13 Nov Nigeria: Rising Ingredient Prices Force More Bakeries to Close
By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria
The cherished tradition of gifting bread as a warm welcome home gesture in Nigerian households is gradually fading away. The culprit behind this decline is the soaring prices of flour and other essential ingredients required for bread production. This upward trend in costs has significantly elevated the retail prices of bread, prompting most households to reconsider their dietary choices.
Bakery owners find themselves caught in the midst of this challenging situation, struggling to navigate the delicate balance between increased ingredient prices and the imperative to sustain their businesses and satisfy customers. Unfortunately, the predicament has led to a distressing trend of bakery closures as owners find it increasingly difficult to cope with the escalating costs of production.
The aftermath of the Russian-Ukraine war has further compounded the issue, resulting in a global shortage of flour. This scarcity has necessitated multiple price hikes in the bread market, leaving consumers reminiscing about the days when a visit to the local baker meant returning home with a loaf of bread. Now, even bakery workers, formerly accustomed to the aroma of freshly baked bread, find themselves having to pay for a simple loaf.
In a conversation with Economy&Lifestyle, Mr. Abayomi Olorunfemi, a seasoned baker, lamented the harsh impact on businesses. The economic landscape has transformed once savvy businessmen into individuals grappling with unprecedented challenges. Many of Mr. Olorunfemi’s colleagues have been forced to shut down operations, with some reducing the size of their bread offerings and increasing prices in a desperate attempt to stay afloat.
Mrs. Are Toluwalase, a businesswoman, shared her own struggles, revealing that she had to cease buying bread when the price of a family-sized loaf surged from N1,100 to N1,200. The diminished quantity coupled with increased prices compelled her to explore alternative and more cost-effective breakfast options for her family of six.
Adding to the chorus of distress, Mr. Aderotimi Samuel, a bakery owner with two establishments in Ikorodu, recently shuttered one to cope with the mounting costs of maintenance and ingredient procurement. He highlighted the ripple effects, including staff layoffs and reduced sales, as customers opt for cheaper alternatives or abandon bread altogether.
Mrs. Janet Omoh, a seller of flour and baking ingredients in Akpogbon, echoed the sentiments of those directly impacted by the crisis. She outlined the daily escalation in the cost of flour, butter, yeast, and other essentials. A stark example is the 50kg bag of flour, which once sold for N20,000, now commands a staggering N38,000 to N40,000.
As the struggle intensifies for both consumers and businesses, the once symbolic act of breaking bread is overshadowed by the economic challenges faced by those involved in the bread-making industry. The rising prices and diminishing quality have altered breakfast tables across Nigeria, prompting a shift towards more economical alternatives and underscoring the broader economic hardships faced by individuals and families alike.