a good location in Nigeria because a good location will go a long way towards determining the success of your business. Some factors that should determine the location of your tin tomato production business include: nearness to source of raw material (majorly fresh tomato farms), nearness to market, and nearness to available work force.
Considering all of the mentioned factors, a good place you could site the location of your tin tomato production business would be a metropolitan and bustling place like Lagos, Ibadan, and some other major cities in Nigeria.
Get the Necessary Equipment and Get them Installed
The next thing you have to start thinking about is to get the needed equipment for your tin tomato production. Also, make sure to get competent engineers to do the installation of the machines. Here are the equipment you will need:
- Power generating set (no thanks to the epileptic power supply in Nigeria)
- Fruit Washer
- Fine Pulper
- Steam Jacketed Kettles
- Screw Pump
- RSSP Cooler
- Storage Tank
- SS Tank
- Tomato Paste Form Fill and Seal Machine
- Fruit Mill
- Steam Piping
- Steam Pressure Reducing Station
- Product Piping and Valves
- Cooling Tower Pump and Piping
- Water Piping
- Water Chiller
- Delivery Truck
These machines will cost you more than N20 million (delivery truck not included) to get them new, but be sure to bargain for good prices.
Source for Raw Materials
As mentioned, you want to try to locate your tin tomato production business in places very close to the source of raw materials (tomato farms) since you will need only fresh tomatoes for the production, and also so as to cut back on cost of transportation.
Although you will need other raw materials such as preservatives, the major raw material you will need for your tin tomato production is fresh tomatoes. You must make sure you get very fresh tomatoes so as to ensure great product quality and taste.
Hire Capable Hands
Tin tomato production is a serious business as it pertains to food and health, hence strict quality control must be ensured throughout the whole process. With this in mind, you will not want to leave the operation in the hands of just anybody. You must make sure to hire only experienced and capable hands to handle the whole operation.
You will need a mix of skilled and unskilled workers alike; ranging from engineers, accountants computer operators, sales and marketing executives to semi skilled and unskilled workers. However, you will not have to worry much about paying them since the business generates great profits when handled properly, and so you will not have to break the bank just to your workers.
Pay Special Attention to Packaging
Packaging is very important when it comes to selling your products in Nigeria, or anywhere else. You may have a great product, with great taste, but it is actually the packaging that will make the first and lasting impression on customers. In fact, it is the packaging that makes the difference between one tin tomato brand and the other. So, you want to make sure you pay special attention to the packaging of your tin tomato.
Also, you want to ask yourself if you would only package your tomato in tins only, or you will want to do a mix of different packaging such as bottles, and sachets.
Know your Market
Do you know your market? It is not enough to produce good tin tomato; you also want to consider the market, both your target market and your competitors. Fine! Almost every Nigerian household makes use of tin tomato, but it is vital you are very specific about your target market. Your target market should include the following:
- Food processors
- Hotels and Restaurants
- Households and individuals
- Market Women
- Supermarket and grocery stores
Also, you must be aware of the competition and find a way to have a unique selling point (UPS) to stand out in the industry. Do not narrow your competition to the local level only, although it is a good place to start with, you should see your competition at a global scale, especially if you are going to go into this business operating at a large scale.