Consumers embrace cheaper options as food prices rise

As a result of the rapid increase in food prices in Nigeria, many Nigerians have resorted to purchasing cheaper alternative food items. For most Nigerians, it is no longer about taste or preference of a particular food item, but much more about what they can afford.

This is reflected in the increased demand of foodstuffs like Pasta, instead of rice and beans in the markets. These alternative food items are also experiencing increased prices caused by recent high demand. Many consumers have even resorted to planting their own food items like plantain etc.

A BusinessDay report revealed the views of some Nigerian consumers:

“If you are hungry, your brain will be more effective,” Christian said, adding he had to think out of the box to invent a more nourishing substitute by grinding plantain for garri, which he had been taking in the past four months, prepared as ‘swallow.’ “I have started planting fresh sets of cocoyam so when the grounded one finishes, I can harvest some more cocoyam. So, many people have cocoyam but do not know they can use it as a substitute for garri and semo,”.

Damilola Adewale, a Lagos-based economic analyst, noted that there could be some health implications in terms of malnutrition, “but the truth is these people are not concerned about that. They are only after survival.”

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), food prices accelerated to 22.9 percent in March 2021, the highest record. The rise in food prices has continued at a time the incomes of Nigerians have been badly affected by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An NBS survey shows about eight out of every 10 Nigerian households are raising an alarm of rising food prices, with 58 percent of the total number reducing their food consumption between July and December 2020, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.