Roasted Groundnut: Refreshing and enriching snack
It Brings Regular Income
Roasted groundnut, otherwise known as peanut, is fast becoming a staple snack, enjoyed by many people. Whether at home, office or anywhere for that matter, this tasty snack is the favourite of those, who prefer it to processed snacks, on account of its nutritional values. Little wonder some traders have gone into packaging it in different handy sizes and at pocket friendly prices. While some eat it with roasted plantain (boli), banana and even bread, others prefer to take it with garri.
Nene Kalu, who has been selling roasted groundnut for 10 years, said people eat it in between meals or to entertain guests. Still, some people see it as filler, pending when they will eat the day’s meal.
“Aside its health benefits, which some experts say include promotion of fertility, fighting depression, boosting memory, aiding blood sugar regulation, as well as lowering the risk of heart diseases, among others, people running away from sugar coated products, such as cookies, go for groundnuts to fill the gap,” she explained.
How did she come into the business? She said: “I observed that my boss was always bringing a bottle of roasted groundnuts with him to the office daily. This was usually worth between N50 and N100. So, I decided to give it a try, by making some for my colleagues and neighbours. Before long, it became a business that has sustained my home, as I eventually decided to leave paid employment for it.”
Although she started the business with just N1, 500, and used to buy three Mudu measures (3.39 kilogramme) of groundnut and other needed items, Kālu’s business has expanded to the extent that she now produces bottled groundnut worth N100, 000 and smiling to the bank.
“I never knew one could make so much money from this business, until I took it up on full time basis. I make close to N20, 000 a week frying and bottling groundnuts. I have also moved from buying in Mudus to bags of shelled groundnut, and it moves fast because of demand,” she said.
On what it takes to go into the business, Rosemary Abayomi said hard work and dedication are essential for anyone wanting to make it big in the business. According to her, the individual must first decide the kind of fried groundnut he/she wants — whether it is the type fried with ashes or sand, salted or not. The intending trader has to choose, as they their tastes differ.
“Frying with ashes is good, but it usually leaves some powdery effect on the hand each time one takes the peanut,” she explained. “But frying with sand does not have that. However, anyone frying with sand must ensure that he/she uses the sandy soil, which leaves the nuts neat and attractive. More over, the sand does not have the tendency to retain debris. Aside this, one can also determine the level he/she wants to go, which actually guides one on how to go about organising the business.”
Explaining that one could use modern cooking utensils, such as, stove or gas cooker, she said: “For quick fry, I use either coal or gas, which makes the job faster and less cumbersome. I do not need to go through the stress of inhaling smoke, or fanning coal embers, which often results in red eyes, as one can easily control the heat.
“I know many people do not like salt, so, I usually produce groundnuts with little salt. The salt is very light and is applied while washing the grains. This enable the salt penetrate deep into the grains, as they get dry. It’s after the grains are properly dried that I start to fry. Otherwise, the end result will be bad and once customers taste poorly fried groundnut, they will stop patronising you, even when the price is low.”
Abayomi disclosed that with simple equipment like tripod stand and a medium size frying pan, one is ready to go into the business. According to her, starting the business is simple and cheap, though it requires some legwork, as the individual has to take his/her product from place to place for marketing, including supermarkets.
“With as little as N20, 000, one can get all the equipment and still have money left to buy Mudus of groundnut. The beauty of it is that one can fabricate his/her cooking equipment. And if you can’t start with bottled groundnut, one may start by packaging the grains in nylon packs and with time add the bottle packaging,” she said.
As groundnut plant is not for all seasons, how does one ensure all round supply?
Eunice Awele explained that sellers of raw groundnut have their own ways of preserving the grains, which enable them sell throughout the year. According to her, each time the nuts are not in season, the price of fried groundnut usually goes up. However, the changes may not always come in the pricing, but in the reduction of the quantity in the package, especially if packaged in nylon wraps.
“Because of the way I package mine, and the big groundnuts seeds I sell, I take my products to departmental stores within and outside my neighbourhood. I label the bottles and it has been very rewarding. I get orders from different places, requesting for the specially packaged products. I even offer pay-after-sales services agreement with some stores and the result has been tremendous. The business is encouraging, and has made me an employer of labour, aside the regular income it brings.”
On her motivation to remain in the business, she said: “I make bold to say that the reward is worth all the trouble we pass through.
I have been able to make good money to maintain myself and children in school. It pays my bills and there is no going back.”
On how she gets the bottles for the groundnut, Taiwo Olusoji said they are from friends and neighbours. According to him, bottles are better to preserve the grains, as they are capable of retaining the right temperature required to enable the grains remain crispy and fresh without losing taste.
“But in the situation, where we do not get the required number of bottles, especially of different sizes, we are then forced to patronise bottle sellers or at worst, use plastic bottles,” she explained.
Speaking on the safety of roasted groundnut, Dr. Bolaji Hakeem urged those packaging the grains to maintain good personal hygiene. According to him, different communicable diseases could be passed from those bottling them to the final consumers, especially as they sometimes blow the grains with their breath.
“Serious communicable diseases, such as, tuberculosis could be passed, while blowing the grain and during peeling, which is why one should know the health status of the person preparing the grains. In fact, it would not be out of place to ask,” he said.
On the best measures to take, Hakeem said to be on the safe side, groundnut is best served with the shell, as this will reduce the transmission of some preventable diseases.
How To Excel In Packaging Roasted Groundnut
• Use clean, transparent bottles to package the nuts.
• Get a stand at a busy street.
• Maintain high personal hygiene.
• Make provision for different categories of buyers.
• Use salt minimally.
• Pay attention during the sorting stage to ensure that stones and other unwanted items are removed.
• Make the groundnut crispy and fresh.
• Include necessary details on the label.