Business Ideas

How to Make Money with Small Scale Plantain Chips Making Business

Plantain chips business is profitable! If you are looking for a business to start right away with little investment capital,  here is one you can consider. 

Plantain chip is a deep-fried crispy and crunchy snack made from plantain, ripe or unripe. Most people see plantain chip as a preferred snack to hold hunger before proper meal, hence it is widely consumed by people of all ages – children, adults, men, women, rich, poor, the high and the lowly.

Plantain is an important staple food in Africa and it grows very well in Nigeria.  It is rich in fibre; is a common source of carbohydrates; contains some essential vitamins and minerals and is easily digestible.

Nutritional Facts of Plantain

Calories 179
Fat 0 grams (g)
Protein 1 g
Carbohydrates 48 g
Potassium 4 g
Vitamin C 27 mg
Vitamin A 83 micrograms (ug)
Vitamin B6 0.44 mg
Magnesium 55 mg

It has been found that the consumption of plantain is good for weight control, high in antioxidant and good for the heart.  It is a versatile vegetable in that it can be consumed in variety  of ways – boiled, roasted, fried and chips.

However, fried plantain may contain amount of cholesterol and saturated fat, especially when prepared with unhealthy oil and may not appeal to the heart-health conscious person.

Thus, if you are considering starting a plantain chip business you will do well to differentiate your product by using quality vegetable oil to prepare it.

INVESTMENT RATIONALE

The business of plantain chip making can be very viable and can be done with very little investment.  It can be done on a cottage scale, small scale, medium scale and even large scale. So for those who have been looking for a small scale business to start with little capital, Plantain Chips Production and Sale is a viable option.

 Other reasons this business thrives are identified below:

  • It can be done on a a very small scale with little or no investment in equipment
  • The major raw material you need is the raw plantain which is richly grown in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, Nigeria is the largest plantain growing country in West Africa. It can be found mainly in the Southern states of Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Edo, Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Abia, Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and the Middle Belt states of Plateau and Kogi.
  • The market for plantain chip is huge and has remained largely unsatisfied.
  • There is no barrier to entry.
  • Your only limitation is perhaps your hardwork, level of creativity in formulating your recipe and perhaps, packaging.
  • It is a business you can start right from your kitchen and grow to any level your capacity and tenacity can take you.
  • Plantain chip has long shelf life – between six months to one year.

REQUIREMENT TO START A PLANTAIN CHIP BUSINESS

Embarking on industrial scale production requires huge investment in equipment which will include: motorized plantain slicer, Deep Stainless Steel with Mesh and Burner, Pedal type sealing machine and weighing machine with a digital table top.  For this scale of production you will be requiring some large amount of money, between N3 million to N10 million.

The focus of this post, however, is on a micro or small scale plantain chips business. 7UThis level of operation will be more labour intensive and can be started with as little as N50,000 or even less, beginning with a few bunches of plantain and deploying essentially kitchen utensil as your production equipment.

This level of operation can earn you as much as 80% returns in net income on a monthly basis.

You will need:

Space – this can be a shop, a purpose-built factory (if you have the capital), else use your kitchen

Business Registration –  registering your business is important to give you an identity and also protect your business.  With NGN10, 000 you can register your business name with the Corporate Affairs Commission. It may even be less if you do it yourself without involving lawyers or consultants. All you need do is log onto the CAC website, create an account and follow the process. 

Do you need a NAFDAC registration?

I must admit that most, if not all the brands around don’t have NAFDAC numbers. However, being a food processing and packaging business, having a NAFDAC Registration number on your plantain chips pack will give consumers the confidence that your product went through high hygiene standard and is safe for consumption. This is my personal opinion. 

Registration of Trade Mark  – You will need this to protect your brand, that is, the name by which your chip is known. Without registering your brand name if you have one, you stand the risk of losing that name to a competitor. Registration of Trade Marks in Nigeria is done by the Ministry of Trade and Investment. 

Raw Material – bunches of plantain which is readily available in the local markets.  If you are operating from Lagos, you can get as much quantity of plantain as you need from Idioro Market in Mushin area or Mile 12 market along Ikorodu Road.

Ingredients – vegetable oil, salt, spices

Equipment – Principally the equipment you need to start with are largely kitchen utensil, including the following:

  • Gas stove
  • Vegetable Slicer
  • Deep Fryer
  • Big Bowl (basin)
  • Nylon Sealing Machine (portable one will do)
  • Sieve
  • Weighing Machine

Recipe  – You will need to set your chips apart from the crowd by developing unique recipe.  It is nothing really spectacular other than simply tweaking the standard recipe to get a unique taste. Generally, your recipe will include the following ingredients

Plaintain

Vegetable Oil

Salt to taste

You may then add ginger, garlic, paper and some other spices or useful herbs to get  a unique formula.

HOW TO PREPARE PLANTAIN CHIPS

It is a simple process, more like the normal way you fry your plantain for home consumption.

  • Wash the plantain and peel it neatly
  • Using your Vegetable Slicer, slice the plantain into a bowl of water. The water is important because it will help to retain the colour of the plantain
  • Add salt
  • Drain water using a sieve
  • Add other ingredients of choice, such as ginger, garlic, pepper, depending on your recipe .
  • Get your gas cooker ready
  • Heat your vegetable oil in a frying pan
  • Put your sliced plantain in the right quantity in the pan and start frying.
  • Allow to cool and dry and start packing into your branded packaging material.

Useful tips by experienced plantain chips makers

#1        Species of plantain to use – Buy the plantain specie that has low starch.  The Honduras specie is recommended.

#2        Use big and mature plantain. This will not only ensure you get more slices per bunch but also mean your end product will be crispy. If you are using ripe plantain, then it must be firm.

#3        Don’t slice it to be too tick or too thin.  Use the vegetable slicer to get even shape and sizes

#4        Maintain a mild frying temperature range so that the plantain does not burn.

#5        Allow the chips to cool before packing

And I will add my own tip: make sure you prepare your chips in a very clean and hygienic environment

YOUR MARKET

As highlighted in the foregoing paragraphs, there is a big market for plantain chips given the huge population of Nigeria and the fact that plantain is more or less a staple food here eaten by almost everybody just like our  garri, rice and yam.

However, the competition is also getting keener, especially in urban centre as a growing number of entrepreneurs are beginning to realize the profit potential in plantain chip business.  Hence, the motley of brands we see on the street and traffic along the high ways in major Nigerian cities.  Some are not even branded.

What this means is that you have to be a little bit creative to market your product.  Your immediate market is all the corner grocery shops in your area and supermarkets.  Court the shop owners and use them as outlets, if your chips is good and on demand, you will see that people will want to distribute for you.

It will not be a bad idea to design a website and digitally promote your plantain chips business using the social media.  You might be amazed at the amount of patronage you get through this medium.  Businesses are going online and digital marketing has become a strong tool to not only create awareness but also generate sales.

If you do it well, there is also an export potential in this plantain chips business.

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