Trend hunter: Premium produce on your doorstep
On a Saturday morning in the heart and relative calm of Lekki, a Lagos suburb, groups of men and women – shopping bags in tow – are sizing and picking fresh tomatoes, leafy greens, tubers of yam, potatoes and fish of varying kinds, under tarpaulin canopies. The welcome banners read: “Prince Ebeano supermarket […] Bringing Mile 12 closer to you.” Welcome to the village market 3.0.
The huge, 30-year old Mile 12 Market is the source of 80% of food consumed in the state.
It is, however, 45km from Lekki, with throngs of people to navigate through, parking woes and traffic gridlocks.
Changing food trends
Around five years ago things started to change. This was village market 1.0: small bags of amala (a ground flour of dried yams or plantains), packs of ground red peppers and crayfish, thickeners like egusi melon seeds and ogbono local mango seeds began to line supermarket shelves. A step in a less chaotic direction for Nigerian shoppers.
In version 2.0, as demand for more rural products increased, supermarkets set up small, retail outfits next to the main store with most of the food products typically found in open markets. They were a bit pricier, but customers were willing to pay for the convenience.
Now we are in version 3.0. Local supermarkets are opening up smaller versions of traditional markets with wholesale and large-quantity sections for meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables, this time with market-style prices.
As food trends in Nigeria change, the voices – or pockets – calling for food in the sweet spot between market freshness and supermarket convenience might just be loud enough to bring Mile 12 to your doorstep.
This article first appeared in the April 2018 print edition of The Africa Report magazine