Tomato is a common fruit or vegetable which is consumed in all parts of the world. It is a staple food in every household in Nigeria. The bright red fruit is known for its richness in lycopene, fiber, and other vital vitamins and minerals, as well as for its diseases fighting phyto-chemicals content. Tomato can be consumed in its raw state as a fruit, likewise can be ground along with pepper for cooking. It can as well be processed into other forms such as tin tomato paste, sauce, puree. In today’s post, we will focus on the processing aspect of its consumption. We will take you through the course of how to start tomato paste production business in Nigeria. First of all, you need to take note that tomato paste production business requires a huge start-up capital for you to successfully kickstart. It is however a very profitable business, hence, be rest assured to get huge returns.
HOW TO START A TOMATO PASTE BUSINESS
Do a Thorough Research.
This involve gathering facts on figures and viability of the business. Obviously, you are trying to avoid making notable mistakes or squandering of funds. If properly carried out, the result from a good feasibility study would help you understand all the costs you will probably need in setting up your tomato paste production business, how best to cut costs and maximize your profits, your expected return on investment and a whole lot more. Doing a thorough research beforehand bring to your knowledge the pros and cons of the business which will guide you in decision making.
Get Legal approval
Start-up involves registration and obtaining the necessary licenses and permits from necessary bodies. This is majorly because it is a consumable product. It is best if you make inquiries from already established tomato paste production businesses in the country concerning the license and permits you will need for your business. Remember that the business is highly regulated by NAFDAC. Read on how to register with CAC
Get a Suitable Location
A good location will contribute to the success of your business. When choosing a land, you need to consider some factors such as
- Closeness to source of raw material (majorly fresh tomato farms).
- Closeness to markets.
- Availability of work force.
Purchase Necessary Equipment
The next step is to get the needed equipment for your tomato paste production business. Also ensure you get competent engineers to do the installation of the machines. Below is a list of the necessary equipment you will need for the business:
- 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
The actual cost of this equipment can be seen in Jumia
Source for Raw Materials
It is advisable to situate your tomato paste production business close to one or two tomato farms. This is to cut back on the cost of transportation. Although you will need other raw materials such as preservatives, the major raw material you will need for your business are fresh tomatoes. You must make sure you get very fresh tomatoes so as to ensure great product quality and taste.
Employ Experienced & Qualified Staff
Tomato paste production is a sensitive business as it pertains to food and health, hence, you must ensure strict quality control throughout the whole process. Putting this into consideration, you need to hire only experienced and capable hands to handle the production and packaging section. You will need a combo of skilled and unskilled workers 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.
Ensure Attractive Packaging
This is very important when it comes to selling your products in Nigeria. 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.
You need to clarify your mode of packaging i.e. Do you want to use tins, sachets, bottles or all.
Identify your Market
You need to identify the market including 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
You need to be aware of the competitions in the market and find a way to have a UNIQUE SELLING POINT (UPS) which will help you stand out in the industry.
Planning your proposed business
This business plan was compile after a proper feasibility study on tomato paste production in Nigeria was carried out. Furthermore, this article will be answer the following questions for you in tomatoes production in Nigeria.
Nigeria is over 180 million people and statistics have shown that the country imports over 68 million tonnes of processed tomato paste from all over the world and Nigeria is also Africa’s largest producer of tomatoes; this means in a nutshell that the Nigerian tomato farmers cannot satisfy the demand of consumers or Nigerians in general.
Tomato is a vegetable that cannot be preserved in its original form for a very long time and because a lot of people do not want to go through the stress of processing their tomato after purchasing it from the market or farm but just want to go straight to using it (ease of usage) this makes processed tomato paste a great investment for you at this time.
Note that processed tomato paste can last 10 times longer than raw tomato and most homes find it handy to cook a quick meal especially because of the rate of consumption of rice and pasta in the Nigeria.
Pros and cons of a tomato processing factory and tomato paste.
- Processed tomato has reduced taste and less nutrient compared to the fresh unprocessed vegetable.
- It is capital intensive though you don’t have to be the richest man in Nigeria town a tomato processing factory but you need a lot of money.
- Processed tomato reduces wastage of food because you will use just enough per time and don’t have to deal with rotten tomatoes.
- This eases the stress on farmers locating market for their product; they can sell to both market people and tomato factory owners.
Here is a step by step process on how to make processed tomato paste; this is a generalized process so there could be some alterations in other methods of making the paste.
This is the first and one of the most important steps of all because this helps to keep quality and improve the general marketability of your tomato paste. In this process you will need to sort the good tomato from the bad ensuring that only the tomato of excellent quality is been allowed in the mix. Ensure that the ones you use are ripe and mould-free. Good sorting enriches the overall quality of the tomato paste.
Weighing the batch
Weighing of the sorted batch is important because it help to know the exact weight and nutritional value of the batch; this in itself helps for record keeping, fortification and adequate addition of preservatives.
Washing the batch
Hygiene is very important so the process of washing the batch after weighing is very important so as to get rid of sand and other pathogens that can be lurking on the vegetable.
The process of blanching is also known as pre-processing of the tomato, this helps in removing the seeds, skin and any bad odour from the tomato. In this process the tomato is put in boiling water for about 5 minutes to peel off the skin.
This process is called pulping or mashing of the tomato. This is when the tomato is made into paste form just like you using a blender to blend tomato for home use. You can use the manual method or motorized pulping machine to make it faster.
Boiling, sieving and heating
In that order, after blending the tomato paste is been boiled and sieved. A material that is like a white cotton sack is used to separate the water from the main mix, then the acidity level of the tomato paste is being increased by adding lemon juice while it is boiling which reduces the pH level to around 4.5 to prevent bacteria from festering on it. Heating it removes more water from it and ensures that the tomato paste is concentrated.
Packaging and Preservation process
There are several containers for packaging which are tins, sachets (which are most popular in Nigeria) and bottles. Packaging is important; even though people are buying the content but the container attracts and people will pay more for proper packaging. If the packaging is done properly then this singular process can significantly increase the shelve life of the product. Consult a nutritionist for the best form of preservation method to use.
When marketing you need to also consider doing it both in the country and outside the country depending one you financial reach. If your product are up to international standard that also gives you an edge because it means that you won’t have much trouble marketing and distributing it all over. You could make supplies to supermarkets, restaurants and other vendors.
Use advertisement means like social media, print media and other forms to ensure that your product reaches the right people.